The Nintendo Wii is arguably the most anticipated gaming console… well, ever. This is a rather odd fact considering that the Wii has so drastically bucked the trend of games console development. Instead of the traditional addition of more brute power to the gaming system, Nintendo have gone for a far more subtle approach, hoping to entice us in with promises of an enhanced gameplay experience that will be delivered through the magical power of the Wii remote.
So, the best/only way for anyone to really tell you what the Wii will be like is someone who has spent some time with the console. Fortunately, Nintendo gave me the opportunity earlier this week, to get to grips with the Wii in all its glory; the remote, the nunchuck and some of their launch titles. Read on to find out why exactly I think the Wii will still end up in third place once the dust has settled on the next-generation battle.
What's it like to play the Wii
We arrived in a bleach white room, complete with whites couches, white floors and of course the white Wii. The Nintendo rep handed me and a fellow journalist hack a Wii remote and invited us to the screen whispering "Play, play, play." It felt very much likesome kind of religious ritual as he positioned us in front of the widescreen television. The tennis game of Wii sports shone out at us like a shrine to which we should worship, the Nintendo rep eagerly watching us with wide eyes - and then the game began.
This is how models look playing the Nintendo Wii
There is no doubting the Wii is intuitive. You raise your arm like you were throwing a ball, imagining a little furry, yellow sphere floating into the air before bringing your hand down to smash it over the net. As if some kind of instinct has taken over, my left handed (the game had to be stopped to set this up) journalist opponent instantly swung his arm round to bat back my serve. I panicked; fortunately my little Mii character did not, charging across the screen positioning himself for a return. Worried I might embarrass the little fella by missing I swung my arm again, hitting a back-hand that Andy Murray would be proud of deep into my opponent's court. He stretched, let out a little yelp of exasperation, before the ball rushed past him leaving me fifteen-love up.
Do we look silly?
No instructions, no tutorial, just jump in and play. It was simple and effective and everyone, including the Nintendo-rep watching us, was chuckling at our efforts. Then we switched and started boxing – a similarly instinctive, though far more tiring game. In this, you had to punch backwards and forwards with both nunchuck and remote, swinging your hands right and left to dodge, moving up and down to duck. Despite each round lasting only a minute the whole process was hugely active, the Nintendo Wii will put paid to Jamie Oliver's plans to go on a crusade about 'Fat kids play games'. The Wii generation will be super fit, super toned athlectic Gods amongst men. Well, maybe not - but at least they won't be fat like this generation.
Within these two games I really began to appreciate the nature of the Wii's appeal. Nintendo want games to become a natural experience, make us jump, make us move and make us have fun. There's something fundamentally amusing about seeing a man of 32 swinging his arms backwards and forwards, hysterically laughing as he makes a cartoon character throw punches - it's the beginning of slapstick gaming. With the Wii, Nintendo want to tap into our physicality, make it fun and make the gaming experience enjoyable for everyone.
And this is how normal people look - not very pretty is it?