Boy, what a weekend this was. Two, count 'em two console launches in one weekend. I'm wondering how the folks at Sony feel. On the one hand, they sold every console they put in the retail channels and they got a whole bunch of press while doing so. On the other hand, most of the people who bought the console seemed to be doing so to sell it, and a lot of the press around the launch had to do with people being shot, stabbed and forced into lampposts at jaw shattering speeds. Granted, that last one was more a result of retail level stupidity, but given the abysmally small number of units available at launch, it's hard to be surprised that stores resulted in such shenanigans to ring in the event.
The Nintendo launch sold every unit put into retail, as long as every extra goddamn controller imaginable, and got a whole bunch of press while doing so. In contrast to the Sony launch, the press for the Nintendo launch seemed to be around how much fun the damn thing is. Granted, press is press, however if I had to choose between being known for being fun, and being known for people having violence befall them by associating with me, I'd choose the former. Sony appears to be in their own little world in regards to their console business, so who knows which they'd prefer.
Before we go any further with my impressions of the Wii, I need to share something with you. Today, I purchased a video game that might very well go down in history as one of the strangest games ever. It is "Sneak King", made by the fine folks at Burger King, and stars the Burger King as a stealthy purveyor of Burger King products. My reasons for purchasing the game were twofold. One, is that my sisters is freaked out by the Burger King as much as I am, and when she comes to visit at Christmas, she will undoubtedly find this game to be as hilarious as I do.
My other reason is that the game has undeniable charm. The back of the box outlines your mission, which is, as the Burger King to "unleash your hot sandwiches" upon the hungry citizens of your immediate vicinity. I find that phrase to be particularly compelling, in a number of literary situations, however erotic fiction is what first comes to mind. For example:
"Unleash your hot sandwiches" he murmured to her, breathless with passion.See? Genius! Your job, as the Sneak King is to skulk around unsuspecting people and provide them with food before they collapse with hunger. The more burgers you deliver, unseen, in a row, the more points you get. If you do something particularly skillful like get very close to your victim, or hide in a trash can or other suitable container, or provide the food with a Flourish move suitable of your regal trappings, your score increases. Make no mistake, despite his cheerful grin and jaunty dance moves, the Burger King is every bit as lethal in his mission as Sam Fisher is in the Splinter Cell series. The only difference is Fisher strikes with lethal precision while the Burger King strikes with dance moves and heart disease. To be honest, I'm not sure what is more disturbing, the fact that you spend your time hiding in a refuse container with a food item, or how happy people are to see you spring out of a trash dump with an omelet sandwich.
She did so with a fleshy "Whump!". They were double whoppers.
But enough of that, on to the Wii. I'll be brief and just say that so far, I am having a tremendous amount of fun with it, and not just me, but Linda is also sharing in on the mirth. The unit is very small and sleek looking and was a breeze to set up. The sensor bar is much, much smaller than I expected it to be and is easily mounted with the provided double-stick tape. In fact, peeling the backing off of the tape was the hardest part of the whole set up. My fingernail still hurts!
Once we had the unit set up, I made the mistake of configuring the internet connections, which then caused TW to go out and obtain the necessary firmware upgrades to enable the Virtual Console and the Wii Shopping Channel. Given that everyone and their mother were doing the same thing, this took roughly nine hours. In fact, it took so long that we fired up the 360 and played some Uno while waiting. Luckily, the use of the Wiimote made it much easier to enter in my 8 hojillion character WEP key than doing so with the 360 controller, however what I made up in character entry time, I lost in sitting around and waiting time. Eventually we were all connected, could see the games to download and opted instead to play Wii Sports.
Wii Sports is a ton of fun, and while it may not be a game you keep on playing for months and months, it does a good job of getting non-gamers playing, and it shows what the console is capable of. Tennis is fun, as is bowling and the hitting part of Baseball. The pitching part isn't particularly challenging. Boxing seems unresponsive to me, however I may just need to spend more time with it. I haven't played golf yet but hope to soon. Controls are simple to use and are very accessible.
On the aforementioned bowling, it would appear that Linda is a natural, while I have carried over my real life bowling problems, only magnified about a billion times. While she was throwing straight ball after straight ball and closing out frames, I kept hooking to the left and missing completely. At one point, Linda turned to me and said "This must be frustrating for you. This is how you bowl in real life." Ouch. That's my wife ladies and gentlemen, put a controller in her hand and she gets in your head and starts destroying your will to compete. At the end of the game, she had bowled in the 130's, while I had bowled in the 30's. Since then, I have fixed some problems with my stroke and have managed to break 100, but only after some serious tinkering.
I have also found out, thanks to this game, that my Fitness Age is 57. That seems about right. In fact, it's downright generous.
I haven't played much of Zelda, 28 minutes to be exact, thanks to my daily Wii message, but so far it's a lot of fun. The game looks good, not 360 good, but pretty damn impressive for the platform. The jaggies that come with progressive scan are a little annoying, but they're easy to overlook once you get into the game. The controllers seem to be a good fit, however I haven't done anything combat related yet, so my opinion may change. I doubt it, but stranger things have happened. Hopefully the soreness in my arms as a result of Wii Sports will fade once I have to start swinging the Master Sword. Otherwise, we're going to have some problems. Note, this is not a condemnation of the Wii's control scheme, but of me being an out of shape slob.
Super Monkey Ball has yet to be opened, but I think I need to spend more time with the controllers before I attempt to take Linda down in a fit of simian oneupmanship. I fear her Monkey Boxing.