Last night I attended the Austin Nintendo Wii party- about 20 people were selected, told to call a number and leave our name and phone number, and then contacted back by a Nintendo rep who gave us instructions and a password. On the day of the party everyone recieved a text message detailing where to go, and we were met by a couple of vans and some Nintendo reps who had us surrender our cellphones, show ID, and give our passwords. I took my DS just in case, but no DS-Wii interoperability was being demoed at the party. We were taken to what looked like an artspace with about 5 HDTV's, Wiis, and a multitude of Wii remotes. Blessedly, beer, softdrinks and pizza were also served. We jumped right into the games pretty quickly. The games being demoed were Wii Sports, Zelda: Twilight Princess, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Wario Ware: Smooth Moves, a Marvel comics game, a Madden game, and a racing game (who's name I have unfortunately spaced on, but I'm sure someone here will refresh my memory).
The first game I picked up was Trauma Center, which was a good place to get started using the Wii Remote. I had heard a few reports of people having difficult times with the remote at various demos, but I found it fairly easy to pick up on, using the metaphor of a laser pointer for Trauma center, and then refining that with the general location awareness of Wario Ware and Wii Sports. The demos of some of the games really only allowed a taste of the possibilities and got us accustomed to working with the controller- Trauma Center and Wario only had a brief set of levels, Twilight Princess had one figting tutorial level and a demo of a fishing mini game (the fishing was one of the most impressive interactions I had with the wii, great use of feedback and physical movements, and the camera movements and water looked great). Wii Sports seemed to be the most appealing package- The bowling and tennis games were easy to pick up, simple and very fun. I especially had a good time taking part in a 4 person tennis match, and could definitely see myself playing the tennis and bowling for hours with my drunken friends. The boxing seemed like a good idea, but I couldn't quite get the hang of using the controllers for it. The swordfighting in Zelda also wasn't as precise and reactive as I had hoped, but I've heard that a star wars lightsaber game is in the works that will use the full range of motion for more precise sword movements.
All in all I was very impressed with my first look at the Wii. Nintendo sent us on our way with coupons for free Wii Remotes when we purchase the console. I left a little buzzed, with a slightly sore shoulder from tennis, and a definite feeling I was going to pick a Wii up in November.