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Last Updated: Friday, 8 December 2006, 11:52 GMT
Wii Sports levels playing field
By Darren Waters
Technology editor, BBC News website

Ready, aim, score - if you're lucky
Nintendo says it wants to revolutionise gaming with its Wii console. Gamers can now control the action with a motion sensitive remote control, called the Wiimote - but does the novelty wear off quickly?

Included with every Nintendo Wii is a copy of Wii Sports, comprising five different sporting activities - tennis, baseball, bowling, boxing and golf.

In an age of high-definition gaming with photo-realistic character models and intricately-realised buildings and models, it is a real throwback to put a Wii disk into the machine and see the cute, colourful graphics with crudely drawn figures and decidedly retro look to the interface.

The Wii is certainly no visual powerhouse and the limitations of the images are shown up even further when played on a HD television.

But for the vast majority of gamers with standard definition TVs, the Wii's limitations graphically can be overlooked if the games themselves are fun and involving.

The different sports are a mixed bag of entertainment - all are fun in their own way but some are clearly more involving than others.

Wii gamers

Gone are the days when you would have to learn a series of complex button combinations to pull off that sliced volley, home run or chip shot; instead the Wiimote can be used as a virtual bat or boxing glove.

Gamers are advised to fasten the safety strap to their wrist and it is advice worth following - during hectic sessions the Wiimote can easily slip out of your hand.

And it is worth making sure you have plenty of room in which to play: my wife and I literally came to blows when boxing and I managed to swipe a lamp shade during one frenetic tennis match.

Baseball wii
Format: Nintendo Wii
Graphics: 6
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Enduring appeal: 6
Overall: 7

The sport games are more mini-games than fully-featured titles. There is a disappointingly limited range of options for each sport - just one course for golf, no variation in the bowling or baseball games and only a few rounds of action in the boxing.

The success of the games stands and falls on the ability to truly control the on-screen action with the Wiimote and in this regard the Wii is a mixed success.

There is a learning curve with all new games and control systems but I had the distinct impression that often the action on the screen was only loosely connected to how I used the controller.

For a game bundled with the console, Wii Sports does a great job of introducing people to the concept of using the new controller without ever really pushing the envelope.

Certainly it will prove to be an entertaining party game - and it has the distinction of being the first videogame I have ever managed to persuade my wife to play.

She was impressed with the simplicity of the controller but often frustrated that a swipe of the remote did not always translate into a stunning backhand or long, straight drive.

But she was playing games. And if Nintendo can persuade my wife to play games then winning over the world's non-gamers should be straightforward.

Players trying out the new-look console and its games

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