While out buying some much needed replacement gym shoes (I haven’t rotated them every 100,000 steps like I should have), I decided to stop into a Game Stop and try out the Wii on display. I had heard that they require a credit card, but it turns out that they only needed a state ID.
Ok, seriously, why would you purposefully put up barriers to get your potential customers to try out your products? “Come check out our cool stuff that we want you to purchase! It’s amazing! It’s sweet! You’ll love it! Not so fast there, Mr. Customer! First you need to give us something. We can’t just trust you to try it out, after all.”
When I was given the Wii remote, it was in a steering wheel. Apparently Ubisoft makes plastic steering wheel-shaped holders for the remote? The reason for the wheel was to let it feel more natural while playing Excite Truck. It was the only game on display, which disappointed me. I was looking forward to some Wii-sports or something other than a game in the only genre that I don’t care much about.
I’m not a racing fan. I will play Cruisin’ USA or similar arcade games because for some reason out of all of the games that my female friends could play, racing games appeal the most. And not games like Super Mario Kart. No, they like realistic racers with no missiles to shoot or banana peels to drop or oil slicks to leave behind for the next player. I’m sure it appeals to a lot of people. It just doesn’t appeal to me.
Anyway, I start working with the menu, and I wasn’t sure if the remote wasn’t calibrated or if my hand was shaking (I had been playing basketball not too long before), but eventually I got used to it. It was kind of cool to have the remote rumble when it highlights something that can be picked. I checked out a few of the options, such as the photo album and the calendar. I even left a note, “gbgames was here”. Childish? Maybe. What’s it to ya’?
So I finally start the game. It had a tutorial section, and I made it through a good portion of it with only a little difficulty. Part of it was getting used to the controls. My video-game-playing hands kept hitting the directional controls whenever I wanted to turn. At first, I kept forgetting that you need to turn the controller itself. Eventually I got the hang of it, but I swear it reminded me of my Atari 2600 days. I would dodge, jump, and dive with that controller because it still wasn’t obvious to me that doing so was a waste of energy. With the Wii, it actually becomes not only functional, but necessary.
I did a bunch of tricks and jumps, but I could not get the 720 air spin down. I eventually quit the tutorial and started a race. Apparently while racing three laps I also had to earn a certain number of stars. It was interesting, but just like in most racing games, I found myself struggling to stay on the track. I got a lot of air, though, and a few times I managed to spin 360 degrees and land perfectly to get a speed boost. All the while I was spinning, tilting, and turning the controller.
In my limited period of time playing with the Wii, I thought it was promising. I just wish that the demo had something more interesting for me to try out. This weekend, plenty of people will receive their preorders for the Wii and probably the new Zelda game. I will not be among those people, but that just means that when I do eventually get a Wii, it will have more games and the price will probably have come down a bit. Oh, and maybe I will have more time to play games.
I will eventually get a Wii…once I have something more compelling than Excite Truck to play. When the N64 was in kiosks, I had a blast playing Super Mario 64. I would walk over to the stores over and over to play something on that system. It seems to me that someone messed up somewhere. I know that other people have been able to try out other games, but somehow the one store I go into had such a limited ability to market to me. I WANTED to try out things, but my options were limited. I couldn’t even check out some of the networked features that the menu promised would be there if the network was only configured.
The Wii: Promising.
Marketing the Wii: Not so much.