Wii Sports is one of the best selling games of all time. Can it be a best selling game if it came bundled with every Wii console sold in North America? I am not sure. But a lot of people played this particular game and a lot of people really enjoyed it. I am one of those people. I have been a sports person for a long time, but I don’t really enjoy professional sports. I just like competing with my friends, especially in the form of video games. Wii Sports encouraged everyone and their grandmother to play video games and waggle their wiimotes at the TV – this was an exciting time for gamers, as our passion was thrust into the popular limelight in a positive fashion for once.
Is it hard to pick a favorite sport from the Wii Sports line up? Not really. Everyone can eliminate baseball immediately because it was so confusing to throw the ball and swing the bat… ugh. Boxing was fine, but the controls just boiled down to whoever could shake their hands the fastest. Tennis was probably the best game of the bunch and it was definitely the most iconic. However, the gameplay for tennis left a lot to be desired, especially when you had no real control over your characters. You just had to hope that they would run to the ball in time. Again Tennis would just boil down to waving your wiimote as fast as you could and hope that the racket would connect with the ball. This is how a lot of televisions were broken during the later 2000’s. This also prompted Nintendo to send every Wii owner some free wrist straps that would later become standard. We can also see just how far tennis games have come using motion controls by looking at the soon to be released Mario Tennis Aces, which uses the advanced technology of the Joy-Cons to more accurately represent a tennis racket.
The asynchronistic multiplayer games allowed the medium to really shine. Bowling and Golf were the clear winners for my friends and I. Golf was so much fun, but it really lacked the finesse that the Wii Motion Plus would later bring to the game. Golf matches also took way too long, because you never know when someone was going to triple bogey or worse. Golf was actually a lot more fun to play by yourself because you did not have to wait for anyone else to swing. This gameplay would be implemented into a future Tiger Woods game and along with the Wii Motion Plus would really draw me in to the sport of golf. My dad still plays Wii Sports and Tiger Woods when he is unable to golf in the winter season.
But Bowling was the king of the party. Wii Sports would have been nothing without Bowling. This was the game to play with your friends when they asked to play the Wii gaming console. The gameplay was like a match made in heaven for the technology that was available at the time. All you had to do was swing your arm like you were bowling, it was extremely innovative and really sold us all on the power of motion controls. They just worked. We would later find out that motion controls were not great for more complicated movements like precise sword swinging or even quick lateral movements. But a nice smooth swing just like the motion used for bowling was perfect. I loved putting a little bit of extra spin on the ball and picking up a difficult spare.
I was in high school when the Wii was released and on the weekends my friends and I played Wii Sports. My friend group was a great mix of boys and girls and the Wii was the perfect way to play video games with people who called themselves non-gamers. Gaming has tried so hard to become more accessible over the last few years, but Wii Sports was really the start of this gaming revolution. All people started to realize that gaming was fun and everyone had a Wii Sports machine. I was hopeful that 1, 2 Switch would have some similar appeal but it was not the same. I really liked Wii Sports because of the inclusivity that it encouraged. I would see this again with Nintendo Land and some other casual party games but Wii Sports was something that I could enjoy solo or with a room full of people. Plus we got to spend a lot of time creating unique Mii characters for everyone who played. Great job Nintendo.
Wii Sports also led me to tomorrows game, Mario Party 8.
Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks