Nintendo Wii

November is a huge month for the gaming industry. The release of the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii is highly anticipated among gamers. Without question though, more gamers are interested in the Wii due to its next-gen control system, which allows gamers to interact more closely with games. A few weeks ago Nintendo invited press to a private event held at their Rockefeller Plaza store in NYC. We got to spend a couple hours checking out new DS, GameCube, and Wii titles all without interruption. After 2 hours though, the Wii left much to be desired.

Nintendo Wii
The Nintendo Wii and Remote Control

Upon entering the store, Wii Sports was the first available title on display. They had boxing, golf, and bowling available for play. The games clearly target a younger audience; cartoonish and basic. The golf game is obviously not supposed to be the next “Tiger Woods” competitor, but the game isn’t all that fun. In fact, Wii Sports isn’t that fun in general. The games are great for parties and get-togethers with people who don’t game as much, but the titles will get old very fast. Don’t expect a Mike Tyson’s Punch Out from the boxing game either, although that was significantly more exciting than golf.

Wii Sports
The Wii Sports Display

After grabbing a drink, I headed upstairs and found the good stuff. Here, games like Madden, Zelda, and Call of Duty were available to try out for a while. But before I could even think of checking out games like Zelda, I was asked to try ExciteTruck. I agreed, grabbed the Wiimote and went at it. The game was pretty basic and all you had to do was hold down the A-button to accelerate while you steer by tilting the controller. Fun? Sort of. But what bothered me was that the game had graphics similar to Twisted Metal on Playstation One. This is 2006. Your console may have a completely new way of playing it, but you can make those graphics a little better. It didn’t even look as good as some Nintendo 64 games I’ve played. 10 minutes later and a bit disappointed, I headed over to check out Call of Duty 3.

The Nintendo Wii Remote

Call of Duty 3 looked pretty cool. Things were getting blown up, guns everywhere, and I’m a fan of the series’ previous installments. After watching a guy struggling to play and control the game for 5 minutes, he gave up and handed me the controls. Call of Duty 3 requires you to use both the Wii controller and its analog-stick attachment. After fiddling with the controls for a minute or two, it became apparent to me that this game was impossible to control properly. Shooting at enemies was too hard. My weapon kept flying all over the screen and having to walk using my right-thumb while actually moving my left hand to aim was tricky. The game itself again didn’t look all too great but was a vast improvement over ExciteTruck. After 15 minutes, I too gave up trying to control Call of Duty 3 and decided I should go for the gold: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

Waltzing over to the Zelda kiosk, I noticed something incredibly different than the other games on display – this one actually looked decent. Zelda looks great, plays great, and is lots of fun. If you’re a fan of the series, you’re going to really enjoy getting in some sword swinging action with Link and crew. I could only spend about 20 minutes playing the game before other people wanted to try, but overall, I was impressed. This is a solid Wii title that makes the system actually worth purchasing.

The Nintendo Wii Kiosk
The Nintendo Store @ Rockefeller Plaza

They also had the new Madden on display for us to see but no one really seemed to be playing it. The graphics actually look competitive with the Xbox 360’s and the controls appear to be solid. Football and Madden fans are going to enjoy trying to be Peyton Manning for once. You too will finally be able to be a 6’5” quarterback with a laser-rocket arm.

Overall, the Nintendo Wii left me feeling disappointed. I didn’t expect 360 or PS3 graphics, but I did expect better. The unique control system the Wii has should only be used for certain games. Madden and Zelda are great titles to get into with the Wiimote but Call of Duty 3 should be played with a regular controller. Nintendo is on to something here and every fanboy will probably be pleased. Those who are on a budget, are new to gaming or game only occasionally, or want Nintendo titles like Mario and Zelda should pick one up for $250. Otherwise, I’d recommend shelling out a little more for an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3. You’ll be a lot more satisfied with your purchase.

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