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This dad had learned from the mistakes of dads-of-yore and had done some planning. A component cable for HD TV connection had been purchased. New batteries were charged and ready. Everything had been plugged in and verified as working before the Christmas wrapping paper had gone on. When the wrapping was ripped off on the big day, the Wii was up and running within minutes.
The parents had gleaned just enough by this stage to know that the first thing we all needed to do was to each create a Mii for ourselves. I was the only one who tried to design a Mii in my likeness. Eldest daughter gave herself much longer hair. Youngest daughter put on full make up and made herself taller than everyone else.
And since then Mii creation has continued to amuse us. We visited a 'famous Mii' website and were inspired by the diverse characters that had been created. We also learned some tricks, such as creating huge eyebrows so offset they poke out the top of the face to resemble a dog's ears or an insect's antennae. To this day, none of us can watch a Mii being created without saying, "I want a turn after you." Interestingly, apart from some minor tweaks, we've stuck with our original Miis we created on that first day.
If it had been up to the kids, this first outing on the Wii would have been spent exclusively designing Miis. But the grown up wanted to check out Wii Sports Resort. Bowling was the game to try, familiar from our earlier Adventure with Wii-Sports but now with groovy Hawaiian shirts.
I was pleased to discover the enhanced spin with the MotionPlus controller. Playing against the kids, it's always nice to have a handicap system, so I decided I wouldn't change the line or angle but instead could only use spin. Eldest daughter was beginning to suspect bowling is a luck fest but felt a lot better after become the first family member to pick up a 'split frame spare' - using the second ball to clear pins separated by a gap), earning a stamp in the process.
Growing up, my Dad was known as something of a bowling champion in our house. He had the trophies and bowling shirts in the attic to prove it. Sadly, we never got to see him play because in the 1980s all the bowling alleys got turned into squash courts - even though there has been a reversal in more recent years.
The Wii was definitely coming with us to Granddad's house that Christmas. I admit that I quite fancied the idea of showing him up at the game. But it wasn't to be: it seems that the Wii has captured the game quite well. After a short time he was coaching us all into getting our split frame spare stamp. To this day I have got no where near the score he set that Christmas. His Mii has less hair and more wrinkles now though, which made me feel a little better.
Archery is the next game we tried and has remained our youngest daughter's favourite sport. The excitement of getting the golden arrow, worth double points, in team play has never gone away. Canoeing was the next to be tried but was quickly dominated by the grown-ups, though the kids were very happy to watch. But when we discovered Island Flyover we had found our first love.
Skipping forward a little, here's the curious thing: we favoured the Wii over the DS because because we wanted to play together but we haven't found a game that everyone is happy to play - not that we've tried too hard. Sports are too competitive and dominated by the adults; even playing in teams doesn't seem to balance things out sufficiently. We tried Carnival Funfair Mini Golf, which worked well with a group of kids only (i.e. visiting friends) but which somehow became frustrating when the grown ups became involved.
I'm coming around to the notion that the kind of games we like on the Wii tend to be single player affairs and, dare I say it, more readily available for the DS. That said, we really enjoy the experience of watching one another play (notably Endless Ocean and Little King's Story) which I'm sure would be the case on a small handheld screen.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: