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A Letter to the Big “N"
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Wiid World of Sports

Posted on Monday, November 20 @ 21:21:03 Eastern by Joe_Dodson
I don't know if I've ever been more skeptical of a game than I was of Wii Sports. Maybe it was the way Nintendo used it to promote the Wii as the only system that came packaged with a game. Maybe the pictures of well dressed young models playing Wii baseball made my jaded gamer soul howl with incredulity. Maybe I'm not excited about bowling. And maybe I was completely wrong.

Wii Sports exists somewhere between a tech demo and an actual game, but since it's free with the purchase of a Wii, that's a hair I'll never have to split. It features boxing, baseball, tennis, golf and bowling for up to four players, each of whom can be represented by a Mii.

What's a Mii, you ask? It's a little you. You can make them from the Wii's main menu, and they're customizable avatars with lots of facial options. Duke made one and it looks just like him. I hate to say it, but when you play with your Wii, you really are playing with yourself.

Okay, that hurt, but not as much as getting wacked with a Wiimote. And it happens, especially in Wii Tennis, which might be the best game of the bunch. To serve, you flip the Wiimote back then whip it forward, while forehands and backhands are handled just like they would be with a tennis racket. I leave it on in the GR game room, then take five minute tennis breaks (every five minutes).

Wii Baseball is also pretty darned awesome. Pitching is so-so because you still have to use buttons to select pitch and location before throwing with the Wiimote (occasionally throwing the Wiimote itself). But batting is uncanny. You can simply wave the Wiimote at the screen to hit the ball, or you can stand in a baseball stance and swing like you would a real bat. It feels perfect, and the results are actually better if you go through the proper motions.

Wii Boxing doesn't feel quite as natural because not all of your movements translate so clearly into punches. I still haven't figured out, for example, how to throw a hook to the head. But it uses both the Wiimote and the Nunchuk, and I gotta say, it's a lot of fun when you figure out a couple combinations.

Wii Bowling is akin to pitching in baseball, because you set up your position and the initial direction of the ball with buttons before going through any actual motions with the Wiimote. But when you do, you can even add spin with a twist of the wrist. Get a pitcher of beer and some friends, and it's like the real thing without the tendonitis.

Wii Golf is kind of cool, because you can take practice swings to gauge how far one motion would carry the ball versus another. Putting is kind of tricky, though, because it almost feels like you can't help but hit the ball too hard when it's right next to the cup. Or maybe I just drank too much while Wii Bowling.

In any case, that's our Wii Sports overview - since it's free, we're not giving it a full review or a grade. None of the games have any other modes, and you wouldn't want to sit around and play them for hours and hours (you'd probably dislocate something), but right out of the box, Wii Sports delivers the flailing family experience, as advertised. It's all fun and games until someone loses and eye, and then it's still fun for everone except Ol' Squinty.



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