i must be the only video game blogger who hasn’t yet reviewed the original wii sports. there are a few reasons i’ve put it off for so long. the main reason is that i wanted to delve into at least one area in some depth. but since i’m not into sports games that much in general, even though i’ve played the five games off and on since i first got it, it took me a while to get motivated to actually spend more concentrated amounts of time with it. similarly, even when i did think about playing it, when i get home from work i’m oftentimes just too lazy to be waving my arms around like a mad man, no matter how much fun it may be.
i finally got my 3rd gold in wii tennis recently, so i feel like now is a good time to reflect. without a doubt wii sports is a historical game that will long be remembered for revolutionizing the way video games are viewed (and played) all over the world. by now everyone’s heard hundreds of stories about how the wii has brought people into gaming for the first time, as well as bringing people back into gaming who hadn’t played since the NES days. as someone who’s experienced this phenomenon directly himself with his own family, it’s a great, amazing, fantastic thing that would be hard to overstate.
has it really already been 3 years since the wii was released? i remember the buzz that had been building about it, and, as a nintendo fanboy, being really worried about how people would react to it. that anticipation will be forever linked in my mind with wii sports, and more specifically wii sports as depicted in the first set of “wii experience” videos (put online before the wii was actually released). i found myself watching some of these videos over and over again, amazed at not only how magical playing wii looked, but also how real the reactions were. the videos feature an international cast including both genders and a range of ages, and oftentimes the immediate smiles of the players’ first reactions are soon followed by the furrowed brows of concentration.
so it was, and so it has continued in scores of wii games that have followed. but getting back to the point at hand, i ended up spending most of my time playing the tennis game. that game, as well as the whole package, runs a fine line between simplicity plus accessibility and a true, “hardcore” challenge, something that nintendo has and continues to openly struggle with. tennis seems to balance the two admirably well, perhaps the best balanced in those terms of the games in this collection, based on what i’ve played so far. getting gold medals in the tennis training mode was reasonably challenging, although i’m somewhat disheartened at even attempting to get the platinum medals. and although i became a wii tennis “pro” without too much trouble, maintaining my ranking and even improving it has definitely required more effort. also, as for how much the games mimic real life i can definitely say that with both tennis and bowling when i started off playing, real-life tendencies were accurately reflected in the games. now that i’ve improved i can’t help but wonder if my real-world game has improved as well, although i haven’t tested that yet.
despite not having much interest in sports games in general, i certainly enjoyed this collection. i’m definitely going to come back to tennis, and although i spent some time with baseball i became too bored with the pitching. so i may turn my attention to boxing next, although being the most physically demanding of all the wii sports games it’ll probably take even more motivation for me to get to it. either way i’m deeply grateful to nintendo for coming up with such a great console with a perfect pack-in.
– review at videogamecritic.net
– the entry at strategywiki.org includes the training mode medal requirements
– FAQ at gamefaqs. this one also includes info on the easter eggs.
– iwata asks feature. part 4 is particularly entertaining.
– according to one user, nintendo added some slight updates to the game when they added the update to show the wii remote jacket