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Wii Sports (Wii) artwork

Wii Sports (Wii) review

"Wii Sports isn’t really a game. It’s a tech demo disguised by artwork that makes you think you’re playing five different sports—bowling, tennis, boxing, baseball and golf—but all you’re really doing is swinging your Wii Remote this way or that and convincing yourself that you’re having fun."

Wii Sports isn’t really a game. It’s a tech demo disguised by artwork that makes you think you’re playing five different sports--bowling, tennis, boxing, baseball and golf--but all you’re really doing is swinging your Wii Remote this way or that and convincing yourself that you’re having fun. If you’re like me, though, you’re not.

Each of five diversions has a flaw, sometimes a crippling one and sometimes a minor one that doesn’t get in the way of a good time if you have a house full of visitors and no one plays for more than a few minutes.

Bowling, the best of the lot, is fun at first because you lower the Wii Remote and it feels like you’re actually bowling. The ball rolls quickly or slowly, depending on how aggressive you were with your movements, and the pins fall down in about the manner you’d expect. On the down side, the activity seems to be more about speed than it is careful strategy; if you swoop your controller forward in the proper motion, you’ll knock down all of the pins, or enough that following through with a spare is a breeze. This is a great game for kids, but hardly a perfect simulator.

Tennis fares almost as well as bowling and is the only other title on the disc that you’ll probably try more than a few times. You’re responsible for serving the ball and returning it across the net in the likely event that your rivals manage to fire back. You don’t actually control the players, who dance into position of their own accord and leave you open for disaster if the computer decides you’ve played long enough.

Boxing is the third place contender, with reasonably responsive controls that roughly emulate the art of knocking your opponent’s brains out, only your rivals can take too much damage before toppling to the mat. Delivering a roundhouse punch counters that a bit, but so does repeatedly jabbing your fists forward while clenching both bits of the controller. There’s a nice system for blocking and dodging to the side, which would make for a lot better game if you weren’t out of breath by the time each tedious round ends.

Finally, there are baseball (where you swing the controller like a bat or swipe at the air like you’re pitching, but don’t control fielders or runners) and golf (where you have little or no control over your putting and therefore may spend six or seven turns trying to ease through the ten feet between you and the hole, overshooting nearly every time). Like the rest of the games on the package, they look cute and are accessible for the whole family, but they lack the required depth.

It’s easy to see what Nintendo intended with Wii Sports, but it didn’t work. The graphics are too simple, the ‘gameplay’ too limited. It won’t be long before you forget about the disc altogether and go find a real game instead...

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Staff review by Jason Venter (November 24, 2006)

Jason Venter has been playing games for 30 years, since discovering the Apple IIe version of Mario Bros. in his elementary school days. Now he writes about them, here at HonestGamers and also at other sites that agree to pay him for his words.

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