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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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So Kyle was nice and brought his wii over (HAHAHAHA, wii).

Sorry, the wii jokes just never get old.

What were they thinking?

Alright, I’ll be good.

In any event, the packaging of the console is refreshingly small and compact, compared to the much larger (and even larger when you consider the huge cable and power supply) xbox 360, and the spaceship-sized (not to mention ugly as hell) PS3. The first thing that struck me when I looked at the console and its controllers was “this looks like something that could have been designed by Apple.”

The thing that nobody shows in the ads is that there’s this horribly flimsy and delicate looking IR sensor bar that has to sit up near your television that is used to provide controller orientation for screen-relative control of the controller. That sentence doesn’t really make sense when I read it back, so rather “there’s a little 8 inch bar with a flimsy wire that allows you to move a cursor on a screen using the wii’s controllers.”

So that’s sort of sucky, but otherwise the ergonomics and design of the thing seem pretty solid.

Tried out the wii sports games that come with the thing first off. They were all extremely simple, and the very limited amount of control over the game and mechanics was startling. For example, the tennis game allows you only to swing the racket, and provides very little meaningful control input, and no ability to move the players. Bowling is similar, as is baseball. The standout game is probably boxing, though I quickly tired while playing it. Perhaps this is the system for workout games.

In any event, wii sports is a nice tech demo, but not something you’re going to want to spend a lot of time with.

ExciteTruck was pretty sweet, and used the controller in a novel way. It would be nice to have a wheel to use instead of trying to remember that the candy bar controller is now a steering wheel, but it still worked surprisingly well.

After that played a first-person shooter, whose name I don’t recall. One of my biggest problem with console FPS games is that they suck in terms of control, compared to just having a keyboard and mouse. The wii gets it halfway right at least by using the IR sensor to position the crosshair on the screen, but it’s horribly awkward, and is tough to get a hang of when things get hectic; it’s very easy to point the controller away and sort of lose track of everything. I think this could probably be solved by providing a pistol grip holder for the controller, which would make things much more natural.

All told, it’s perhaps the most interesting platform from a user aesthetic. After seeing Gears of War on the 360, it’s clear the wii will never be in the same league for first person shooters, but for games that are … well, Nintendo, I think it’s going to be a pretty awesome platform, and it will be interesting to see what they do after the initial launch titles/demos.