Wii Drives Mii Nuts.
January 2, 2010 3:08 PM   Subscribe

We got the Wii. Now what's a game that *I'll* like?

A while back, I asked this question about getting a Wii. And then Santa brought it! (Funny how that works out!) My 50-something husband and 6.5-year-old son are in high heaven. Their top games so far are Lego Star Wars, Mario Kart and Mario Brothers.

But I can't stand those. I get that the Star Wars game is a long, saga-style project so it's not an easy drop-in-drop-out game for me. I thought I'd enjoy the Mario Brothers or the Mario Kart, but it turns out that these following details matter:
1: I'm not very coordinated using the controls.
2: I get annoyed when the other game player(s) are very competitive.
3: I don't enjoy the sense of not being (fairly easily) able to do it, and losing all the time. For instance, in one portion of the Mario Kart game, I came in last and scored zero points.

Then we popped in a dancing game and voila -- FUN FUN FUN for the whole family, literally. Yes, we were competing. Yes, I lost (most of the time). But that was overcome by the sheer amount of laughter and amusement that we were all experiencing -- the dancers, the observers, everyone.

So what are some other Wii games that I will enjoy?

One other thing -- we have not had a chance yet to explore the sports-related games that came with the console. I believe it's the Wii Play set.
posted by BlahLaLa to Computers & Internet (34 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
The sports game that came with the console is "Wii Sports". You'll love it. Bowling is the best game, and often is enough to convince friends that they need their own console.
posted by trialex at 3:13 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't care what the reviews say, Go Play Lumberjacks is as much fun as a barrel of monkeys.
posted by mr. remy at 3:17 PM on January 2, 2010

Unfortunately my recommendations are going to require more cash, but you may like either Rock Band (you work cooperatively as a band, and if you really can't manage an instrument then you can be the singer) or Wii Fit (exercise focused, but there are games like ski jumping and hula hoops - this one is a solo game, though).
posted by cabingirl at 3:25 PM on January 2, 2010

Wii sports, and actually, wii fit. But definitely give wii sports a try. My favorite is the tennis, both because I am so bad at it and also because it is quite fun to trash-talk each other when you're represented by the little miis, but most folks think the bowling is the best.

I also think you need to give mario kart a little more time. Once you get used to the controls to the point where it's fairly automatic what you need to do to make things happen the way you want, it becomes much more fun. And there's a random element to the game that allows less skilled players to beat even the most amazing player once in a while. It is very possible, also, that you were playing with a bad combination of character, vehicle, and control-scheme. There are ways to handicap a good player with a bad combo and give a beginner a more fun game with optimum choice, depending on how they overcompensate for lack of skill. For instance, playing as Bowser is much more difficult to handle than playing as Toad, and certain vehicles give you faster speeds on certain rough terrain while other vehicles give you less handling but go faster overall. Depending on what you're bad or good at, you can choose something that fits you and makes the game fun for you.
posted by Mizu at 3:29 PM on January 2, 2010

Animal Crossing: City Folk. I've got many of the same hangups as you about competitiveness and losing at games (and I suck at most FPS and games like that), and I've put probably more than 300 hours into all three versions of the Animal Crossing series combined. It is single player, but highly social - you will spend hours befriending your townsanimals and socializing with them - to the point you almost forget they aren't people. Its also very friendly for spending an hour here and there playing, rather than 6+ hour game fests.

I might also recommend the WarioWare games, which are pretty much designed to make everyone feel like an incompetent uncoordinated idiot.
posted by strixus at 3:29 PM on January 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Boom Blox basically consists of you aiming and throwing little blocks at the screen, it's a pretty fun game and doesn't take much in terms of coordination. Also, it's very light-hearted and difficult for competitive players to monopolize and make the game a chore. I think it's pretty approachable too, so you should be able to succeed fairly easily.

Wii Sports is another good recommendation that I saw above; the controls on those games are extremely simple (like for tennis, you just swing the controller, no other controls needed except pressing one button when it's your turn to serve) and although score is kept, they're pretty basic games.
posted by DMan at 3:31 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, also: On Mario Kart, try doing multiplayer, and play as a team instead of individually. You can all work together along with a few computer players, against a team of computer players. It puts you together with the competitive people rather than against them.

My parents both started playing Mario Kart after I got my Wii, and although it took them a while to get up to speed (har har) they're both pretty good now, and actually bought their own Wii. They play it almost every night now, and recently got Mario Bros. and love that one too. So it just takes a little time to get better at the controls, and if you're patient and remind yourself that you can learn it, you'll get better very quickly.
posted by DMan at 3:33 PM on January 2, 2010

I recommend Wii Sports Resort. It's similar to Wii Sports, but has more options like archery, table tennis and, of course, bowling. My family got it for Christmas this year and it's been a huge hit for everyone, including my 70+ year old grandfather. It's still competitive, but also really silly which takes the edge off losing (I would know). And the controls are pretty simple for the most part and not too complicated. Unlike, say, NHL 2K10, which I do not recommend in this case. Wii Sports Resort also comes with the motion plus attachment, which makes it more sensitive to your movements.
posted by Shesthefastest at 3:37 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

It just takes practice. They have probably spent much more time playing video games than you. Find some time to play Mario Kart when you're alone. You'll play respectably enough in no time. (Like Mizu said, some vehicles are harder to control than others. Just pick the standard vehicle, it's the most stable. ) I have never been much of a gamer but I have a lot of fun with the wii.
posted by itsamonkeytree at 3:40 PM on January 2, 2010

Another recommendation for Animal Crossing: City Folk. My mom loves that game, and it's somewhat multiplayer. You can also have your husband and son create their own characters in your town, and you can go at your own pace.
posted by QueenHawkeye at 3:44 PM on January 2, 2010

Animal Crossing is probably the best choice.

Wii Fit

Wii Sports Resort

Pikmin 2

Tetris Party (lots of types of Tetris, one of which will surely appeal to you)

Dance Dance Revolution

World of Goo is a superb WiiWare game (you download it using the Wii). It has co-operative multiplayer, so no competition.


If one of your family enjoys playing Super Mario Galaxy (it's one of the greatest ever), you can be a co-operative second player. It just involves shooting the screen - very easy and no pressure.

Here is a list of co-operative multiplayer games.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:44 PM on January 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Zack and Wiki
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:45 PM on January 2, 2010

Cooking Mama?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:46 PM on January 2, 2010

I get bored and frustrated with video games VERY easily, but I really enjoyed Mario Galaxy. My boyfriend said he had as much fun watching me play it as he had actually playing it. It's relatively easy but you still feel good when you figure out how to "beat" a level. It gets progressively more difficult (there was one level I had to pass of to the BF and even he had some trouble) but overall it's a ton of fun.

As others above have suggested, the Wii Sports are a lot of fun. There's also a Wii Sports supplement you can get (I forget what it's called--maybe someone else can help me out) where there's a wider variety of games, like flying in a chicken suit (you literally flap your arms!), hula hooping, snow skiing, and lots of other fun stuff.

Oh, actually, I think I'm talking about the Wii Sports Resort that Shesthefastest suggested.
posted by a.steele at 3:47 PM on January 2, 2010

Is it Mario Galaxy you have? That one seems to simply tutor you thru everything, and your coordination and skill improve as you go. (I have that one and am beating levels I never dreamed were possible with my previously uncoordinated self.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:47 PM on January 2, 2010

a.steele, you are actually talking about Wii Fit, which is a solo game/fitness & balance assistant, but you make individual profiles for each family member and you can take turns seeing who gets the best score at particular activities.
posted by Mizu at 3:55 PM on January 2, 2010

Also in Super Mario Galaxy, you can have a second person along for the ride - they can collect and shoot star bits, primarily, but we also found that the second player can 'pause' enemies and help the first person jump. It's been a lot of fun for my husband and I, as I'm the platformer and he doesn't really care for controlling it himself, but he LOVES being my wingman/turret.

Another tip about MarioKart - if you do multiplayer, there's a 'rules' button in the top right that you can customize the rules on. If you change the powerups from normal to 'strategic', there are a lot fewer of the really destructive ones (more bananas, mushrooms, and green shells).

As for other games, We Ski is good for one or more people. Individuals get ranked on each course, and it's especially fun if you have the balance board. It's not really like actual skiing.

We've also really enjoyed the Wii Sports Resort that comes with the Motion Plus add-ons. There are a lot of cooperative and competitive games in there, like cooperative boat-rowing. Each game is quick and easy so it's good for casual gaming.

Endless Ocean is another game I always recommend for non-competitive Wii players. It's a game where you explore the ocean - it can sound boring but it's both educational and gorgeous.
posted by bookdragoness at 4:09 PM on January 2, 2010

Love love love World of Goo, and I am not a big fan of sports or shooters. More of a puzzle than a game, it's a physics simulation where you figure out how to build structures out of animated gooballs. Each level poses a new design to figure out, and gives you varieties of gooballs with different characteristics.
posted by mneekadon at 6:00 PM on January 2, 2010

Mario Party 8 is really fun, it's like a board game, but with mini games.
posted by pyro979 at 6:01 PM on January 2, 2010

Seconding Mario Galaxy. It's a lot of fun, is strictly cooperative as multiplayer and works you through from easy to more difficult control issues.

My wife enjoys Da Blob (available used and cheap many places). A different sort of platformer that is single player.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 6:15 PM on January 2, 2010

Mario Party 8 might by a good choice - it's a cleverly animated board game, with a simple, fun skill challenges between turns. It's simple enough for kids, but involved enough for adults.
posted by GJSchaller at 6:15 PM on January 2, 2010

I highly, highly recommend Samba de Amigo. I fucking love this game, and it's not difficult at all. Plus, it's shiny, colorful and full of upbeat music!
posted by InsanePenguin at 6:37 PM on January 2, 2010

I recommend WarioWare.
posted by danb at 6:52 PM on January 2, 2010

Big Brain Academy.
posted by minimii at 8:00 PM on January 2, 2010

The Wii Resort has archery and bowling, and the Wii Sports has a few good games as well.

I'm as coordinated as a rhino on a tightrope, but I have been able to well enough with those 2 game discs.

I also got Raving Rabbids. HILARIOUS characters, and fairly simple to learn how the controllers work.

I got the WiiFit, and it's not hard to use, and your whole body gets involved. Hula hoops are fun!

Continue with the dancing, those games are fun!
posted by Jinx of the 2nd Law at 8:40 PM on January 2, 2010

At the risk of second-guessing you, in my experience Lego Star Wars seems to be explicitly designed for drop-in/drop-out play. If you enjoyed the core play mechanic at all, but felt disconnected from the larger "story," try revisiting it with the understanding that there isn't really any "story" to connect with in the first place.
posted by Lazlo at 8:50 PM on January 2, 2010

nthing Super Mario Galaxy, I wasn't all that into learning how to do everything but I LOVED collecting the star bits and shooting them at bad guys, very little skills involved (if you can wave the wand across the screen while holding one button you've got the necessary skills) but it was super fun for me.

I also greatly enjoyed being the designated error item controller in Mario Baseball, it means switching the controllers back and forth so that I didn't have to bat or play outfield but I got to shoot things at the other team, it made me happy.

Rock Band was fun and similar to the dancing games, you should probably try being the bass guitar or the singer. I enjoyed drumming but from your description of playing the dancing games and not being awesome at them the drums might be a little hard.

FWIW I didn't really enjoy the lego star wars or indiana jones and I really REALLY wanted to enjoy them so I tried but it didn't happen so don't worry if you don't like them.
posted by magnetsphere at 10:16 PM on January 2, 2010

I have shockingly bad hand-eye co-ordination and I suck at nearly every game ever invented... except for Boom Blox. I love it ! I will play it for hours and it's a great game for groups.
posted by indienial at 11:14 PM on January 2, 2010

I love the rhythm & fitness games!

Played Mario Kart for a while but got frustrated being unable to get good enough to unlock all of the characters & vehicles so lost interest with it at that point. However, it's an absolute blast playing online with friends. By that I mean people you are actually acquainted with rather than just random players the game hooks you up with. That's fun too, but playing with people you know adds another layer of enjoyment. There's a few of us Mefites that used to organise games over IRC on the weekends & that was brilliant fun.

I love Wii Fit & Wii Fit Plus, EA Sports Active, DDR Hottest Party 1. DDR Hottest Party 2 I love a bit less as I prefer the songs in 1. I've been told DDR 3 is great.

I also love Samba Di Amigo, a wii version of the rhythm game where you dance about shaking maracas. I love love love this, the music is all latin salsa style, including a few pop songs. You can even get maraca holders to but the wiimotes in. You can have 2 people playing multiplayer or play on your own.

Helix is great WiiWare rhythm game available I HATE techno music, but I love playing Helix and I really enjoy the music it uses.
posted by goshling at 11:38 PM on January 2, 2010

Oh yeah, the flying chicken game is part of Wii Fit Plus. Wii Fit has been out a while & came with the Balance Board. Wii Fit Plus was released last year and includes all of the content from the original Wii Fit PLUS some new games and features. Wii Fit Plus is available on it's own as an upgrade for people who already have the Balance Board or you can buy it with a Balance Board.

It is mostly a single player game, but the Plus version allows faster player swapping so you can take turns playing certain parts of it. My 15yo daughter & I will sit & watch each other play just cos it's so funny watching someone do the chicken flapping game or the obstacle course, etc. I know someone who would play the penguin sliding game and her kids would stand around her and do the motions along with her as if they were playing.
posted by goshling at 11:48 PM on January 2, 2010

Get your kids to teach you instead of just competing against you.
posted by theora55 at 12:42 AM on January 3, 2010

Have you tried playing Mario Kart with the steering wheel thing? (you put the remote in a plastic wheel and steer it like a car). My gf has trouble operating an analogue stick but no trouble using the wheel.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:46 AM on January 3, 2010

Thanks for all the suggestions. I will slowly start trying many of these. I did, as some posters suggested, spend some alone time with the Wii last night, playing Mario Kart. And I actually had a little bit of fun! Thanks to all.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:36 AM on January 3, 2010

Someone on LJ just asked about this last night, and then another friend did too. Here's what I said then (warning: long and rambly):

I say this to everyone who'll listen to be blabber on--you should shell out the 7 or 10 bucks or whatever and get a GameCube controller too. The GC has a fantastic back catalog of games; it's totally worth it. I am right there with you about City Folk; I have barely played it at all and doubt I ever will honestly because it's just rehash, expanded rehash...BUT I maintain that the US original version of the franchise, the GameCube one, is by far the most charming. It has holidays--granted, they brought them back for City Folk, but it's just not the same!--and the look is somehow just so much cuter to me. And the music! The music is about a billion times better than the WW/CF music. Granted, the game is much much simpler/pared down, and the dialogue isn't as witty as in WW. But the characters are in my opinion sometimes much better (if you get Rhoda the chicken I'll be jealous; she was my favorite character of the entire franchise besides Pudge, but she moved away...) and the seasons are much better and just...g'ah. Just has this charm and atmosphere the other two can't match.

Other awesome GameCube games: Luigi's Mansion (you're in this haunted mansion sucking up ghosts with a vacuum cleaner!), Eternal Darkness (kind of like Resident Evil, but what was awesome about it and sort of preceded Silent Hill: Shattered Memories which is getting so much buzz right now is that you have an "insanity meter" and as you continue to fight demons and zombies it goes up and depending on how you play the game begins to act bizarrely to mimic your hindered perceptions...bugs on the screen, flickering, seeming screen errors, etc.), Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (has lots of wry little KoL-like jokes), Super Mario Sunshine which is similar to Luigi's Mansion (instead of sucking up enemies you have this ghostbusters-like hose you spray them with), Simpsons Hit and Run (one of the best games ever!! This might sound off-putting, but it's like Grand Theft Auto lite, but way more charming and less cringe-inducing...so good)...the two best Zelda games of the entire franchise are Ocarina of Time and (especially if you're new to games and don't like them too fighty/intimidating) Windwaker; both are on the GameCube. Ohoh!--Namco Museum for the GameCube includes Pac-Man Vs. which is by far my favorite Pac-Man game and possibly my favorite group game ever--one person gets to be Pac-Man and the other 2 or 3 are the ghosts, so you're avoiding and chasing each other all over the maze. So fun. They did it for the DS too, but the controls are wonky and it's not nearly as much fun. People seem to like Metroid, but I can't vouch for it personally...oh, and Pikmin and Chibi-Robo...

I can't remember but I think you might be able to also get the old Sega Genesis comps for the GC, not just the PS2. Which means the joy of playing Sonic the Hedgehog...

To be perfectly frank the Wii was worth it to me as a clueless person who missed out on the GC-PS2 generation of games, just for that backwards compatibility. I hate to say it but I have yet to find a single Wii game I like as much as the wealth of GC games I've played ON the Wii, and for pretty much all of the franchises that had games on both I'm finding I prefer the GC version! That said, Super Mario Galaxy is pretty great, and if you've never played Okami (on the PS2, which is the version I prefer) you really ought to for the Wii. I hear they're making a DS version (! finally, gosh...it's perfect for it; you draw on the screen so...) in Japan this year but it'll be a while before it comes out here. You're a wolf spirit freeing other ancient spirits in a beautiful landscape by learning the art of calligraphy and brush strokes etc., so you "battle" and unlock things by drawing on the screen. It was really innovative at the time, and the graphics are beautiful to boot (though I still think the PS2 one looks better than the Wii one for some reason).

If you like to be scared a la Resident Evil, the new Silent Hill that just came out sounds AMAZING. You begin the game by answering a series of psychological questions, and the game changes based on its assessment of your personality. But not only that, the game continues to change simply by analyzing how you play it in real time as well. It's also perfectly designed atmosphere-wise--the graphics are amazing, the soundtrack is perfectly creepy as the franchise is known for, and it really is unsettling. This version you even have an iPhone which acts as your toolbox--you get "calls" from demons and ghosts and hold the wiimote up to your ear to hear them, you have a GPS as your map system in the game, a way to write notes on your phone, etc. So well designed! BUT I also heard the controls are difficult to master, which I hate hearing because I saw a friend play it this week and it really is incredible to watch.

A Boy and His Blob has similar frustrating things--it looks amazing too, like you're in a Miyazaki movie, the animation is that charming and lovely. And I love sandbox-y problem-solving games like it (it's similar to Scribblenauts; you have to get from point a to point b and reach treasure chests in implausible situations by figuring out how to use your blob's amorphous-toolbox-capabilities just-so, turning him into a trampoline here, an anvil there, etc.). But the controls are apparently pretty wonky. I did hear you can use the classic controller instead of the wiimote; maybe that solves it...I hope so, because I'd like to get it at some point but I'm notoriously bad with controls as it is, so...

Punch Out seems awesomely well made, and it isn't even my kinda thing.

Elebits maybe...

Wario Land: Shake It! just came down over half by price (it's like 20 bucks now, was 50). It's fun and funny.

deBlob, Boom Blox (the new one is multi-player-friendly apparently), and Rampage are fun too.

If you liked Cooking Mama on the DS, they have versions for the Wii. Ditto Puzzle Quest and Geometry Wars, though admittedly those seem much better suited to the DS than the big screen.

I also recommend the following WiiWare:

-Bit Trip Beat (try the free demo first if you like...it's like Pong if Pong was designed today, with lots of really awesome surprises the further you go)
-all of ArtStyle's puzzle games. They are amazing and look beautiful. They're the only reason I want a DSi--I loooove puzzle games made so well, designed so elegantly and sparely but just...well!
-Bit Boy (maybe only fun if you like the in-joke of going through the history of gaming...you're a little cube and each world is a progression mirroring the progression of video games...from 8-bit to 16 to 64 to today, etc. complete with fake-out characteristics of each like a fake long loading time for the 3-d level, flickering corners, etc.)
-World of Goo is indeed fun!
-there's another version of Paper Mario on the Virtual Console that's fun too
-Dr. Mario is competitive but not hard to control at all, and can be lots of fun

Also, if you haven't yet, make sure to grab the free internet browser. It's predictably not that great, but useful occasionally. And if Netflix and Nintendo ever get their act together, maybe On Demand will become available through the Wii...I can dream...the "Everybody Votes" and "Check Mii Out" channels are mildly amusing too.

And just in case you ever fall into the fortune of having a PS2, PSP, and/or DS, other games non-gamers love because they're just totally out of left field charming include Katamari, Loco Roco, Patapon, WTF, Little Big Planet, Chu Chu Rocket, Noone Can Stop Mr. Domino, Professor Layton, Ace Attorney, Trace Memory, Lost in Blue, Zookeeper, N+, Contact, Hotel Dusk, and Harvest Moon. And my favorite platform game is Spyro the Dragon 2, because I'm a weenie and it's adorable.

tl;dr: Animal Crossing, A Boy and His Blob if you use the classic controller instead of the wiimote, Cooking Mama, World of Goo, Bit Trip Beat, Okami, and a GameCube controller to unlock the millions of awesome GameCube games now at your disposal. If you go the GC route, I recommend Pac-Man Vs. (it's on a comp called Namco Museum) and Luigi's Mansion.
posted by ifjuly at 12:56 PM on January 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

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