Part of the Nintendo Wii’s asking price when it launches in the U.S. will be for Nintendo’s re-instatement of the pack-in game – Wii Sports. At a recent stop of Nintendo’s Fusion Tour, Ken and I were able to test out the tennis portion of the game as well as the Wiimote’s sensor capabilities.
Nintendo allowed two people at a time to sample the sports snippet, although the final game will allow for four players to whack the yellow ball to their hearts’ content. The two teams are simply labeled “blue” and “red” are selected from the team menu, which utilizes the Wiimote’s “point and click” capabilities. Just aim at the position you want to control and press the A button to lock yourself in for the next game.
Once the game starts, players will need plenty of space as hitting the ball requires you to swing the Wiimote just like you would a real tennis racket. To serve the ball, players lift the Wiimote upward to toss the ball into the air and with a downward stroke; the server will smack the ball to the other end of the court.
After the serve, players are controlled automatically by the computer – it’s up to the player to swing and hit the ball. The CPU does a good job of getting your player where it needs to be and only well-timed or very powerful shots will be too far away for your character to reach.
In multiplayer matches, the screen splits vertically with your team’s back to the camera to avoid awkward camera angles. The view also puts all players in the same perspective to set up their swings – when the ball is on your player’s left side, swing to the left to hit the ball and when it’s on the right, swing to your right. Lifting the controller upward on the appropriate side initiates a lob shot.
The power and accuracy of the shot depends on the timing of your swing. If you swing too early or too late, your shot will veer off to the side. By properly timing your swings, you’ll avoid constantly hitting the ball out of bounds and make it harder for your opponent to return the volley.
The demonstration played out much like an exhibition game of Virtua Tennis – traditional tennis scoring of love to 40 in a best-of-three match. While the game play is simplistic, it works and has plenty of charm that should appeal to all types of gamers and non-gamers alike.
Nintendo also featured the bowling, boxing and baseball portions of Wii Sports at the tour. Gamers will be able to experience all of the sports action themselves, including the fifth sport, golf, when the Nintendo Wii launches on Nov. 19.