The age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Wii like to party

Nintendo have always been one of my favourite companies and not just because it’s as mad as a bag of hammers. It’s one of the few technological giants that’s still interested in innovation, resisting the inglorious slide into the ‘my processor is bigger than yours’ one-upmanship favoured by its closest rivals. Such sentiments should be applauded in this surface glossed, focus group-addled age and surely the least I could do for my crazy Japanese friends was buy one of their lovely new consoles?

All of which goes some way to explaining why I was queuing up outside Gamestation in Birmingham at 10:30pm yesterday evening, fending off feather-sharp insults from passing drunks and accepting cold pizza from denim mini-skirted girls who clearly wanted to be somewhere else. Yes, the Nintendo Wii was launching at midnight and about 200 of us just couldn’t wait til the morning to buy one. What followed in the next two hours was a spot of wireless, hand-held gaming, some pretty impressive blagging on my part and a live satellite link-up with the Mushroom Kingdom but before we knew it Banners and I were back on the street, console in one hand and complementary Wii merchandise in the other.

And the good news is, it really is a wonder. The motion sensors in the controllers genuinely create a completely new way of playing games that feels amazingly intuitive and suitably divorced from anything that’s come before. Two of our friends had never played computer games but within minutes they were smacking digital tennis balls around with the rest of us. This morning my Mum and Dad both beat me at bowling – they’ve NEVER beaten me at a video game in their lives before.

So it seems the future is well and truly here. The gamepad is dead, long live the Wiimote.

I just wish they’d thought of a better name …


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