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Playing the Wii

Posted BY: FoolThrottle, Thursday, May 11, 2006, 3:38AM EST

As the doors opened at 9AM this morning, I was already inside the Nintendo booth ready to play the Nintendo Wii.  I captured the whole Wii demo area for you as a Photopak, but read on for the details of what it was like to actually play the Wii, using the new controller. 

My first stop, which was decided more on proximity than desire, was Table Tennis.  To play this, I merely had to wave my hand through the air holding the Wii Remote, and smack a virtual ball with a virtual paddle.  It was instantly intuitive and due to a gentle vibration it had a terrific feel.  Next, I tried Tennis - the same game demonstrated at the close of the Nintendo Press conference yesterday.  It also was instantly playable and fun. 

Jim, one of my Nintendo-nut coworkers, told me to be sure to try Madden and Red Steel.  So, in an affort to avoid a well-deserved smack to the head, I moved down the line of demo stations and played Madden '07.    Here was an entirely new football game.  Using the Wii Remote, I could kick the ball simply by aiming with the analog stick on the Nunchuck, and flipping the Remote upwards quickly.  Tilting the remote resulted in angling the kicks and missing the uprights.  Then I tried passing, which was a simple matter of selecting a receiver and making a throwing motion with the remote - something that was more like casting a fishing line than throwing a football, but again, it was intuitive and easy to pick up. 

Red Steel was next, and this was the one mixed experience I had.  Red Steel had two modes in this demo - one for shooting, and one for swordplay.  The swordplay was kind of easy, but it was a delight to wave my hand and slash my virtual oponent.  The shooting was tricky, and I attribute that to a lack of opportunity to callibrate the controller to my position, relation to the screen, and screen size.  I really wanted to be able to point at a location on the screen and shoot, but I never felt a direct connection to the point-and-shoot style of play.  When I was finished slashing the dude at the end of the demo, I handed the tiny controller to a tiny Morgan Webb from G4, (yes, they're one of our sponsors but this was a coincedence). 

The next game, Super Monkey Ball, was a delight to play.  Simply tilting the controller resulted in the expected tilting of the playing field.  It was intuitive, yet not excessively easy. 

I didn't have a chance to play Zelda on Wii, which is my biggest regret, but the line was already too long for the time I had left.  Perhaps later in the week.  Our camera crews are down there on a full booth tour and FanCam took the VIP tour as well, so you'll see lots of coverage flowing through in the hours to come.

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