Monday, June 02, 2008

Product Review Monday

The former part-time housemate bought a Wii over the weekend and decided it should be our current and perpetual housemate. I thought I might be okay with that until I woke up this morning with a sore shoulder from two consecutive nights of 5+ hour Wii sessions. Forthwith, the verdicts on the Wii Sports pack that was bundled with the console:

Bowling: I am just as crappy at Wii bowling as in real life. It's a frighteningly accurate virtual recreation of my annoying hook that is juuuuuuust predictable enough to rely on for a decent first ball and juuuuuust inconsistent enough to bollocks up 4-9-10 splits every time. Major plus: no grimy hands and questionable rental shoe sanitizing. Major minus: no bowling alley fries and draft beer.

Baseball: Pitching is fun, since my real-life curveball doesn't break nearly as hard and my fastball tops out at about 50. Timing the batting is a bit tricky, but you're helped by realistic ball rotation that allows you to pick up on whether it's going to break outside or have the bottom drop out. Major plus: satisfying crack when you make good contact, no sunburn. Major minus: elementary schoolyard kickball baserunning where no one tags up or takes a lead, inexplicable fielding lapses.

Golf: As long as you don't overswing, you're not going to slice the shit out of your drive or skull your approach over the green, making this game the grand champion best escape into fantasyland offered by Wii Sports. Putting is every bit as dodgy as in real life, but since you're making it on in two, who cares? The nine hole course will probably become overly familiar after a few weeks, but changing wind conditions keep it interesting, and the wicked four-island par five is a heartstopper no matter how many times you play. Sure, you can just hit the shit out of it and bypass one of the fairways and just drive the green. It will work this time, honest. Major plus: ease of lining up shots and guaranteed good form means you don't even miss the absent curse like a sailor and wrap wedge around nearest tree functions. Major minus: can't think of one right now. No carts, maybe.

Tennis: Again, a frighteningly accurate recreation of my crappy real world tennis game, despite lessons as a kid and my parents' best efforts, although the game doesn't allow me to sky the ball over the back fence but instead funnels all that failure into simply missing the ball with great frequency and looking bad while doing it. Do be sure to move all the furniture up against the walls and leave yourselves plenty of space, especially when playing doubles. Major plus: working up a sweat while standing in the living room, killer slo-mo replays showing exactly how high you jumped and how many times you flailed your racquet before face-planting back into the court, puffs of dust. Major minus: the tendency to stand to close to your playing partners and maybe inadvertently whack them in the back of the head.

Boxing: Oh Christ. Does a major fucking gasping for air workout tickle your fancy? Then try boxing. Just make sure you're well-hydrated beforehand. I suppose it could be a handy election catharsis tool as well, especially if you just play against the other controller without an actual person holding it. Major plus: no actual blood or concussions. Major minus: you feel run over by a truck anyway.

So yeah, Wii. The games are wicked expensive, so if you're not a traditional console gamer or haven't been since the days of the Atari 2600, don't let Wii Sports fool you into thinking that fifty-dollar FIFA 2008 game will be a piece of cake.

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