Stuff I Say

So I bought a Wii…

Posted in gaming by 51future on April 21, 2008

I finally bought a Wii.

Nintendo really rubbed me the wrong way for some reason when the Wii first came out. I was totally opposed to the idea of motion control (I’ve never been a huge fan of the DS and at the time I imagined that the Wii was just an extension of Nintendo’s fascination with alternate control schemes.) and there wasn’t anything that I was really dying to play, either.

Now, I wanted to play Super Mario Galaxy, but I didn’t want to pay $250 for the pleasure. Zelda: Twilight Princess rubbed me the wrong way too, mostly because I’ve never been a Zelda Zealot. (I don’t see myself as a Halo zealot either, but people who know me might disagree.) I was angry that the major Wii launch title was a rebadged Gamecube game. I took it personally.

In any case, here now, a year and a half later, I have a Wii sitting in my living room. Along with that, I have my initial thoughts.

Pros:

  • The Wii is small and sleek. It looks good under my television.
  • The UI is appealing.
  • Making Miis is more fun than I expected.
  • Motion control is neat but there are caveats…

Cons:

  • Internet is a PITA.
  • Motion control is finicky and there are no options.
  • Nintendo loves peripherals too much.
  • Nintendo tried to include everything, resulting in a frankenstein that does nothing very well.

My problem is that I have a Time Capsule and a MBP, both of which are wireless N compatible. The Wii, however, is a b/g device, so the first thing I did when I got home and hooked it up was to downgrade my network into a b/g/n network with WPA/WPA2 security. This was fine. The Wii connected without a problem. However, after setting up the Wii, it asked if I wanted to turn on “WiiConnect24.” This is the problem. If I turn on WiiConnect24, then my Wii will periodically connect to my wireless network, even when it’s off, and download firmware updates, weather station updates, etc. Every time it does this, my router kicks back into g mode and my network goes slower. Is this a huge problem? I’m not really sure. I use my Time Capsule for Time Machine backups from my MBP, but the HD inside of Time Capsule isn’t a speed demon, so I’m not sure if it even reaches N-speed throughput anyway, but if I’m running, say, torrents (as I often do) and Time Machine is trying to upload a new backup, the bandwidth is swamped, even in N-mode. So I’d really rather not have my Wii maintain a constant 24hr connection to my network, because then having N-compatible devices is just a waste.

The ridiculous part of all this is that my Wii isn’t able to just download the weather on demand or utilize any dashboard-level functions (Wii store, etc.) without WiiConnect24 on. Thanks Nintendo. Right now, I’m not sure why I even bothered to punch in the network details on my Wii– it doesn’t seem to be able to connect to the internet at all without WiiConnect24, but maybe I’m just missing something.

As far as motion control is concerned, because of the sensor bar, it’s all but impossible to sit even two feet away from directly in front of the TV. My Wii is in a tiny room and the only place where motion control works reliably is the bean bag 3 feet from the front of my TV– and only while sitting. The bluetooth in the wiimotes, on the other hand, works pretty reliably anywhere in the room.

I was disappointed that Nintendo felt it necessary to own a Wiimote for every accessory you want to connect, too. I had to go out to the store a second time to buy a second Wiimote for my second classic controller before I realized that the classic controllers are pretty terrible anyway and I decided I like the Nunchuck/Wiimote better in Brawl. The other problem with control is that there are 3 main ways to control any given game: Wiimote/Nunchuck, Classic Controller, and Gamecube Controller. Mario Kart Wii also has this plastic wheel that is apparently required to do stunts, as well. The problem with all these different control schemes is that, at least in Super Smash Brothers Brawl, there is no perfect control scheme. It’s hard as hell to utilize your shield and/or dodge using the classic controller and only marginally easier than the Wiimote/Nunchuck, which makes the game a lot harder to get into than it should be. The fact that I’m considering buying a used Gamecube control– that I’m stepping back an entire generation to find a suitable control scheme really says something about control in general on the Wii. I really like the feel of the Wiimote/Nunchuck, especially in Mario Kart, but even there it’s limited by the software just so that Nintendo could sell a few more plastic wheels. I don’t know what else to say. It sucks.

With all that said, I do like it. I like it a lot more than I expected I would. As far as a “party system” is concerned, I think the Wii is really where it’s at. If there were actually people here to play with (there are a few people here, and I did go through all of Subspace Emissary with someone else, but that’s for another entry) I think it would be a great system to rock out on with friends. It sort of represents the essence of gaming– innocent fun, compared to the Xbox or the PS3 which are closer to cultural platforms that you are compelled to follow and keep track of than they are to actually laughing, playing and having a good time. But I guess Mario Kart and Brawl– the way you play these games and the way they encourage four people to get together in the same room have as much to do with that as the Miis and the other gimmicks the Wii has to offer.

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One Response

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  1. XboxGuy said, on May 6, 2008 at 10:22 am

    I like the entry overall, I just wanted to comment on a few things.

    Brawl: Have you tried mapping your controls? You’ll find some things that are useful, such as putting smash attacks on the d-pad for fast ones. You can also put it so that you perform your special when you shake it in a certain direction. Aside from that, it’s been general agreed that for brawl the GC controller>Classic Controller>Wii Remote+Nunchuck> wii remote

    Mario Kart: You don’t have to have the wheel for special stunts. I play with the Wii Remote and Nunchuck and it’s just a shake to do the special stunt. And you can still do it on the GC and Classic Controller, by using either the d-pad or one of the sticks, I can’t remember.

    But I agree, the wii is the best if you have a bunch of friends who are casual gamers, because they’ll actually want to play. I can’t get my friends to play the PS3 or Xbox 360.


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