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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 November 2006, 11:28 GMT
Won over by the world of Wii?
By Rebecca Morelle
BBC News

Playing the Wii
Physical movement is used to control the remote
When I told my brother I was heading to Slough - he was rather jealous.

Not because he had a great desire to see the Brunel bus station, but because I was getting a preview of the Nintendo Wii.

"Why are they sending you - you don't 'do' videogames," he - a dedicated gamer - said over the phone.

"Ah young Daniel," I replied, "that's exactly the point."

The Wii, due out in Europe on 8 December, is being promoted as something any member of the family can pick up - a console that "will introduce new people to the world of videogames".

So, armed with virtually zero gaming knowledge, I headed to Nintendo's offices to see if the Wii could win over a videogame-phobe.

Good-looking

I was led into a special gaming room and set in front of a small box, a screen and given a remote that was hooked around my wrist.

Despite its silly name, the Wii looked good - the console was white and sleek, and, if I was judging purely on appearance, I wouldn't be averse to one sitting in my living room.

But the characters lurching around on the screen looked decidedly peculiar. The game, I was told by Nintendo's Amerie Bagnariol, my patient host, was WarioWare: Smooth Moves and would be a good introduction to the Wii handset.

Instead of pressing buttons or moving a joystick to direct what was going on onscreen, the Wii remote is controlled by physical movement - you can jab it, wave it, wiggle it or twist it about in the air.

Hula humiliation

So move about I did. The completely bizarre game, big in Japan according to Amerie, entailed carrying out mini-tasks, such as high-fiving a puppy, shredding some paper, bursting a balloon, all for reasons I couldn't quite fathom.

And as I stood in the room, holding the remote and desperately hula-hooping, I couldn't help thinking this was more like ritual humiliation than something supposed to be fun.

But still, even if I did look like an idiot, I was getting the hang of the remote - it was a bit weird to handle at first but straightforward enough.

Playing the Wii
One of the games involved hula-hooping

Wii Sports, which is free with the console, came next. Here, I had a go at tennis, 10-pin bowling and golf, miming the swoop of a tennis racket, hurl of a bowling ball and swipe of a club with the remote.

I was doing badly - more down to a lack of sporting ability than because they were hard to play - so I thought I would release my aggression with a spot of boxing.

For this, an additional control, called a "nunchuk", was attached to my left hand, allowing me to jab, hook, block and dodge, until my opponent gave me a hefty clunk to the head and my character fell to the floor.

So much for gaming being a sedentary activity - all of the jumping about was rather tiring.

Doctors and nurses

I also tried my hand at carrying out an operation in Trauma Centre, and gripped the remote like a steering wheel for another title called Excite Truck.

So far, so OK - but I still wasn't convinced gaming was for me.

And then I met Link, in the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

Wii (Nintendo)
The launch date for the Wii in Europe is 8 December

Maybe it was the cute outfit he was wearing, or perhaps it was the fun of using the remote to swipe a sword or ping an arrow, or the fact that there was some kind of narrative to what was going on that made my videogame scepticism lift.

It was definitely the game that required the most skill - using the controller to direct an arrow into an enemy's head needed excellent hand-eye coordination - but, despite this, it was probably one that I'd invest the most time trying to get the hang of.

Converted?

So, has the Wii converted me to the word of gaming?

I'm not sure I am completely won over. Playing the games was fun, and I would like to have another go on Zelda, but I'm not sure I would spend 179 for a console of my own.

However, if my brother were to become a Wii-owner, the next time he suggested a game, rather than turning my nose up, I might just be tempted to pick up the remote...


The Nintendo Wii will go on sale in the US on 19 November, in Japan on 2 December and Australia on 7 December.


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