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hail HYDRA | by maryann johanson

question of the weekend: What are some really fun Wii games?

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I just bought a Nintendo Wii game console [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.] — my first game console ever, in fact. (Well, we had the first Nintendo console when I was a teenager, but that was eons ago.) I couldn’t resist, because after my first opportunities to play with a Wii over the holidays, I was hooked.

The day after Christmas, I was at my brother Ray’s place. He’s always been a game nut, and now he’s got two little kids who need to constantly amused, so Santa brought everyone a Wii for Christmas. It was a total blast playing with my niece and nephew — who are six and half and three and a half. I was really impressed with how it really was possible to play with very small children and not have to pull back or downgrade your play in order to give the kids a chance to win: the games just sort of even out differences in age and capability so that everyone can have fun. It was pretty awesome seeing my munchkin of a nephew knock out his six-foot-plus father in the boxing game. I was also pretty astonished how much of a workout some of the sports games were: I broke a sweat with the boxing game. Now, I’m not in the best shape I’ve even been in, but I’m not in terrible shape, either, so it was hugely surprising to discover that a video game could feel a little like a workout.
Of course, I’d seen the TV ads for the Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.] — which I also just bought — so I knew that Nintendo certainly believes that a video game can be a workout. And I had the chance to try a Balance Board at my friend Lori’s Wii party last Saturday. This was even more fun. Here was a group of all adults (no kids) but of a wide range in age and physical capabilities, and everyone had a great time. My friend Bonnie’s (bronxbee in comments here) elderly Aunt May, who was all “Oh, I don’t know how to use these things,” totally kicked our asses in bowling.

Really, the Wii is genius in all ways. It’s brilliantly social, allowing groups of people to really play with one another. It’s wonderfully active, getting you off the sofa and moving around a bit. (Okay, sure, it’s not as good as going out for a five-mile run, but it’s a helluva lot better than vegging out on the couch.) It truly is an innovative bit of evolution for electronic entertainment. And as such, even though it’s not movies or TV (though there are some movie-related games), I think I need to write more about the Wii. So I figure a regular weekly post — perhaps a Wii of the Weekend — is in order.

So help me get started: What are some really fun Wii games?

In addition to the sports games that come with the console and the Balance Board, I’ve also already bought:

Wii Sports Resort [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.]
EA Sports Active Personal Trainer [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.]
Super Mario Bros. Wii [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.]
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.]
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Lightsaber Duels [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.]

What else should I be playing, or would you like to hear me write about?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD/QOTW, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)


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  • Brett

    The Godfather: Blackhand Edition – You are a guy who basically is always around when the cool stuff from the first movie happens. Such a fun game (and the motion controls really add to the experience).

    Boom Blox – Great puzzle-ish game.

  • Martin

    That’s a good selection there. I’d recommend a game called Marbles Balance Challenge (at least in the UK, not sure what it’s called in America) and Boom Blox.

  • Todd

    Have to repeat the recommendations for BoomBlox, as it includes some great party games and it makes impressive use of the Wii’s motion controls.

    Depending on your tolerance for Legend of Zelda-style adventure games (not everyone’s cup of tea), Okami is a great game. It has a very nice Japanese watercolor visual style, and a fun mechanic where you bring you use a paint brush to affect things in the world your traveling in (along with more traditional combat). One of the sadly overlooked gems for the system.

    Also, you should absolutely make use of the the various WiiWare and Virtual Console titles that can be downloaded. There is a lot of fun, unique stuff on there that is available for relatively cheap. Some examples to look into are World of Goo and Bit.Trip Beat (both of which have demos available).

  • isobel

    I don’t have a Wii myself but my friend got a bit obsessed playing the Harry Potter game – the fifth one – and it’s great fun, you have to use the Wii remote as your wand and cast spells. . .

  • Keith

    We got our Wii after visiting my sister and playing on theirs. As soon as we got back, we bought a Wii and the Wii Fit (which has since been upgraded to Wii Fit Plus). Wii Fit Plus is about all we do on it. It’s also nice how it tracks your weight.

    We got to play some of Wii Sport Resort over Christmas at my brother’s house. It needs the upgraded controller. Didn’t try too many games, but the ones we did were pretty enjoyable. It’s fun to watch my five and two and a half year old nephews play. The five year old was pretty good at the Wii Sport bowling when he was four, once getting eleven strikes in a row over two games.

    Haven’t played too many other games on it. Mostly a PC gamer myself. I’m sure there are games that can be rented and places where you can buy pre-owned games for less.

  • Kevin

    I’m new to the Wii too. My faves so far are Super Mario Galaxy and Star Wars- The Foce Unleashed. Plus I’ll soon buy NHL 2010 (Canadien fan represent!) for sure.

  • http://bzero.livejournal.com Bzero

    As someone who sucks at console games overall, I finally found Mario Cart fun on the Wii, since my girlfriend bought and let me use the little steering wheel you put your Wiimote into. I’m bad at pushing the right button, but using a steering wheel to control a cart felt much more comfortable, and I had a great time (even tho I still suck! LOL). Plus, with the Internet connection, we could get our asses kicked by people all over the world! Great fun. B)

  • amanohyo

    I’ll second the vote for Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort, especially if you liked the Wii Sports demos that come with the system. My wife has been playing Wii Fit daily for the last 16 months.

    Super Mario Galaxy and Mario Kart Wii are both pretty good as well, and I’ve heard good things about New Super Mario Bros. Wii and De Blob although I haven’t played them yet. If you’re looking for a longer, more traditional gaming experience, Resident Evil 4, Metroid Prime Trilogy, and Okami or Zelda: Twilight Princess are all decent. Boom Blox, Endless Ocean, Zak and Wiki, and Pikmin 2 are also good games if you’re looking for something more relaxing and thoughtful, and most of the Raving Rabbids games are worth a rent.

    If you’re super cheap like me, the best thing to do is to go to your local Gamestop and buy a used copy of the game you’re interested in. You have seven days to return any used game for a full refund. If you end up liking it, you can still return it and buy an even cheaper used copy on eBay or Amazon Marketplace.

  • JoshDM

    1) For games, go to metacritic and sort by score.
    Buy Wii Fit Plus not Wii Fit.
    If you’re into lazy exercise, also get Wii Active from Electronic Arts. It’s on huge discount this week.
    Also there is Wii Sports Resort which comes with a fob to attach to your Wiimote to make it extra sensitive for certain games that support it. It’s a better version of Wii Sports.

    2) You can download games using the Wii Shop.

    3) Goto monoprice.com right now and order the higher resolution cables. Instead of buying them from Nintendo for $20, you can get them with shipping for about $7. Most people don’t even think about it when they buy the Wii, but the higher resolution cables for your widescreen TV are the better choice.

  • Martin

    Yes, I forgot about Endless Ocean, it’s a nice little chill-out game.

    And if it’s mowing down waves of Zombies with clichéd B-movie “grindhouse” characters you want, go with House of the Dead: Overkill.

    Oh, and the Marble rolling game I mentioned, it’s called Marble Saga Kororinpa your side of the pond.

    http://www.amazon.com/Marble-Saga-Kororinpa-Nintendo-Wii/dp/B001KRPU4S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=videogames&qid=1263068029&sr=1-1

  • RyanT

    I have nothing to contribute, but I love love love this QOTW since I just got a Wii also for Christmas and I’m very much looking for games to buy!

  • JoshDM

    I didn’t read the entire post, so I missed your games at the end.

    “Boom Blox” and “Boom Blox 2″ are two of the best Wii games as everyone else has already said.

    For your balance board, “Sean White Snowboarding Road Trip” is a great supplement.

    “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10″ is excellent golf if you have Wii Sports Resort and the Wii Remote Plus Fob.

    Both “Trauma Center” and “Trauma Center 2″ games are good timed puzzle games requiring precision pointing at the screen, so make sure you have that down.

    “Zack and Wiki” is an excellent Mystery Puzzle solver, very kid-toned, but surprisingly good.

    “Super Mario Galaxy” is fun. Just went back to it last week and finally finished the Purple Coins Luigi speed board and got 120 stars and the real ending.

    “Resident Evil 4 – Wii Edition” – the only game I bought twice; I had the GameCube version and wanted to use the Wii controls. Plus the Wii version has all the add-ons left out. Great Horror Game.

    “Metroid Prime Trilogy” is good but only if you like First Person shooters. The 3 games are a bit too similar though the story is epic. Ditto for “The Conduit”.

    “Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess” is great, but while beautiful, it seemed too short to me and too similar to “Zelda: Ocarina of Time”, which you can download for $10 from the Wii Shop. Get “Zelda : Majora’s Mask” if you start to like the 3D Zelda style, as it has a beautiful story that unfolds.

    If you ever wanted to try Grand Theft Auto, “The Godfather : Blackhand Edition” is an excellent Wii-based clone.

    Also, not many know the Wii can play Nintendo GameCube games. The only ones I can recommend offhand that you still might be able to find are:

    Eternal Darkness (BUY THIS GAME. BUY IT AND PLAY IT.)
    Legend of Zelda : Wind Waker.

  • JoshDM

    The cable you need for higher resolution is the “Wii Component Cable” It will not get you HD; the Wii does not do HD, but it will give you 480p.

    Don’t buy overpriced cables, and especially not Monster branded cables. Monoprice.com used to sell them for $7 a cable, but apparently they are either out of stock or unable to sell them anymore. Amazon sells similar for $10.

    http://www.amazon.com/Wii-HD-Pro-Component-Cable-Nintendo/dp/B000M4KIME

  • JoshDM

    Also, if you like Pinball, “Williams Pinball Hall of Fame” is one of the top emulators on the market and comes highly recommended.

  • Martin

    JoshDM wrote:

    Also, not many know the Wii can play Nintendo GameCube games.

    And that you need to buy an extra controller to play them. Either a Wii branded ‘classic’ controller or an old-school Gamecube controller will do.

    And you just reminded me to play Wind Waker again, I loved that game.

  • Cori Ann

    I will second the Mario Kart and Rayman’s Raving Rabbids recommendations. If you find you enjoy the Lego Star Wars games (which are freaking awesome), you should try the Lego Indiana Jones one too (the first one, with the first three movies). That one is oodles of fun.

    If you do end up giving any of the GameCube games a try on your Wii, you might like Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy, it’s one of my favorites–it alternates between a character that’s all hack and slash and one that’s all puzzle solving.

    Hope you enjoy your Wii! Also, aside from the games, have fun making Miis. I am such a nerd that one of the first things I did when we got our Wii was to make Miis for all of the Stargate characters. Also, whenever we have friends or family come over we have them design their own Miis.

  • http://reformamendment.blogspot.com PaulW

    For Christmas I got my nephews the Ghostbusters game.

    I have heard good things about it (I don’t play consoles anymore: having SEGA and Atari constantly discontinue their systems got heartbreaking, and I feared the worst if I went for Playstation…) and as you’re a New Yawker and Gen’Xer it should appeal to ye.

  • http://richardarmitagecentral.co.uk Julie

    We just got a wii for Christmas, too. My kids love Mario Kart Wii and Beatles Rock Band the most. We also like Beatles Rock Band (and a few other Guitar Hero/Rock Band games), Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Star Wars, Raymon’s Raving Rabbids, Super Mario Wii. I also just got the EA Active game, and it’s a pretty good workout!

  • http://twitter.com/countshrimpula Count Shrimpula

    Ooh, good choices to start with. The Super Mario Bros. Wii game is just silly fun with 3-4 people.

    I also highly recommend the Rock Band games. They’re more expensive since you have to buy the instrument peripherals, but split the cost among friends if that’s a concern. It’s worth it, and just ridiculously more fun than it has any right to be.

    Wii fit (and the boxing, as you noted) are good ways to get a workout. If you really want a workout, though, go ahead and grab a Dance Dance Revolution game and mat. It’s fun as hell, and you will absolutely work up a sweat doing it.

    The Cooking Mama games are pretty fun too. It’s kinda silly, you use the wiimote to mimic cooking motions (chopping food, stirring, etc.), but it’s a lot of fun as well. And they’re pretty cheap games.

    Oh, and the Mario Party games are an absolute blast with a group. Mario Party 8 is the most recent one, it’s the one for the Wii.

  • doa766

    I’m way late for this but if I know something is about videogames, the best thing you could do is to play non stop for a couple of days and then return it to the the store put an extra 100 and get a PS3 which is also a blu ray player, the Wii is just a gimmick that wears out incredibly fast

    now having said that, the best games on the system are: super mario galaxy, the legend of zelda: twilight pricess, resident evil 4, super mario kart, muramasa the demon blade, mad world and silent hill: shattered memories

  • Colm Mac

    I need to recommend LostWinds on WiiWare as an example of beautiful platforming and puzzling. One of the few traditional games which just doesn’t work with any other control scheme.

  • amanohyo

    doa766, people (usually self-proclaimed “hardcore” gamers) have been using that gimmick line for more than three years now, and you know what? It’s true. The Wii is an ingenious, novel device used to attract business and attention. Of course many of the games are gimmicky in the negative sense that you’re implying, but the best Wii games can bring together people of different ages and backgrounds like nothing I’ve ever seen.

    I love gaming. When I was young, I desperately wanted to share my hobby with my parents and grandparents, but they were intimidated by a d-pad and two buttons, two buttons. Seeing my parents finally share some of the joy I felt playing games makes me happy. Seeing three generations gaming together makes me happy as a gamer, as someone who loves the medium of games.

    The PS3 is a great value with amazing graphics. It’s an excellent blu-ray player and already has many good games in all the traditional genres, as does the RROD prone 360. However, those systems cannot bring families and gamer/nongamer friends together like the Wii. In fact, their focus on online gaming tends to literally hold families apart. (perhaps the Wand and/or Natal will change that).

    Has the Wii lived up to its full potential? Of course not. Is it my favorite system? Not even close. Has it brought our favorite hobby to millions of people who would never have picked up a Dualshock 3 in a hundred years? Yes it has. Throughout the world, there are millions of families who enjoyed gaming together this Holiday season because of the Wii. Doesn’t that make you happy? Maybe even a little proud of the medium we nurtured and watched grow up? As an added bonus, thanks to the Mii channel, there are more non-white, non-male, and/or non-American video game “characters” on televisions than ever before.

    Read some reviews on Amazon. Do they mostly sound like people who are angry that they were duped into buying a gimmicky system? Relax, the old workhorse genres that we know and love aren’t going to vanish in a puff of smoke because of the Wii. If people try the Wii and enjoy it, why not let them have some fun? If they end up getting bored in a few weeks, so what? Most of us “hardcore” gamers hop from game to game every month like clockwork too, why wouldn’t we expect so-called casual gamers to do the same?

    I know the success of the Wii is scary and confusing for many lifelong gamers with thumbs of steel, but it’s time to face facts. Our secret club isn’t so exclusive anymore. Our favorite indie band has hit it big and “sold out.” As a true fan of gaming, it’s a little disconcerting to see all the girls in the clubhouse, all the seniors at the concert, but ultimately, they’ve come to gaming for the same reasons that we have always come, to share the same joy that we have always felt, and that can only be cause for celebration.

  • http://nintendo.about.com Charles Herold

    I’d recommend De Blob and Deadly Creatures, two brilliant games that didn’t get nearly the attention they deserved. Check out my list of the 8 best wii exclusives of all time: http://nintendo.about.com/od/toppicks/tp/bestwiiexclusives.htm.

    And while it’s available for any platform, I also recommend Beatles Rock Band, which is my all time favorite band game.

  • Roisin

    I strongly recommend Mario Kart..so fun and the WiFi part is such a blast.

  • doa766

    @amanohyo

    the only reason PS3 or 360 can not bring families together is because they don’t advertise it that way like the Wii does

    I have a 360 and PS3 but mostly I use PS3 so I can’t say about 360 but on Sony’s system there’s plenty of games that can be played in family and usually much better than the Wii’s shovelware (non Mario and Zelda games)

    on PS3 you have games like High Stakes Bowling, Flower, Rag Doll Kung Fu, Pain, Little Big Planet and Fat Princess that can appeal to family audiences, with the plus that you have them on a system that can play Blu Ray movies and HD in general which the Wii can’t

    there’s always tons of people who selling Wii consoles online after using them for a couple weeks, which is usually the time that takes you to see how gimmicky and short lasting appeal it has

    that’s why I told MA to take it back to the store while she can unless she wants a 200 dollar dust gatherer after 2 weeks and trade for something useful (even if you’re not gonna play games)

  • Hebbie

    I really like the Excite Trucks and now Excite Bots games. It’s crazy racing, with turbo boosts (eliciting BOOST, BOOST!! from the sofa partners) and lots of airtime. It’s the one game we reach for when we hang out with friends because it’s just so darn fun. You get points for everything, even crashing, or driving close to trees (Tree Run!).

  • Kenny

    I just got a Wii.. I got a black limited edition version which actually goes with the TV and doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb (All the extra bits come in black also… which is nice)

    I definitely second all the suggestions for Mario Kart.. it’s unbelievable good fun, my mother and father ar truly terrible at it, but they just keep plugging away and are at least managing to stay on the track (I can’t imagine my mother playing any other kind of computer games system, apart from her DS, which, perhaps not coincedentally, was also made by Nintendo)

    Secondly, it’ll cost you a bit extra for the motion plus accessory, but I’d recommend Wii Sports Resort… it’s a much improved version of Wii Sports with more games and greater sensitivity in the remote. There is even a sword fighting game which sort of serves as a challenge to lucas arts to release a bloody Star Wars game on the Wii where you can use a lightsaber properly.

  • NorthernStar

    “Just Dance” is a lot of fun if you’re playing with kids and feels like its doing you and them some good.

  • JoshDM

    For downloadables, like others have, I recommend “World of Goo” as your top purchase, then “Zelda : Ocarina of Time”, “Super Mario 64″ and “Zelda : Majora’s Mask”. “Bit Trip” series is excellent too.

    For the Nintendo 64 games listed above (SM64 and Zelda), as stated by others, you’ll need a Classic Controller. I will highly recommend you search high and low (on eBay) for a “Gamecube Wavebird”, which was the highest quality remote game controller for the Game Cube, and is probably the best 1-to-1 replacement for the Classic Controller.

    I own 3 Wavebirds from my prior Gamecube dalliances (Gamecube came with an attached controller and having 4 players at the house was a rarity, so…)

    I can’t speak to Wii Mario Kart, as I’ve played the GameCube version (fun!), and the Nintendo DS version (completely broken! Boo, Snaking!), and I don’t care for artificial intelligences that constantly cheat (using power-ups they don’t have, accelerating unfairly) to beat you. Most racing games do this.

  • JoshDM

    Also, a lot of the Monkey Island series has come out as Wii Ware, and if you haven’t already played them, well, you’re a Princess Bride mega-fan, so you’re actually missing out by not having done so.

  • JoshDM

    Also, by the way, since you seem to enjoy Netflix Streaming and aren’t going to buy an X-Box or PS3 in the foreseeable future:

    Netflix is coming to the Wii

    Granted, the streaming is not going to be HD like the X-Box or PS3, but at least it’s going to your TV.

  • JoshDM

    Reserve your Wii – Netflix disc now.

    Also, you should get those Component Cables I mentioned earlier for Progressive Scan quality video. Especially now, since they’re probably going to be in high demand after today.

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