My Experience as a proud Wii user

We got our Wii on Friday. This was a busy week-end!

First, some background. I have owned and played video games ever since I was twelve or so. My wife has played on the Nintendo first generation machine extensively as a kid too. I have two young boys who are still a bit too young for video games.

In the recent past, I have been a Sega Dreamcast owner. I bought it because my wife didn’t want me to play DOS-era strategy games alone on my laptop. (Some enjoy chess, I prefer turn-based strategy games.) This console offered very good gaming experience. It was underpowered for first-person shooters and had no strategy games. But we had lots of fun playing Resident Evil as a family. I played most of the titles all the way through.

Then, I upgraded to the PlayStation 2. It was a bit of a disappointment. The first-person shooters were ok. The action RPG games on the PS2 were pretty good. There were no strategy games. Resident Evil was still there, but it was no better than it had been on the Dreamcast. In the end, my wife never played much with the PS2, and I gave up on many of the titles.

The Wii is very different. First of all, my wife played way more than I did so far. She just love Wii Sports and she can probably beat me at most games by now. Even the lowly Wii Play got us to play together a bit. In fact, the main difference between the PS2 and the Wii is that I am now back at the “console as a family game machine.” I bought the classical Mario and Zelda for the Wii Virtual Console, and again, my wife enjoyed it quite a bit (nostalgia?).

I also bought Super Mario Paper. So far my experience with the game has been so-so, but I have never been a fan of Mario and I hear it gets more interesting later.

The Wii has good news and weather channels. I think I will actually make good use of those. One very important step I took was to enabled the Web browser on the Wii. It actually works very well. It is a great way to browse the Web as a family.

Technologically, the Wii might be underpowered though I doubt it. Yes, its processor only runs at 729 MHz and it only has 88 MiB of RAM, but the processor of the PS2 ran at 294 MHz and it only had 32 MiB of RAM. So, it has easily twice the power of a PS2 and the Wii does not need to support high definition, which is a good thing because drawing fewer pixels takes less time. My guess is that we will simply see less stunning visuals on the Wii, but I doubt it will matter to Wii owners. And since the Wii is outselling other consoles at least 2-to-1, expect the Wii to have great games soon. Isn’t it what matters?

(I should mention that I expect games to be cheaper-to-make on a Wii.)

The Wii remotes are a breakthrough. I will never be able to go back to standard controllers. In fact, now I am wonder why my mouse does not have the some sensors as the Wii remotes. While not as accurate as a mouse, it gives the impression that it is as accurate.

(Picture source)

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

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