Our very own Bethany was lucky enough to attend a Wii party, and she has a little…okay, a lot to say about the event! You get to read tons of impressions in the article below. Beth worked her ass of on this, make sure you give it a read!
First off, in case any of you didn’t catch the news posted around the internet a few months ago, Nintendo has been hosting secret parties in various cities across the nation in order to promote the Wii. About two months ago I was performing my regular IRC Operator duties, and I received a private message from a certain special user, Tony. He explained to me that he was the ambassador (or basically, the host) of the Wii Party in Chicago, and because GoNintendo is so darn amazing, he promised me two invites. Oddly enough, I live just about thirty minutes from Chicago, so I was definitely in. The party took place last night, Friday October 13th.
Are We Gonna Make It?
Basically the way this worked was Tony was given thirty invites to the party. He could give them to anyone he wanted, so most of the people he invited were his family and friends, so I felt very fortunate to be able to attend. Anyway, we all had no idea where to meet or where we were going, all Nintendo told us was that the party was in Chicago. In case you aren’t familiar with Chicago, it is a BIG city. Now, Nintendo was supposed to text us with the exact location we were supposed to meet at 4 o’clock yesterday, which was when I planned to leave. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the messages out until 4:40, so I couldn’t leave until then, because without that message, I had no idea where to go. The problem was, we had to be there between 6:00 and 6:30, and if you know Chicago traffic on a Friday, you know that wasn’t about to happen.
Unlike the usual 30-60 minutes it takes for me to get into the city, it took us nearly two hours to get to the place we needed to meet. Luckily, I spoke with Tony and he was able to hold the vans for Lara (my guest) and me.
This Way to the Party!
We hopped out of our car around 6:40 and immediately were asked for Photo ID and our secret passwords that were given to us earlier that day. Then we were waved with one of those metal detector things to make sure we had no cameras or cell phones with us. We were all given a Wii lanyard to wear around our necks. Without delay, Lara and I hopped into a giant white rental van and were on our way to the secret location. The van had three rows, all crammed with people. The windows were blacked out, I guess so we couldn’t tell where we were going, which was kind of pointless, considering we could all see out the front window. We drove around the city for about ten minutes and finally turned down an empty alleyway.
Where the Heck Are We?
We were here. In the middle of an empty Chicago alley. I have to admit, I was a little creeped out. All thirty of us were escorted into a door which led to an empty warehouse. We waited for everyone to come in. Around us were a few large trucks, but nothing “Nintendoish”. Suddenly a guy walked down a set of wooden stairs and said, “Follow me”. So we did, up a set a gross looking wooden stairs, onto a roof, which was parallel to the El train, into another door, down a hallway, and into a room.
The room was very studio-ish, wood floors and white walls. To our left was an empty table and a couple buckets of drinks, but two our right now that was where the fun was at. There were six flat screen televisions all set up with Wii consoles. Around each TV were two black comfy benches, and red shag carpet below. On the walls were various Nintendo themed pieces of art work, and around us were little Mario blocks scattered across the room. It was nice, it really set the mood. Two of the TV’s had Wii Sports, one had Zelda: Twilight Princess, one had Excite Truck, one had Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, and one had Wario Ware: Smooth Moves.
Get to the Games Already!
Of course, as soon as I walked in everybody rushed to Zelda and Wii Sports. I don’t like waiting, so I started with the only open console which was Marvel Ultimate Alliance. We had three hours to play all the games we wanted, eat some delicious Chicago Style deep dish pizza, grab a few drinks and chill with Nintendo fans.
First Impression: The Wiimote:
When I first held the Wii controller my first though was “Damn, this thing is tiny!” It really is! I knew it was supposed to be small, but I was thinking like a small remote for your TV, but it was much smaller than I expected. It was very lightweight, but still substantial at the same time. The nun chuck was also very light and easy to hold. The chord between the remote and the nun chuck was just the right length. I was able to make large motions with out a problem.
GAME IMPRESSIONS, In the Order I Played Them:
Marvel Ultimate Alliance:
To be honest, I hadn’t really heard much about this game before I played it, I knew the name, that was about it (so this impression comes with no previous knowledge about the title). Here’s how it works: You are one of four Marvel characters, which you can change back and forth using the up button on the controller’s numpad. Shaking the controller will make your character attack, and you use the analog stick on the nun chuck to move. The camera on the game is set above you, which is a little odd. Because you have three other people in your party at all times, it was a little difficult to see who my ally was and who I was supposed to be attacking. The gist of the game, from what I played, is just to run around and break/kill stuff. The game kept telling me how to do all these complicated attacks, by swinging this, pressing this, holding this, wiggling that…it was a little confusing to me. I tried each of the available characters on the demo which were Spiderman, Captain America, Wolverine, and…umm…some dude I didn’t know. All four characters seemed to play about the same. I was able to complete the level just by running around and slashing stuff. It was an okay game I guess, but I was eager to move on to another title.
First I chose the specifications for my race. I chose to race in Mexico, with a pink truck of course. As you would guess, you hold the controller like a steering wheel to play this game. “3…2…1…GO!” The race had begun, but I wasn’t moving. I held the 1 Button…nothing. The 2 Button…my engines were running, yay. These trucks are fast, and I mean FAST. It was a little difficult to even see and concentrate on the things around me I was going so fast. I had a hard time controlling my truck. The controls themselves where very sensitive, every twist of the controller sent the car turning at strange angles. Eventually though, I got used to it. Even after my late start, I got second place, and the Nintendo Rep gave me a high five.
WarioWare: Smooth Moves
First off, I LOVE Warioware. I have both the GBA games, the DS one, and the GameCube version. I find the mini games to be so addicting, and nothing but fun. It’s definitely one of my favorite Nintendo franchises. I was so excited to play this game, and believe me it is f-u-n. If you’re not familiar with the franchise, WarioWare is basically a large collection of quirky mini-games you need to achieve at fast speeds. In the Wii version, the game designers have you holding the Wii remote in all sorts of different ways. Before each mini-game, there is a image that pops up on the screen explaining how to hold the controller. Now this isn’t Mario Party, you don’t get a detailed set of instructions that you read through at your own speed and continue when you wish. There’s simply a box that pops up and says “Umbrella!” or “Chauffer!” and you must perform the task at lighting speed. Like all other WarioWare games, this was just straight fun. You can’t help but smile and laugh and you hold the controller at your hips and pretend to hula hoop. Each mini-game was different in its own way, and the different ways to hold the controller adds a new dimension to the fun.
I’m going to sum this up for you: Wii Sports is awesome. Nintendo could not have chosen a better game to include with their new system. Each game was so simple, which was a break after trying to figure out complex combos in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. First, I tried Tennis with three other people, we played doubles. All you need to do is swing the controller when the ball comes towards your player. Although it sounds too simple, you forget because you’re having so much fun. Lara and I tried Wii Bowling next. It was pretty realistic. Just swing the controller back as you would a normal bowling ball, hold the B button and swing forward. Like tennis, it’s simple, and easy for anyone to pick up. We also tried boxing, which was a blast. The camera angle in which you’re placed at is cool, it reminded me of boxing on TV. The controller and nun chuck represented your two hands, in which you moved back and forth to dodge and throw punches. I didn’t get a chance to play baseball or golf, but I watched a lot of other people play, and they seemed to pick up the controls very quickly and they all seemed to have a great time playing.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
There were two options given when I began this demo: “Dungeon” or “Fishing”. I thought Dungeon sounded a tad more exciting so I started with that. The demo began with a greeting from Midna, who explained a little bit how to play, what to do etc. Swing the controller and Link takes out his sword, which is easy. Use the nun chuck analog stick to move, and swing it to do a spin attack. This all seemed fine and dandy; I was killing enemies, solving a few puzzles, until I was asked to use my bow and arrow. This was very problematic. You are able to lock on an enemy when you use your sword, but not your arrows! There were enemies far away that I needed to hit, shooting flaming things at me, all while I was struggling to get the cursor on the screen and point directly where they were. The controls for the arrows and boomerang were just not right. It took way to much time for me to figure them out, so eventually, I just decided to leave the enemies and keep going. Don’t take me wrong, I really enjoyed the game, I just found the controls to be very frustrating in some places. I just hope this is all worked out before launch. Moving back to the game, it reminded me most of Wind Waker, except with a more mature art style. The demo had you using all sorts of classic Zelda items: arrows, your boomerang, iron boots, potions, fairies, the whole nine yards. As far as the fishing demo goes, yes, I did play it, but I didn’t really understand the point. All you did was row around in a boat and try to catch fish, which was near impossible. The whole three hours I was at the party, I saw one fish caught. Nonetheless, the dungeon demo was classic Zelda, everything about it.
The Nintendo Reps changed some of the games around. WarioWare became Elebits, Excite Truck was switched to Madden 07, and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance was changed to Trauma Center: Second Opinion.
Here’s the lowdown. This game is set in a first person view. You are holding a gravity gun, or simply put a huge laser that can pick stuff up. At the beginning of the demo you are in a kitchen and then move into a yard outside the house. Things around you, toasters, cabinets, pots, pans etc. can be manipulated with your gravity gun. When you pick up or move certain objects little creatures called Elebits pop out. If you zap them you are rewarded with volts of electricity. The more Elebits you collect, the more objects you can maneuver. The object of each level is to get a certain voltage of electricity, for example in the demo I played I needed to get 1700 volts in a set amount of time. The same way in Zelda, it was a little difficult to get the game to do what I wanted. The controls were just a tad buggy. I’m sure it will all get worked out. It’s a very simple concept, but it was a lot of fun for me.
Trauma Center: Second Opinion
If you loved Trauma Center for the DS, this is a game for you. It’s essentially the same game, except instead using a stylus on the touch screen; you’re using the Wiimote in the air. The surgery I preformed involved removing stomach tumors. It was fun, the controls were great. As I stated it is almost nearly the same as the DS title.
Madden NFL 07:
Football fans, rejoice! Everybody else…hang back. This game is just like other Madden games, so if that’s your thing you probably will like the Wii version of this game. This time though, you’ve got the Wii controller. You are able to flick and swing your way to victory. I’m not a huge football girl, so I didn’t spend much time with this title.
Game Switch and a Bonus!
The Nintendo Reps switch Elebits with Tony Hawk: Downhill Jam. They began handing out little Wiimote key chains to all the people there. On each there was a coupon, so if we buy a Wii, we’ll get another free controller. Good deal!
Tony Hawk: Downhill Jam:
This game, like Excite Truck, has you holding the Wiimote like a steering wheel. It’s not like a traditionally Tony Hawk game though, it’s more like SSX. Instead of going around a skate park, trying to achieve goals or get a set amount of points, you are racing down a giant hill, doing tricks along the way. There are many characters to choose from in this game, which is always a plus. The controls were actually a little more precise than Excite Truck. It was a very enjoyable game, which I didn’t expect. There are many places on the track to pull off the classic Tony Hawk tricks we all love. If you are a fan of SSX, you should definitely take a look at this title.
I liked the Wii, it was fun, but I wasn’t blown away like I wanted to be. Many games like WarioWare and Wii Sports were a blast, but when you find yourself more frusterated than having fun with other games, it’s hard to truly love everything about a system.Come launch day, I’m sure all the little bugs will be worked out and we’ll be able to see this thing at its full potential. After three hours of playing some awesome games, eating pizza and chilling with some cool people, we were loaded back into the vans and headed back to the parking lot.
If you actually read all that, or any of it, thanks! And PLEASE leave some feedback not only on what you think about the games, but on my writing in general, there’s always room to improve! If you have any specific questions about the event or anything else feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org