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November 15, 2013

Wii Sports

Maybe I'm trying to aim for something too big, this time around... Maybe my goal is too high... Eh, whatever. Here's Wii Sports, everyone!

Yes, Wii Sports, the best-selling video game of all time. The game that was given with every Wii in the early days of the console. A game that is dearly remembered in our hearts, as it made every Wii player discover the movement detection and all the things you could do with it. A game that not only let the younger gamers have fun, but brought their parents – and grandparents! - into the infinite pleasures of gaming. It is a game... that defined a generation. Both a generation of consoles, and a generation of players. And it has left a trace in recent history. It is, truly, one of the greatest games, of all time.




Just kidding!

You thought I WAS serious? Oh sure, all this is true, so I might very well have been. But when you think about it, Wii Sports was among the very first games that used the Wiimote and the Wii's movement detection. There were a few games before that experimented this, with EyeToy for the Playstation. Yet, never before was there any console based entirely on this.
As a result, Wii Sports was one of the first games created with specifically the Wii's movement detection in mind. Therefore, the technology was still being perfected. Plus, the only reason Wii Sports is the best selling game of all time is because it was sold along with the first editions of the Wii. And it was also available on the market. This contributed to its status as best selling game of all time... But is it really such a great game?


I could say yes, I could say no, but for now I'll just say that we'll see as I review the game's sports separately. So, how does this game work? Well, before you can even start, you'll probably need to build yourself a Mii. Those things are human-like personifications of the players inside the game. It's not a bad thing, actually. However, you could either make someone who looks like you or like a friend, or you could try and make the ugliest Mii ever. Anyway, when the game begins, you can already pick a sport. You also have the choice to play in Training Mode and in Fitness Mode.

An interesting idea brought up by this game is the talent level... Sorta. You see, each time you finish playing any sport in this, you gain “talent points”... I guess... We never really get much of a name for those in-game, so... Well, anyway, for each game you can reach 1000 points. When you do, you are now considered a Pro in that game. Iof course, the closer to 1000 you get, the harder your opponents are, or the more difficult it becomes to increase your talent level by a significant amount. I have to admit that it's something more to reach for in a game that has no such thing as achievements. The only sad part is that it just gives some cosmetic gifts, like a star on the bowling ball.
Well, what am I waiting for? Let's tour these five games and see what's right, and what's wrong, with them!

Tennis

C'mon, toss it here, toss it here! Hey!
I remember not liking real tennis. I remember not entirely enjoying this game, either. Although, I'm a little harsh. To play Tennis on Wii Sports, you have to toss the ball upwards – by a movement of the Wiimote – and then swing to toss the ball on the other side. If you play against only one player, then you can each control two characters; the one at the back who does the services, and the one near the net who can hit the ball to toss it quickly back to the other side. The game follows the regular rules of tennis; if you toss the ball on the sides, the opposing team has a point. If you don't manage to hit the ball back, the opposing team has a point. A really simple game.
Dangit, I'm gonna fall!
Now, as to whether or not it's actually fun... Okay, I'll admit, it's fun. Maybe there's a bit of a programming problem with the ball, however; it's very difficult to toss the ball where you want it to go. As such, you could lose just because you've been unlucky enough and tossed the ball too much on the side... That kind of sucks. In Training Mode, you have to hit back as many balls as possible. Although, for all those balls, you still have to aim for the back of the tennis court, not the sides... To increase your talent level in this one, you can play against CPU teams whose talent levels keep increasing depending on how close to 1000 you are.
So yeah, I guess it's an okay game. The sports non-fan in me managed to enjoy it just enough.

Baseball

Toss it, I'll show you my home run. GOODBYE, IT'S GONE!
Oh, I think I liked this one better. For an hour. Okay, I'm being harsh again. Well, if you're an American (and according to my Blogger traffic sources, I had about 1500 visitors from the United States, so there ought to be a few visitors from America), then you know how baseball works. Throw the ball, a player of the opposing team hits it with a wooden bat, and if he has enough time he can run around the lines on the ground, up to one of the three corners of the square. Often described as America's favorite sport, I really don't see what the big deal is about it. I once went to see a baseball game in New York. I remember my Yankee Stadium Inaugural Season soft drink plastic cup better than the game. Heck, I have it as a souvenir on my shelf! But I digress. If I had to choose, I think I'd prefer hockey.
Well, anyway, now's your time to live all the excitement of swinging a bat, OR tossing the ball. You can play against a CPU team, but you can also play against another human player; in that case, each of you controls a team. You control every character in your team when it's time to swing. However, when the time comes to toss the ball, you control just one character. You can also play with the ball's speed by pressing A or B while throwing. As for your success at the bat...
Eh, once again the programming isn't top-notch in this game. Especially when it's time to swing. You can never really tell the outcome. Of course you can get better through practice, but it's still difficult. The most annoying thing is when the opponent team catches the ball before your character could even reach the first base!
...Ah, it happens in regular games? Really? Oh well, I guess. That's pretty much all I could say about this game. Oh, while I remember, Training Mode for this game has you trying to hit as many balls as possible in an amount of time.

Bowling

Knock 'em all down, you can do it!
THIS is the most famous sport in this game. Literally, as it's the one me and my mother keep playing. The four other sports? We don't play them as much. She's a huge bowling fan.
So, bowling, bowling... You've played this before, haven't you? I mean, who didn't? It's a very fun sport, in which you toss a heavy bowling ball at ten pins placed in a small triangle. You can throw the bowling ball twice each turn, and you have to try to knock all the pins down in those two throws. There are ten turns for each player. The score rises faster when you succeed in striking down all the pins in a single throw, and a little faster if you knock them all down in two throws. In all honesty, did I really have to explain all that?
Yes, I knew you could!
The game is a lot of fun, I gotta admit. Also, it's kind of neat to see that any single miniature twist of your wrist when throwing the ball could result in it missing a pin. Okay, it's enraging, but it's a nice thing added to the physics engine of that one in particular. It makes the game a tad more realistic.
The problem? Even though this added thing is good, some people still found a way to overcome that factor and score perfect scores of 300 REPEATEDLY. No really, an elderly man from Wisconsin has reached a score of 300 in Wii Sports Bowling no less than 8,550 times! It must have become boring around the hundredth perfect game... If anything, this shows that if you do things right, you can avoid the physics in the game and win about all your games... And that can be a pretty big flaw!
When you reach Pro, you bowling ball gains a star.

Golf

Let's all swear together at this ball that never goes where
it should be going!
Get ready for your first swearing lessons. Oh, we're playing golf? Huh, that'll do. No, really, golf is one of the sports that bring out the inner madman in each of us. Just wait till your golf ball falls in the water, and you'll see what I mean. Yep, Wii Sports Golf replicates the experience of playing golf in the great nature, on perfect greens. You have the choice between a three-hole game (choosing between three sets of three) or a nine-hole game. And boy will you be glad that there's just nine holes. What, just nine holes? That's half a real game! Then again, I have patience only for half a real game, so it's fine. I've read somewhere that the nine holes in this game were 3D copies of the nine holes in the first Golf game for the NES. If that's the case, I'm happy; it brings a slight feeling of nostalgia to the whole thing.
By the way, this game almost doesn't change at all in Wii
Sports Resort, so it's hard to see the differences.
However! Yeah, you knew this was coming. Once again, the physics system... Yeah, you have probably guessed, by now, that this is my main complaint for almost all the sports in this game. How does it get screwed up this time? Well... It's missing many elements that give it a real golf feel, like field slopes, the wind to curve your flying ball's trajectory, and the
Oh, and Golf's controls are the most difficult to master. So, I press this button to swing the club, but if I don't... and I have to turn a little to change my aim's angle... Gosh, this is complicated!
F... forget you, golf game, f... forget you!

Boxing

Ah, finally the last game! Boxing is... boxing. The only game that requires you to use the nunchuk in Wii Sports, boxing is an experience to be tried. Your Mii appears on a boxing ring, against an opponent – again, either a CPU with increasing talent level, or a human opponent if you have someone to play with. You can bend yourself on the left or on the right with your Wiimote and nunchuk to have your character move out of the way. You can also put the two remotes vertically to block the hits. Finally, you can send your arms forward to punch the opponent.
This one has... no problems with the physics, actually. No, it has problems with the controls. It's sometimes very difficult to hit the opponent, and the whole Hit Point system is kind of complicated. When the opponent is KO, it can come back with two less Hit Points, and you have to deplete its life circle again... and so on... until it doesn't get up again...
Meh, I guess that's all I can say about this one. Have a boxing day with this!

Final words? Well... I have to tell the truth: Beyond all the problems in this game's physics... It's FUN! Really, it's a lot of fun! The thing about the physics is that, most of the time, you won't even care about them. However, even if those flaws are rather minor, they're still there. Yet, at the same time, this was one of the first games for the Wii, so the whole movement detection thing wasn't still top-notch. It would take a while before the developers at Nintendo would have the experience with that control system and make games without any problems with the Wiimote. However, all in all, for one of the first games with motion detection... Yeah, it was alright. It could have turned out a lot worse. In the end, Wii Sports is a fun game, but it's stll flawed and, quite frankly, a little overrated. I don't know about the other movement detection games before this one: I never played them, but apparently, they weren't exactly as good. So... I guess that's all I could say.

Tune in next week for a special Top 12 list!