A Closer Look at the Nintendo Wii

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Get Into the Game

Nintendo reports that at least 62 titles will be available for the Wii by year's end. Launch titles include the following:

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Cars and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Creature from the Krusty Krab
  • Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaich 2
  • Excite Truck
  • Happy Feet and The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
  • Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
  • Madden NFL 07
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance from Activision
  • Monster 4X4 World Circuit
  • Rampage: Total Destruction
  • Rayman Raving Rabbids
  • Red Steel
  • Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
  • Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam
  • Trauma Center: Second Opinion
  • Wii Sports

And these titles should be available within five weeks of launch:

  • The Ant Bully
  • Barnyard
  • Chicken Little: Ace in Action
  • Elebits
  • Far Cry: Vengeance
  • Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
  • Metal Slug Anthology
  • Need for Speed: Carbon
  • Open Season
  • Rapala Tournament Fishing
  • Super Swing Golf
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent
  • World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions

Hotly anticipated games such as Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, are due to arrive during the first half of 2007. The Wii will support single- or double-layer standard (12cm) Wii discs and mini (8cm) GameCube game discs.

About the Games

Here are my thoughts on the titles that I've tried out so far:

Wii Sports: Included free with the console, this simple but fun collection of micro sports games (tennis, golf, baseball, bowling, and boxing) will have you using the Wii controllers in various intuitive ways. The graphics, which are based on Mii characters, aren't crash hot--but like PlayStation Eye Toy games, they'll have you jumping about and generally having a blast miming the arm movements that each sport involves in real life. People watching me play a colleague had almost as much fun spectating as we had playing and were eager to try it themselves. Boxing--the only mini game that used both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers, for both left- and right-handed punches--was my favorite and provided a decent workout! (For more detail and screenshots, check out GamePro's review.) A sequel, of sorts, to the Wii Sports collection, called Wii Play, should be available by year's end. It most likely will include table tennis, laser hockey (like air hockey), fishing, shooting, and pool/snooker, among other challenges.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: This is clearly the most intently awaited Wii title--and from what I've seen so far, the wait was worth it. As in the GameCube version, the characters here speak in text only (which may or may not be a positive feature). It offers multiple environments, various styles of game play, and excellent graphics. You'll either love or hate the Wii controller enhancements; I found them easy to pick up and quite immersive. Swinging the sword was envigorating; and when I shot an arrow, I could first hear its sound in the Wii Remote's speaker, and then on the TV's speakers, enhancing the impression that the arrow was moving away from me. Again, for more detail and screenshots, read GamePro's review.

Excite Truck: In this racing title from Nintendo, you use the Wii Remote horizontally to mimic a steering wheel. The game does a superb job of conveying a sense of speed, and it looks pretty sharp. The thing I liked best about the game, though, was the absurdly massive amounts of air the trucks get, allowing me to jump and bump my way to victory. Here's GamePro's take.

Madden NFL 07: This Electronic Arts staple looks stunning on the Wii and is comparable to the version on rival consoles. Unique to the Wii's version, however, is the control scheme, owing to the Wii's implementation of motion-sensing control. You throw passes with the Wii remote (with subtle movements akin to a real ball toss) and control your receiver with the Nunchuk's joystick. I'm having a blast refining my technique just by playing a two-player game against friends, but if you want to upgrade your skills more quickly, Wii control tutorials are available.

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