Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wii work hard...

So much about the Wii is a waiting game. Those of us who already have Nintendo’s shiny ivory keystone are, quite literally, a-waiting games. Those of you who don’t, well, at least our collective Golden Dawn will come simultaneously – we’ll dance in the street together, like this one really creepy Mario ad I saw in Japan the same weekend Edmonton was tornado-grated. We’ll revel the point when, for example, a perfectly responsive knockout boxing game or subtle sword simulator make us swear off the opposite sex forever. Until, of course, the wave of interactive Japanese sex games hits us – HARD, the all-confusing “third sex”: robots! In the meantime, there may yet be hope for the human race.

For the retail price of just more than its included controller, the pun in the newly-released WiiPlay is possibly unintentional, but speaks volumes. We’ve seen it all before, though not that that’s such a bad thing. Not quite as athletically heart-squeezing as WiiSports, WiiPlay leads us back to a number of long-forgotten arcades and dens - sans bullies - offering up a replay of Pong in Table Tennis, for starters. There’s also a motion-sensitive cover of the old NES Duck Hunt not quite as good as WarioWare’s Can Shooter, plus that Red’s Rumpus Room classic, Laser Hockey, which nods appropriately to neon vector graphics. Unlike a real air hockey game, it’s pretty tough to physically hurt your opponent by shooting a disc into his teeth, sadly.

Yes, it’s true. Wiis don’t actually hurt smart people, no matter what Sony hopes. So seriously, for the love of God, will you people stop droning on about Wii-motes going through TV screens? Anyone who manages to forget to hang on to their controller when swinging their arms around, strap or no, is – let me just calculate some numbers here – yes, a complete fucking idiot. Would you let go of a golf club? A hammer? The neck of a poopy puppy over your Persian rug? Of course you wouldn’t. So shut it, crap mongers. It’s not a funny joke any more.

Back to our pleasant walkthrough, amid the hundred brilliant mini-games in the spring-leggy Wario Ware, including cleaning a cow ass and zipping up the back of a panda, was a proto pool game. I was going to slag WiiPlay’s pool – a simple game of nine-ball with background music only Jimmy Buffet could love – until I realized I’d been playing it for an hour without blinking, even though I really had to go to the bathroom the whole time. Like WiiSports’ bowling, it’s a brilliant way to spend an afternoon, especially if you just got laid off from a major newspaper freaking out about all the free commuter dailies in a non-commuter town that just showed up, owned by and in direct competition with your own paper. What are these idiots thinking?

Ah, but we keep getting distracted. Besides its pool, and certainly not its Where’s Wii-ldo game, battle tanks is the cherry. The closest ancestor is Intellivision’s Triple Action, of all things, just a bunch of tanks trapped amid four Bezerk walls, trying to kill each other. A metaphor for life, really. Hm. Instead of fighting wars in the Middle East, maybe we should all sit down and play the vs. mode of this, then send the vanquished into the most convenient disintegration booth. Of course, some Cpt. Kirk figure would come and disrupt our utopian society and force us to kill for real again. Effin’ space philosophers.

Anyway, for the extra controller alone, WiiPlay is worth it. Now, without passing anything or touching at all, you and the Mrs. can sit side-by-each and answer such questions as “Is there life on Mars?” on the Everybody Votes Wii channel, or just take turns spinning the NASA weather globe, which currently remains the coolest thing about Wii anyway. SPIN, TINY LITTLE PLANET –WHO’S YOUR DADDY? SAY IT! BWA HA HA HA!

BACKBEEP – Air hockey at Red’s – the ‘90s

Despite barely being able to skate, I’m killer at air hockey. The trick to winning it is staring your human opponent in the eye so he looks back at you, kicking off the psychological battle. While he’s looking at you, slip all four of your fingers down over the side, thus extending the width of your nipple-shaped paddle a variable extra inch or so. Like most things in life, your “serve” is the best time to score, usually a rebound off the side wall. But once he starts guarding for that, shoot straight into the net as much as possible, destroying his ego with backwall cracks. Unfortunately, once the enemy realizes you’re cheating (though even show me a rulebook), you’ll probably end up with blood-bruised fingernails. But after the first couple hits you don’t even feel it any more. You don’t even feel anything.

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