I got a Wii on Friday evening.
The adventure (it is true that I live a somewhat boring life) starting Thursday night, when Jen (my wife) learned that our local Best Buy would be receiving a shipment of 30-some consoles. She offered to go while I was at work and pick one up.
I drove by on my way to work that morning, and there were two lines extending around both sides of the building. I learned both that the store was also acquiring some PS3s, which explained the second line, and that they had received 39 consoles. The line was at least 60-people strong; the consoles had been claimed.
Somewhat crestfallen and certainly late to work, I stopped for some coffee then continued in to my place of employ. Listlessly, I checked Best Buy's website, saw that inventory was at 0 at every store within 100km, and tried to do some of the things my employer pays me to do.
My wife (have I mentioned awesome?) did not give up so easily, and started searching various online sources. Somewhere in Amazon's listings for the Wii she found someone in Toronto selling one for $800 (all dollar values in this post, like me, are Canadian), a bundle that also included an extra remote and nunchunk and Twilight Princess.
A few emails later she had talked the seller down a few hundred dollars to an price that was still a fair bit above the retail cost for the bundle, but easy enough to rationalize by telling ourselves we were paying other people to stand in long lines over cold nights for us.
My wife's birthday was on Sunday and we were having a party on Saturday and our house, never terribly organized to begin with, was in fairly dire straits after three months of chaos introduced by the birth of our son. We'd started cleaning earlier in the week, but Friday's arrival meant we needed to pick up the pace somewhat, so even though we had the console we had little time to play.
We played Wii Sports for about an hour, and quite enjoyed ourselves. Bowling was an instant favorite. The game itself probably doesn't have very strong legs. We'll get a little bit of enjoyment from it, and as a tech demo it is fantastic, but I think I am not alone in saying that I don't expect it to be in our console all that often after the first couple of weeks.
I also played Zelda for an hour, and so far I am extremely pleased with it. Swordplay controls are overly complicated I think, but I have only just reached the point in the game where I have been introduced to combat, so as I become more familiar I may change my tune.
I am well-pleased with the visuals, as was most everyone who saw the game. Our television is some five years old, maybe even six I have not yet done the math. It is a 27" CRT that is starting to warp slightly, so high definition is not at this point a concern for me, but I can understand how fans of what the 360 has been doing and the PS3's promise would not be so impressed at this point. The graphics are pretty sharp, but they aren't at the level of detail of a Gears of War, say.
The Wii without question 100% proved itself on Saturday. We had people of all ages there curious to play Wii Sports and after a few minutes without exception every single one of them was a competent bowler or baseball player or golfer. Tennis and boxing were not quite as popular with the group, in part I think because they are the two most complex games, they feature direct head-to-head competition and unlike baseball are fairly fast-paced.
Nintendo seems to have nailed what I was hoping for, which probably means their marketing efforts managed my expectations quite well. It is certainly not a perfect device but what flaws exist seem fairly minor so far. I am very much looking forward to getting deeper into Zelda and learning if it can handle typical console fair as well as it does games specifically written for it.
I was surprised with how comfortable it is to use the nunchuck attachment. Both the nunchuck itself and the generous length of cable offered. For me, Nintendo has always had the best controllers, and I am one of those freaks who loves the hell out of the N64 controller (I have even complained about the GameCube controller). The nunchuck to me feels sort of like they too the middle arm of the N64 controller, which is about as complimentary a thing I can say.
Jen and I created a couple of Miis to represent ourselves, and apparently she created a few more yesterday to represent some friends, but beyond that I haven't really explored the Wii Channels to any degree, and don't really know when I'll try the VC games. Other than the original Zelda I don't much care for any of the titles they've made available so far, although I played Donkey Kong in an arcade a few weeks back and just might have to pick it up.
Before recommending that someone who isn't a committed Nintendo fan boy buy the console, I would definitely suggest they try it first. It is a little bit different than what people think of when they think video games, but I can say that my 360-owning PS3-wanting brother-in-law was sold I think possibly from the very second that he picked up the remote.
In terms of launch titles, there are a few that are somewhat compelling, but other than Zelda I think there's a good chance we'll rent before buying any of them. Mario and Zelda are my two favorite series of games, and they typify the genres I enjoy playing as well. For someone with tastes like mine there's not a lot in the current swath of titles that's especially compelling, and to me that suggests that for many, waiting until there are more titles is a better option than overpaying or standing in line.
I do have hopes that Nintendo and the third-party developers will start churning out the games, but in reality it will probably take another year before there's a serious library, just like with most every other console.