Gaming

Wii Sports wasn’t just a wiggle, it was an important gateway to games

Image: Nintendo

Wii 15 Years, Words That Will Make A Writer Feel Like Little Old. It was an era where HD was a bold new frontier in gaming, and Nintendo decided, “No, we’ll do something fun instead.” It’s odd considering that the Wii and DS have carved up the market, creating a boom for Nintendo that even the Switch’s current success cannot match – two systems that are both leading the way in the field and redefining the definition of “gamer.”

Some people prefer to set certain criteria and standards for the “gamer”, but I disagree with that. My mom is retired now, but she plays games as much as I do, from everything in the Dragon Quest series to Animal Crossing: New Horizons and even Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla… She conquered RPGs that make me sweat and whimper in the corner, and unlike me, she had the stamina to not only finish Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity but also jump into the DLC. Some games she will play on “normal” difficulty, others on a lower difficulty, but it will be fun.

My mom conquered RPGs that make me sweat and whimper in the corner

My dad is also retired and doesn’t play games at all, but does have a switch. He doesn’t like complex controls or intense gameplay, but enjoys games like Room or Mars Horizon, or maybe good old Toki Tori

My brother and I play a lot of different things, including a lot of recent releases that use fast cars or shooting. I especially enjoy action and platform games, and I treat lost lives as a personal insult to be avenged.

We are a family of gamers.

What made the Wii especially special, and will forever remain one of the many factors that embody Satoru Iwata’s legacy in the industry, is his way of bringing different people together through easy-to-understand and universal play; in the process of forging new relationships between players and enjoying the game. Despite our vastly different tastes and styles, my family used to get together and launch the Wii to do a little Wii Sportswhich was magical.

Bowling was the perfect group exercise, which was fun because we were used to in fact Play 10-pin bowling at your local center in recent years. It was also the only place where I could give my brother a competition, as in real bowling he was on the verge of being a pro and my talents were somewhat limited. Oddly enough, our bowling styles have been translated from real alleys to the Wii equivalent: my brother used a hard spin, I tried to use a spin but was probably wrong, and my dad played straight like an arrow at an amazing speed. I’m not sure what my mom’s style is, I suspect it changed depending on delivery!

Wii Sports Club hint: Wii U golf I also played with my dad
Wii Sports Club hint: Wii U golf I also played with my dad

Golf was a fun experience and probably one of the most memorable for me. After some initial buzz and enthusiasm, I ended up playing with my dad in amazingly competitive rounds. In the end, it couldn’t be easier to play, but even in this original view, the motion tracking was pretty decent and we played “right” as if it was 1: 1 accurate. I suspect my dad liked it because it had no gimmicks, you could play at your own pace and, in fact, it was just a fun activity to work on.

And, oddly enough, our playing styles were the opposite of what friends and acquaintances might have expected at the time. I became known as Padraig Harrington, at the time the winner of the Major, who was known for his reliability and consistency. My dad was a young Rory McIlroy, a little cocky and bold in his choice of shots. I remember a par 4 with a bend and woods blocking the path to the hole. I pulled out three irons, played on the approach and then fell on the lawn with a nine. My dad insisted that you can hit the green in one across trees, and at that age I played my “real player” card and told him it was impossible. However, every time we played, he tried this.

Then one day, probably months after our first round, it worked. I rolled my eyes at first, as, as expected, young Rory’s incarnation was pointing the direction of the shot straight into the hole. Almighty swing, that nice “whistle” sound effect, and the ball … kept flying through the trees. He landed on the lawn.

There was a small exclamation, a high five and wide-eyed surprise.

It didn’t really matter that we adults were waving the plastic remote control.

Wii Remote
Image: Nintendo Life

This is just one of many memories of Wii Sports, which was not only a terrific game to be enjoyed with others, but the defining miracle of Wii games. Combining it with the system (although it wasn’t bundled in Japan) was an inspiring move, an immediate outlet for wary gamers unsure of how this odd Wii controller was supposed to work.

The Wii is celebrating its birthday and deserves a lot of love, but let’s not forget the included game that helped get the party started.




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