Arena Magazine - self-titled "Worlds Smartest Men’s magazine" - has written a rather scathing preview of the Wii, after being invited to Nintendo’s recent playtest event in Covent Garden.
SPOnG is somewhat baffled by this, as we were there. We played plenty of WarioWare: Smooth Moves
and plenty of Wii Sports
and we are fairly confident that we will be spending most of our Christmas break this year playing the same games. Plus, more importantly, we will be successfully encouraging previously videogame-shy family and friends to do the same. And we are fairly confident that gamers across the world will be doing the same - young and old, Ninty fanboys or not.
And whilst the other assembled ‘lifestyle’ hacks in attendance seemed to be pretty much in agreement that the Wii totally delivers on the hype, the man from the low-circulation style mag targeting a swiftly disappearing demographic of men in their thirties and forties who still need fashion and style advice from a magazine, decided to buck the trend.
Yes, somebody in a lifestyle magazine has decreed that the Wii is actually the rubbish Emperor’s New Clothes. In a poorly written piece entitled ‘Wii, Wii, poo, poo’ Arena claims:
The more I play the Wii, the more practical problems enter my head, seemingly lost on others in the rush to join the blanket of praise. More concerns than reservations, they are however sure to be part of the bigger picture after the initial “Oooh, look what I can do with my hands!” hype has died down…
1 The physical issue
After a hard day of work/surfing the internet, a relaxing blast on a shoot ’em up or a decent sports sim can be cathartic, not needing much more than a small thumb movement and a couple of button presses to see off hordes of screaming Nazis or score a backhand-return while you lie virtually comatose on the sofa. But with the Wii, vegging out is no longer an option – it’s all about motion, whether it’s thrusting the controller forward to bayonet in battle or leaping about a ‘virtual’ court on a third-set tie-break. Does that feel like ‘rest’ to you? After the office and the gym, doesn’t it all sound too much like hard work?
2 The ‘big TV’ issue
Nintendo has made a huge deal out of the fact that the Wii isn’t following the next-gen herd, concentrating on how we play games, rather than just swanking up the graphics. But while it may not need a high-definition telly like the PS3 and Xbox 360, it DOES need a big fuck-off one. As the PS2’s gimmicky EyeToy gadget proved, motion-sensing games don’t work on small TVs – you need the on-screen gaming area to be as large as possible to properly read your body’s graceful movements (come on, play along). So, despite the Big N pitching itself as the cheap and cheerful option (£170 is the latest unconfirmed price doing the rounds – almost a third of the price of the PS3), you may still find yourself having to fork out for that entertainment centre of plenty after all.
3 The space issue
We’ve already established that the Wii suddenly makes video-gaming a physical activity, which is fine if you have a sizeable front room. However, those whose living dens are a little on the small side, or those banking on setting it up in their specialist ‘games nook’, might want to think again, as even in a spacious demo space I was bumping into people and fairly solid walls left, right and centre trying to hit baseline winners on Wii Tennis. Quite what this means for Nintendo’s considerable child clientele, who predominantly have their consoles in their bedrooms, is anyone’s guess. Fancy watching the Premiership on the 14” in the kitchen while the little terrors take over your personal man space of an evening? No, didn’t think so.
Despite the fact that most of the above twaddle is either factually just wrong, or at the least pretty misinformed (you can play any Wii games whilst sat down should you choose and you don’t need a big telly, as it’s the wand which senses the Wiimote’s movement) let us know if you have any genuine
concerns about the Wii which you feel are not being voiced, or are being sidelined by the almost universal praise amongst the games and (rest of) the lifestyle media.