The bundled game serves as an intuitive introduction to the Wii.
Wii Sports contains five simplified versions of sports games, which use Miis as characters. Baseball, bowling, boxing, golf, and tennis comprise the package. Airplane was another demo shown at E3, but that has reportedly been moved to a Wii Motor Sports package. Each game allowed players to choose right or left-handed controls.
At E3 there were some problems with tennis where some large motions wouldn’t register properly and instead reduced gestures had to be used. These problems have been addressed. In fact, while it is possible to figure out ways to “cheat" the control, the games control best when full real-life motions are taken. It’s a lot more fun for spectators as well.
Tennis has been demoed many times and is one of the more fun games to pick up and play. As in the rest of the Wii Sports games, players do not control the running motion of the on-screen players. Running is controlled by the computer and players control only the swinging motion of the racket. Human control by a single player can actually be set to multiple on-screen players at the same time so that a single person can control one or even both sides of a doubles match.
Baseball functions as a home run derby. Players pitch and bat, but do not control basemen. If a ball is caught from a line drive even after touching the ground, the player is still out. After a few swings, it becomes evident that timing is the most important element since up and down position of the bat can be judged more easily by the eyes. Players can choose to bat however well or bad they wish, and their motions will be copied relatively faithfully onto the screen. Lack of swinging will produce a bunt. Pitching is nearly as intuitive, allowing for fast balls and curve balls depending on the flick of a wrist, though it is not performed in real time like batting.
Though it is sometimes hard to imagine the light, rectangular Wii remote as a heavy round bowling ball, that’s exactly what Bowling intends for players to do. First, horizontal starting position within the lane is chosen with the D-pad. Then, the B trigger is pressed to begin the thrown and the remote is motioned as if it were a real bowling ball. Just like in real bowling lanes, you can throw the ball with a fast forward force, a slow spin, or an awful floor-bouncing chuck in the air. I sometimes had a bit of trouble getting the remote to register the proper spin direction, but in general the game was surprisingly similar to real bowling. (Poor) players can even throw the ball backwards into the crowd or into other lanes!
The Boxing demo was limited since it requires both the remote and nunchuck, and the nunchuck wasn’t hooked up when I played. However I was still able to get a feel for how the punches worked. The AI wasn’t yet implemented, so the opponent sat there getting punched, but others told me that Boxing was the best game to see in action when two human players have the chance go at it, since the controls mimic boxing gloves so well.
I’ve never been a huge golf game fan, but swinging and putting in Golf is a lot more fun than just trying to time an arrow moving along a meter, the standard way to play since the 80s. Imagining the remote as a golf club, both large swings and small putts are faithfully reproduced on-screen.
While not deep, Wii Sports will serve as a nice introduction to the Wii since it is packaged with the system. Each game does a good job at reproducing a feeling of actually playing the sport. Add a few more remotes and you’ll have a great party game on your hands.