Here's the assorted Wii paraphrenalia, including the games and extra remote. I thought the remotes were supposed to come in cooler packaging than this?
Another external power supply... I did not think to check if it was the same model as the one that lit the GameCube. That would be nice if they were identical.
The sensor bar is waaaay smaller than I expected. It's like eight inches. I figured the size of the box meant the sensor bar was fitting in there longways... but it is actually shortways. I'll mark it on the map for you:
See? Tiny. I placed the sensor bar on that shelf above the tv, where it can be held in place by the center speaker. No need for the dreaded double-sided tape that Nintendo thoughtfully includes.
The Wii is sidled in there on the right, up out of Clark's reach. The GameCube used to live two shelves below. In addition to the gray Wii base unit (so you can match the rakish angle of all the official PR photos), you also get a clear plastic disk to stablize the whole thing as it sits upright. The top panel (relative from that position) is the hidden door for GameCube controllers and memory cards.
The ceremonious Powering-On was followed by about 20 minutes of unceremonious network updating. The Wii found my WiFi right away and grabbed whatever updates it wanted. I'm on Wii version 2.0U! They buffed the warriors but nerfed the necros.
It takes about two seconds to get used to the pointy remote, according to Rhonda's estimate as she made her Mii. The remote's rumble does this pleasant tactile pulse when you roll over a button. Hilariously, the onscreen finger icon that represents your "mouse" turns itself as you tilt the remote. They did that just to look smart, I'm sure.
We screwed around in the channels for quite some time. I think the twelve-box setup is ugly, and it's redundant to keep calling everything a "channel." Shop Channel, Photo Channel, Forecast Channel, Disc Channel, News Channel, Mii Channel, enough already. And I've already decided that I don't like how your downloaded games show up as a new channel of their own. Here's hoping this concept gets a makeover. There's a notice that the Internet Channel is coming soon, and News and Weather are also not ready yet.
The Shop Channel has about fifteen games in it, most of which suck and are overpriced. If I didn't already have half of the available NES games in Animal Crossing, I may have considered purchasing a few. But I already know that Wario's Woods is terrible, so No Sale. Nintendo is going to need to ramp this up fast, because so many Wii sales are predicated on the Virtual Console being cool... and right now, it's not. You can't even buy Super Mario Bros. yet for crying out loud. And where's our promised DS demo downloads?
I popped in our camera's SD card to see how the Photo Channel works... it's pretty slick. After reading your photos, you can doodle on them, turn them into puzzles, or play as a slideshow. You can only doodle on one at a time, and if you want to save the doodle, you have to save it to your Message center (which, oddly enough, does not appear as a big "Channel" button.) The Wii does not fuck with your SD card in any way, so you don't have to worry about accidentally deleting or overwriting photos.
Awesome: when you click on the Disc Channel to start a game, you get a big fullscreen image of the game plus some unique music!
The Mii Channel is not exactly like that Flash app that made the rounds a few weeks back. Most notably, you can't warp out the heads and hair to obscene levels. We made Miis for all of us, and here we are enjoying a family night of bowling:
You can opt to have dupes of your Miis "travel," so they can show up on other Wiis... presumably worldwide? So if you see me or Rhonda or little Clark, please let me know.
Oh right, almost forgot, my Wii Friend Number Digit Transport Exchange Trading Code is 1354 5254 5878 0124. Since there are no Wii online games yet, I guess this is just how Wii owners can send messages/photos back and forth for the time being. That would be cool to turn it on tomorrow and find a message from somebody... but I'm assuming it runs like the DS and we have to mutual friendify. Email me and let's find out.
Wii Sports, as expected, is just kinda there. Fun enough, but I wouldn't have bought it by itself. Bowling manages to be so realistic that it precisely duplicates the problems I have with bowling in real life: I always pull to the left. Tennis is harder than Mario Power Tennis. Baseball is okay, but only when you're batting. I did not try Golf yet. Boxing was awesome because it started me off punching the hell out of Jesus:
Boxing uses both the remote and the nunchuk, each half simulating a fist. For some reason, every game that uses the nunchuk gets all weird and anal about how you plug it in. You're supposed to loop the remote's lanyard through this plastic hook on the nunchuk's plug, and you'll be treated to graphic after graphic of demands to that effect. I can't figure out why they're so adamant about it.
One nice thing about the remote + nunchuk style is that I could share the Punch-a-Jesus fun with Clark:
I originally gave Clark the nunchuk - since, you know, he's sitting on my left - but he traded up to the remote because of all the cool noise it made. He shakes the controller and stuff explodes onscreen while making swooshing noises. Take that, Jesus!
That little speaker in the remote is pretty much the sweetest thing going. You're going to see other companies rip this off, believe it.
One great secret feature to the new controller wackiness is that you can sit like a complete comfortable idiot and still play your game. You're no longer stuck with folding both of your arms in at each other to grip the controller. I was lounging all over the place as I played Trauma Center and Zelda and felt like a new man.
Quick notes about both: Trauma Center is more identical to the DS original than anybody wanted to admit, but it's still cool. I think I may become better at the Wii version, since I can sit more at ease while excising tumors from some dude's stomach.
And Zelda is ugly. I'm barely an hour into it and I'm already sick of the super-realistic all-brown color palette. You guys humiliated Miyamoto over the bright and artsy Wind Waker so we could get this? Good thing the gameplay is just as appealing as ever.