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Wii Sports Box Art

Wii Sports

Wii Sports is Nintendo's first pack-in game since it shipped Super Mario Bros. with every NES and Nintendo's software answer to the hardware's goal of all-inclusive gaming. Nintendo wanted a game that was easy to learn regardless of gaming experience. Nintendo did that, and a bit more.


Along with being an introduction to Wii-styled control, Wii Sports serves as an introduction to Miis, Nintendo's way of putting players inside of games, as well as acting as a user's system identity. Players can create numerous Miis and use them in the game as their character. Nintendo went more cartoony and lighthearted with the style, but they transfer perfectly in the game, and Nintendo will almost definitely allow Miis to be inserted in future titles. Miis transferred from friends even show up in games.

Lost behind the armless Miis is a simple, charming backdrop. It is certainly not a representation of Wii's capabilities, but the graphics are clear, crisp and at times very attractive, particularly some of the golf holes. The overall style is approachable, which is what Nintendo wants.


As expected, Wii Sports makes great use of the controller's speaker. All of the racket swings and baseball cracks from the player are heard through the remote, while distant noises are heard through the TV. It's a simple touch, but it's another step towards feeling that the remote really is a racket or a bat. Also, the remote beeps and vibrates to indicate who turn it is. The remaining noises are standard fare for the five sports.


Wii Sports is the most accurately reproduced sports game ever. It doesn't star Roy Jones Jr., Roger Federer or Derek Jeter. It doesn't have real stadiums or photorealistic blades of grass. What it has is the heart of the sports. It takes the essence of each of the five included sports, gets to the core of how they work and recreates the experience in a way other consoles simply can't.

Tennis best demonstrates the remote's ability. Gone are the day's of hitting one button for a lob and another for a standard shot, and once you play it by actually swinging up to hit a lob to coming through a ball to hit a powerful forehand, you will never want to go back. Direction and speed are all controlled by the angle and timing of the remote and it is all extremely close to the normal actions you would make in a real game of tennis. The same goes for hitting in baseball, where the bat moves in real time with the movement of the remote, and players can control whether they pull the ball into the gap or hit a hard grounder the opposite way. The bowling controls are painfully accurate (meaning, I stink in real life and in the game), and the golf swing feels natural. The boxing controls are tougher to master, but moving the remote and Nunchuck in front of your face to guard your face is very engaging.

It all acts to bring players into the game in a way not previously possible. There are no control mistakes -- if a player misses a tennis hit, or sends chip over the green, it is the player's fault. Control tactics are not just about hitting the right buttons, they're about playing the game like a real player. Players can sit back and use small motions if they want, but it's a bit easier to play most of the games while standing, and it's much more fun. The more you let yourself get into it, the more fun you'll have.

The other side of the simplicity is in the game modes, as the stripped down options, particularly in baseball and golf, will limit some of the lasting appeal. Baseball consists only of hitting and limited pitching, but no fielding or base running. In golf, players cannot choose among a full bag of clubs, and there is only one, nine-hole course. All tennis matches must be played as doubles matches, even if in one player games, and players do not control the movement of the players (although you'll quickly forget that fact). The ease of play design led to a lack of options. The 15 mini challenges, however, will provide variety, and most of them are both helpful and entertaining.

The complaint is in part an acknowledgment to the pure fun and accuracy the control provides. The game itself is downright fun, and you'll wish there was more you could do with it. But in a way, this is Nintendo's demonstration to other developers to extend what they've started. It is also, of course, an entry game for new gamers, and the non-gamers I've shown Wii Sports have loved it.


The fun extends with each added player. Four-player tennis is a wild rush of arm swinging, while two-player baseball provides some timing battles between pitchers and hitters. Boxing is naturally fun -- throwing actual punches at a friend can be just what you need. The range on the remotes ensures no personal space invasions. At first glance, it seems to be a shame that this title doesn't support online play, but much of the multiplayer fun comes from being in the same room with all of the flowing kinetic energy.


Nintendo has created the exact game it set out to make, and that's commendable. No, tennis is not as deep as Top Spin and golf is not as deep Tiger Woods. The difference in realism between Wii Sports and the current traditional sports simulations is in the game modes, options and visual style. In terms of control and immersion, Wii Sports destroys the competition and provides an excellent foundation for other developers to build upon. The control accuracy is amazingly realistic and accurate; it's virtual reality without the helmet. It is now the job of EA, 2K Sports and others to create what should now be within their grasps -- a combination of simulator and Wii control to create the most realistic sports games ever.

final score 9.0/10

Staff Avatar Dave Magliano
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"Tiger uppercut!!"

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