If the Wii console is a large ice cream sundae, then Wii Sports is the cherry on the top. As a bundled game Nintendo could not have chosen a better title to relay, in a simple way, the true strength and appeal of the console and its unique control system.
Consisting of tennis, baseball, bowling, golf and boxing, Wii Sports is by no means a simple tech demo as many may have suggested. Tennis and bowling in particular are beautifully balanced, and the Wii Remote allows you to add all the nuance of spin you’d find in the real sports. Baseball and golf are great fun too, with golf adding a rather more relaxed theme to the collection.
The only sport that doesn’t quite work is boxing, which suffers from some rather imprecise control. Despite this it remains good fun, especially in multiplayer, and it’s a testament to the quality of the other sports that the boxing is noticeably less agile and precise.
Simple it may be but Wii Sports is the most fun I’ve had all year, and it doesn’t get old. It can be played in short bursts on your own or with friends at parties, and it all feels instantly intuitive to gamer and non-gamer alike.
Wii Sports is not just a great bundled game, it’s a great game full stop and you can’t say much better than that.
Farcical they may be, but new console launches are a staple of the industry and Wii represents something truly ‘new’ in an industry often criticised – not always fairly – for being unoriginal. It’s exquisitely designed, superb value at £179 and, though it may not be graphically advanced, playing Wii is an unique experience in gaming.
It’s not a perfect experience. The Wii Channel system feels rather underdeveloped and a rechargeable remote would be welcome, but these are minor quibbles for what is otherwise a console without genuine comparison.
The Wii Remote, the object on which Wii above all else relies, is a wondrous piece of design managing to be both easy to use while adding a level of depth unsurpassed by anything we’ve ever called a “controller” in the past.
Wii is rather like a white Christmas: it may not happen often, but when it does it is well worth the wait.