The Nintendo Wii is Super-Awesome

07/16/2011 By Shawn Burns

Erin has been kicking my ass at Wii Sports Resort over the last few days. And she’s absolutely exhausted her tota, who has been trying to keep up with a four-year old, to no avail.

We received our Wii almost a year ago, when I agreed to be a Nintendo Brand Ambassador. At first, I was excited about the Wii Fit Plus game, with its balance board, and workout routines that I could do from the comfort of my own video-game-charged-childhood-memories. However, the Wii quickly became more Erin’s thing than her father’s.

Erin loves swinging the controller wildly to smack opponents around in Swordplay, hook bowling balls in from the gutter in Bowling, practice yoga poses, ski jumps, obstacle courses, and skydive maneuvers on the Wii Fit Plus. She is still a little too uncoordinated to do the Snow Ball Fight at all effectively, but she’s a total pro at Rhythm Kung Fu.

We’ve tried out some other games, too, like Mario Sports Mix and Super Mario All-Stars (the classic Super Mario games ported to the Wii). Sports Mix, with hockey, basketball, and volleyball options, is easy enough for her to play a little, and for things to happen on the screen by design or happenstance when she swings the controller around and mashes buttons, but I don’t think they’re really that fun for her yet. Super Mario All-Stars is utterly intriguing to her, and she’s trying to figure out the combination of old-school thumbwork that will carry Princess Peach across a long gorge in a running-jump combination in Super Mario 2. But she’s really kind of terrible at it, which is adorable when combined with her total enthusiasm for it and her “just keep practicing” mantra.

Of all the games we let her play, she wants to play Wii Sports Resort most often, we want her to play Wii Fit Plus most often, and we don’t want her to play Super Mario All-Stars too much (it’s just thumb games, Super Mario Bros 1-3 (and The Lost Levels), with little physical activity and no educational content to make up for that lack; maybe when she’s older).

She’s had a renewed interest in playing games on the Wii over the last few weeks. Until then she was mostly interested in using the Wii to watch shows and movies on Netflix. We canceled our cable television account about five months ago, and part of what made that decision easy for us was that we had the Wii in the living room to access Netflix and YouTube videos for the kids. It is dangerously easy for a four-year old to watch movies on Netflix with the Wii controller. We had to teach her early on how to look for the “Children and Family” row when choosing something to watch; she still checks with us before selecting titles she doesn’t recognize, because she knows we think Batman is “too fighty”.

I haven’t had a gaming system in the house since I was in high school. I have utterly embraced having a Wii around.

My arms are kind of tired now, though.

(As you might imagine, I have a material connection with Nintendo. All opinions above are my own, even though I have every reason in the world to just pass off what a famous brand tells me because they are giving me things. How can you trust me? This is an outrage! You should telegraph Congress about it. You should believe nothing. Except that the Nintendo Wii is indeed super-awesome.)