Hands-on the Nintendo Wii

The Wii has arrived in Marks Hall.
Jason Lee picked up a new Nintendo Wii, waiting in line for it early this morning. (Although Nolan apparently paid for it, he’s going to pay him back.) It’s really, really sweet. Not only is it by the far best-looking of any of the next-gen consoles, it’s also the only revolutionary one. You get an entirely new control scheme. And they really went all-out on the purchase: four controllers with nunchakus and a handful of new games.

The multiplayer games they got are the included Wii Sports, plus Super Monkey Ball and Marvel Super Heroes. I got a chance to play Super Monkey Ball for a bit, and I must say that the controller scheme is genius. There is nothing like it on the market now. Yes, you can get the Gyration mouse, but it’s only for PCs and there are no games to speak of designed for it. There’s absolutely nothing like it. And it works well, too. With properly-designed games, it provides real challenge and fun. It’s in an entirely different league than the button-mashers of the past.

Buttons and control sticks were never an ideal way to game. They’re good for some formats, but for the most part, they became ubiquitous because of the technology. You’ve got there essentially the same control scheme as the Atari, just beefed up with more precision and polish.

The Wii-mote, on the other hand, is somewhat similar to the guns used in arcade games. Yeah, you could buy that for consoles too, but it was pretty much just limited to first-person shooters. Plus, the actual movements of the gun didn’t matter. It was just where you pointed the gun at, for aiming purposes only. Now you can actually move with the gun. No need for a silly overhead sensor either, which I’ve seen on some arcades. Plus, it senses movement in three axes. So you can twist the remote to select stuff, or just tilt it right to pan the camera.

It’s really revolutionary. When it comes to games, the wide availability of modern processors means I don’t care about the graphics or processing power one bit. If you’re buying a gaming system, it’s all about the games. And if you’re playing games, it’s all about how you play, and that means the control scheme is crucial. Like the NES controller and Nintendo 64 analog stick before it, Nintendo has it right– again.

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