With the last day of E3 looming already, despite reading our excellent coverage of the rest of the show, and getting to hear what Miyamoto and Sakurai think of the new Nintendo Wii (they think it's brilliant, shockingly) you're probably wondering where on earth our hands-on coverage of the Nintendo Wii first-party titles has been.
Now, do you know when you read journalists go into a several paragraph long rant about how hard E3 is, how tiring it is, how rankly unenjoyable the whole shebang is for them, and you think to yourself, smugly, "What an idiot. He's getting to play the best new games months before anyone else! What is he complaining about?"
Oh yes, I felt the exact same way that you did. Then I spent the last two days entirely in the walled off Wii section, in the most gigantic, unbearably packed room I've ever been in, lining up for hours at a time, and have ended up with a total play time of about 12 minutes of everything there.
Okay, so, I admit, that's a bit of an exaggeration. But I have spent the last two days there, thanks to the divine hand of our lovely editor Kristan (and also because our dearest Tom took one look at the lines and thought 'no way') to give you the best coverage I possibly can. So let's start here.
I know it's not what they intended at all, but hearing the title 'Wii Sports' and seeing the games on offer, which feature wee men, quite similar to those old Fisher Price figures that existed long before that Rescue Heroes malarkey, the name of the console started to make sense. Um, to a Scottish person. But that's beside the point. I've grown rather fond of the name. Or at least used to it. The Wii Sports range, which may or may not come in one package, no one's quite 100 per cent sure yet. It all depends on whether or not these short demos are really all the individual games are, or if they're going to be much deeper in a final form.
The Wii Sports games, I'd like to let you know, probably took the longest for me to get a good feel for, despite their easy pick up and play appeal, because each game was on a separate demo unit, each with a queue that would probably double the amount of people who live in any random small country you can think of. Let's say... Fiji. Which is a lot nicer than where I wished most of them would go. But for some reason, each time I got to the front of the queue, as full of rage and bile that I was, once I got that surprisingly small, can't-quite-tell-if-it's-comfortable-yet controller in my hand, it was honestly like I was a kid again.
Wii Sports: Airplane
Let's take Wii Sports: Airplane as an example. After watching a remarkable number of people clumsily slap their plane into walls and fly it about like it was a brick, I thought to myself, well, the trailer I watched for it during the Nintendo press conference had a kid holding the controller like it was a plane! Let's give that a shot!
And, it is, just like Reggie would scream in your face, exactly like playing with a toy airplane. It's effortless. You just wave the controller, not worrying about where it is compared to the screen or anything (well, as long as you're far enough away from the sensor, which is about three or four feet) and enjoy what is the most pleasant flying experience since Pilotwings 64.
Which this isn't a sequel to, obviously. It's not a Pilotwings, they say, despite featuring a lovely, relaxing island which features small towns to buzz over, and tunnels to barnstorm. And, oh, you know, rings to fly through to get points.
It's not entirely clear how this would fit into the Wii Sports range (or pack) or, despite what they say, if it is even intended to. But as a tech demo for that Pilotwings game they're going to unveil at TGS or something, it's brilliant and I'm gasping for more.
Oh, one word of warning to them, I suppose. After a while your arm does get pretty tired. But then again, this is the case with everything Wii. You have to be prepared for a bit of a work out no matter what title you're picking up to play, and judging by the number of hideous cheese smelling fatties I was surrounded by most of the time it's hopefully going to be popular enough that within a few E3's they'll all either be 300 pounds lighter or have died of a coronary.
This has been given most of the coverage of the Wii games, and that's possibly because the global appeal of Tennis means it's instantly recognizable to anyone, and, you know, you may have heard of that Tennis game... Pong?
This really isn't anything like Pong, though, most notably because you are not given control of the position of your character on the court, removing a great deal of the strategy of the game. Though you may wish that you could rush the net, you are completely incapable to. But, I suppose, in the name of inclusiveness (what about people without arms, Nintendo? EH?) it's kept as simple as possible. We can only hope that they at least take a diplomatic solution like allowing the player to control movement using the Wii's d-pad. Or as I heard one of Nintendo's adorably cluless demonstrators call it, 'the funny plus sign'.
Lack of player location issue aside, there are absolutely no quibbles about the control in this title when it comes to smacking a ball about. The timing seems a little bit earlier than you expect, but when it comes, you absolutely have the option of a softer shot, a hard shot, and, if you are dexterous enough, to add spin to the ball by rotating or twisting the controller in your hand as you play (quite difficult, but isn't that as it should be?) To a beginner, actually, scoring points is remarkably difficult, as you not only need to get your timing down but, essentially, your tennis style. Not being a tennis player (well, I did play Badminton in school I guess, that was fun) I was resoundingly beaten by the CPU, but thanks to my awesome games journo skills I did better than most. I can live with that.