The Incredible Wii Game Machine from Nintendo . October 2007 . Vol. 13 No. 10

Cyber News and Reviews is a monthly column featuring kids educational software reviews, business software reviews (small business & home business), games and entertainment articles.

February 2008--Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended and My Guitar from eMedia
January 2008--English-Hebrew Language Learning Software from LingvoSoft
December 2007--CounterSpy Anti-Spyware and Edventure Maze


The Incredible Wii Game Machine from Nintendo

By Howard Berenbon

Just when I thought video game machines reached a plateau of great graphics, animation, player interaction and realism, I was amazed by the latest machine from Nintendo, the incredible Wii!  What’s so great about the machine, you ask?  Well, it’s the first machine with wireless controllers, and that makes a world of difference in game play.

Nintendo Wii The Incredible Wii

I didn’t know much about the machine, except that it was in demand and unavailable anywhere.  We promised our daughter, Sarah, the machine about a year ago as a birthday gift, but couldn’t find them in stock anywhere.  The demand was more than Nintendo could produce (and still is), and the local Best Buy, Circuit City or EB Games would get some in once a week, 5 or 6 machines at a time, and a few lucky gamers, at the right place at the right time would get one.  But we couldn’t get one.

On our latest visit to New York City, in August, we ended up at Nintendo World in Rockefeller Center (in the court where The Today Show is aired) and there was a long line of people waiting inside the store, and few that spilled outside. A clerk at the entrance asked us if we were interested in buying a Wii.  I asked him if we had a chance at getting a machine because there must have been 60 people waiting. The clerk starting counting and about a minute later he happy said, yes.  They had about 70 to sell.  After waiting just a half hour in line and paying $250, plus a $100 more for a few extra games, we were excited to leave with a Wii!

Nintendo World New York City Rockefeller Center
Nintendo World in Rockefeller Center New York City: Today Show Court

Nintendo World
Line for Wii: Nintendo World New York, July 31, 2007.

We didn’t hook up the game console in our hotel room because were in New York City to see a few Broadway shows, not to play video games.  In fact, we ended up seeing Rent with Anthony Rapp (Mark) and Adam Pascal (Roger), and they were incredible. They were the original Broadway cast members who decided to come back for two months at the end of July.  And we were very lucky to have seats for their first performance.  It was a wild night; fans screamed when Anthony and Adam first appeared on stage, and at end of each of their songs. 

Besides seeing some of the other NYC sites like the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center and walking through Central Park, we found our way to Steven Colbert’s The Colbert Report studio, which is on 54th Street near 11th Avenue, just 4 blocks from our hotel.  He’s on Comedy Central, famous for his political satire and mockery of Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, who he endearingly calls “papa bear” and pretends to idolize.  We were too early to get tickets, and couldn’t wait anyway because we planned to see Les Miserables that night.  Another fan waiting in line snapped a photo of me and my daughter Becky.  Steven Colbert seems somewhat obsessed with Bill Gates, and because I look like a little like Bill, it’s possible I could have met Steven.  But, we didn’t have time to go back and get noticed, so maybe on our next trip.

Cobert Report
Me and Becky at The Colbert Report Studio in NYC, 54th Street near 11th Ave.

The Wii looks like a small external hard drive, it’s so compact.  Connecting the machine was a little different than previous games because it has one extra connection, which is the heart of the new technology: a sensor that sits on top of your television to sense movement of the wireless controllers.  And those wireless controllers make a world of difference to the game play.  Before you play, you are also required to build an avatar, called a “Mii,” a caricature of you, which appears in the games when you play.  Any new gamer on your machine must build their “Mii” before playing, and the images are stored in the game ready to be selected.

The Wii includes one game, Wii Sports, which is incredible on it’s own and also one controller.  But we bought a second one for two player games—you’re allowed up to four controllers.  Before you play (games are supplied on a DVD type disk), you must sync the controllers.  The controller included with the Wii has an additional attachment called a Nunchuk, which is allows you to use both hands to interact with some games, like boxing, supplied with the machine in Wii Sports (very impressive).  Also included are bowling, golf (so real you won’t believe it), tennis and baseball.  The game play is so realistic that when you hit a ball, you’ll hear that sound effects from the controller.

Graphics are good with lots of details and smooth motions.  The music and sound effects are comparable to any other machine we’ve played, except that some of the sounds are coming from the controller, which is very innovative.  Many of the games change views during play.  For example, when you hit a golf ball, it shows it flying through the air, and then another view where it lands.  Just like watching golf on television.  And, they add crowd sounds after you hit the ball and then when it lands.  When you’re bowling, views change as well, and you’ll see people sitting and some walking in the seating area.  You may recognize someone, because they’ll include your family and friends avatars.  Learning to use the controller may take a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be swinging that golf club like a Tiger Woods.  Just remember to put on that wrist strap when you’re pitching in the baseball game. You don’t want to throw the controller into your television screen.  It can’t be good for it.

So, if you’re in the market for a new video game machine, you must consider the Nintendo Wii.  But, don’t expect to find one that easily because as of September 27th, 2007, I couldn’t find one locally, because the demand is still greater then Nintendo can supply.  Until they can supply more machines to their distributors at one time, you’ll have to wait in long lines to try to get one.  Good luck!