I need a Wii bit of help
May 9, 2008 10:24 AM   Subscribe

I am considering buying a Wii. If I do, what accessories and games should I get to go along with it?

I know questions like this have been asked previously, but they are kind of old. Now that the Wii is relatively easy to find, I am thinking of getting one. Here are the details. I am basically a non-gamer. I haven't owned a game system since the Sega Genesis.

I am married with 3 kids (5 year old girl, 3 year old boy, and an infant).

If I buy a Wii I would like to get the appropriate games, accessories, etc. to make it fun for the whole family. I have a pretty good budget, since I just won an award that came with a $1000 prize.

I would also just love some general feedback about owning a Wii.
posted by bove to Technology (31 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
If I were you I would make sure to buy plenty of joysticks for the whole family.

Buy a party game that lets all of your kids play together (there should be mario party 8 by now)

and buy Rockband....it will allow each member of the family to play in a virtual band.

I love my Wii it is pretty accessible for all of those who are non-gamers and it feels good to own a relatively cheap system since i barely have time to play games nowadays.
posted by The1andonly at 10:37 AM on May 9, 2008

I'm a non-gamer, too (or I guess I was). The wii is the first gaming system I ever owned. One great thing about it is that the sports games that come with it are fun. They got boring to me after a while, but for the first couple of weeks, I loved them, and they got me and my wife used to the system. I recommend holding off on buying all sorts of accessories until you go through that experience. You'll learn a little bit about how you enjoy interacting with the machine.

Since getting over sports, we've purchased Mario Cart and Dance, Dance Revolution. My wife used the latter as a workout. When wii Fit is out in the US, we'll probably buy that for similar reasons. In the meantime, she's having fun with Dance, Dance.

I love Mario Cart. I purchase two wii wheels to go with it, so my wife and I can race together. Great fun. We also have two controller and two numchucks. That allows for two people to play most games. If I had your kids, I'd buy four sets of controllers.

We have a wii at my office. The popular games here are Mario Cart, Smash Brothers, and Guitar Hero. I work with young, computer-savvy people (all gamers except me), and the favorite here is still the sports pack that came with the machine.
posted by grumblebee at 10:37 AM on May 9, 2008

Boom Blox
Mario Kart Wii.
Elebits is only $20 now.
Mercury Meltdown Revolution is only $20 too.
posted by yeti at 10:41 AM on May 9, 2008

The Wii Charge Station. Otherwise, you'll be eating AAs for dinner.
posted by jmd82 at 10:46 AM on May 9, 2008

Warioware's still fun.
posted by jozxyqk at 10:52 AM on May 9, 2008

You can download tons of retro NES/SNES/Genesis/N64 games on Virtual Console for $5-$10 a pop, which is pretty sweet.

Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Paper Mario are all great games. And I love Wario Ware Smooth Moves - your kids might like it too, and it only uses one remote for even the multiplayer versions.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:53 AM on May 9, 2008

I second jamaro's post, and will add that I am sure both the adults and the kids (well, the 5 year old at this point) will love Mario Kart. I believe it comes with a steering wheel (into which you insert your Wii remote), and I'd suggest buying at least one more. I think the extra wheel runs about $15. My frriend's 5 year old daughter is a big fan of the game.

The sports game that comes with the Wii is loads of fun and a favorite whenever we have people over to play with the Wii.

We also have Guitar Hero, which we love.

I'm a non-gamer, and I am in love with our Wii. It's seriously a lot of fun. We have friends inviting themselves over to our place just to play.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 10:56 AM on May 9, 2008

Response by poster: A couple of follow up questions. I see a Wii bundle for sale at Walmart.com, but it is confusing because the bundle comes with 4 extra games, but is $500. Aren't the games only about $50 each? This seems like a bad deal, right? I am pretty sure I can get a regular Wii locally for $250.

How many games can 4 people actually all play together? It seems like I should definitely get an extra remote (Wii Play sounds like a winner), but is it really worth it to buy 2 more?

To do the download of old Nintendo games, do I need a wireless network? (I have high speed Internet at home, but no wireless network)

Any other game suggestions?
posted by bove at 11:00 AM on May 9, 2008

If you like baseball at all, get The Bigs. It's fantastic.
posted by null terminated at 11:04 AM on May 9, 2008

If you were thinking about Guitar Hero, I recommend holding off for now as Rock Band for Wii is slated to come out in June.
posted by junesix at 11:05 AM on May 9, 2008

You'll definitely want either a charge station or rechargeable batteries.

Games that I've enjoyed (as a non-gamer):

Wii Sports
Lego Star Wars
Rayman's Raving Rabbids
Guitar Hero
Super Paper Mario
Super Mario Galaxy

Wii Fit is getting good reviews and looks fun. It should be out in the states in a couple of weeks.
posted by amarynth at 11:07 AM on May 9, 2008

As you probably already know, you'll absolutely love the Wii once it becomes the center of attention for hours on end. However, the accessories and games will either make or break the experience.

I've found that the Wii, due to its novel control scheme, is a better console for some types of games than others. Although shooters and other intensive games are playable on the Wii, they are more suited to the PS3 and XBox 360 (better graphics, processing speeds, control schemes, etc.). Nintendo was right in marketing the console to casual gamers like yourself ... since some of the best games on the Wii can be enjoyed by busy adults and 5 year olds alike.

Having said that, some of the best games include: Wii Sports (for obvious reasons!), Super Mario Galaxy, Mario Kart, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Okami. Boom Blox, a game developed in part by Stephen Spielberg, was just recently released and many of the critics have given it two-thumbs up. In fact, some say it's the best use of the Wii's control scheme to date.

As for accessories, the more remotes you have, the merrier you'll be. Several games like Smash Brothers, Mario Kart, Wii Sports, etc. are multiplayer (online and offline) and you'll soon find out that although the AI is good, nothing beats having live humans whacking away at a tennis ball right next to you, or fighting you as Kirby from halfway across the nation. Multiple remotes also requires that you invest in some good rechargeable battery packs. Try to get your hands on some Wii point cards (for the older downloadable classics) and a classic controller (or a cheap gamecube controller).

And, this is just the starting point. For 1K, you can load up on a whole lot more, but so far, I've been more than satisfied with just this.

I hope you have fun!
posted by mahoganyslide at 11:11 AM on May 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Mario Kart. Kids and adults of all ages will like this one.
posted by caddis at 11:14 AM on May 9, 2008

Best answer: N-thing rechargeable batteries: I use Sanyo Eneloops (which seem to last as long as alkalines--in fact, I use them exclusively now, in all my home devices that require AA or AAA batteries).

Consider pre-ordering Wii Fit if you can--it's out near the end of this month, and both Amazon and Gamestop have already stopped taking preorders, but maybe some other store is still accepting them.

The Wii version of Rock Band is out June 22--I was going to pass on it, since the lack of downloadable songs was a dealbreaker, but it turns out that Harmonix will be selling expansion packs of 20 songs for $30 each. Fair enough.

Remember that the Wii is 100% backwards compatible with the Gamecube, last generation's Nintendo console. Hours and hours of quality cheap gaming await you.

One of the features of the Wii that I love is the News Channel, which is basically an Associated Press feed, completely ad-free.

As for games suitable for all ages--take a look at Wario Ware: Smooth Moves, Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, Okami, and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. For more adult fare, look at Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, and No More Heroes.

Finally, a caution, since the OP refers to himself as a non-gamer--the reputation that the Wii has among gamers for being an exclusively casual console is in part unearned. Many games can be picked up easily by someone who's never held a controller, but a fair number of the games for the system are hard, hard, hard--not because of poor controls, but because of genuinely challenging difficulty. DDR: Hottest Party, Mercury Meltdown Revolution, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, and Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles will happily punish you. (Even Super Mario Galaxy is no joke in some areas, though you can beat the game without tackling the extremely difficult parts.)
posted by Prospero at 11:15 AM on May 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

i love super mario galaxy. it's my favorite game for the wii and even though i've beaten it, i still play it over and over.

i also just got mario kart so i've spent quite a bit of time on the WFC playing with other people. it's almost become a nightly thing. i think mario kart would be appropriate for your 5 year old :) it's not too difficult.

lego star wars is also a really excellent game, and i'm very much looking forward to lego indiana jones and lego batman.

i've also heard really good things about thrillville, which is like a rollercoaster sim.

we use rechargeable batteries in ours, which i find really helpful.

as for the old nintendo games, i think there's an ethernet plug on the back of the wii, but don't quote me on that.
posted by kerning at 11:17 AM on May 9, 2008

Get Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection. Best video pinball I've ever played.

Also, Mario Kart Wii is all kinds of awesome.
posted by porn in the woods at 11:40 AM on May 9, 2008

Wii Play is good for learning the system (and getting an extra Wiimote) and Wii Sports is always fun. I also have Guitar Hero 3, Petz Catz 2, Carnival Games, and Thrillville - all of which I like so far. 0I have played Zelda and Harry Potter, and liked them, but had some trouble with the gestures for spellcasting in Harry Potter. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of Wii Fit. I also have played Lego Star Wars on a friend's Xbox, and the Wii version will definitely be my next purchase.

As Prospero mentioned, there are other things to do with the Wii besides gaming. I like the news and forecast channels, Check Mii Out Channel, and the Everybody Votes Channel.
posted by candyland at 11:55 AM on May 9, 2008

nthing Mario Kart Wii, I just picked it up two days ago and it's an amazingly fun game.

Wii Play would be great for your kids, heck, I'm 18 and I love playing some of them. It's only 10 bucks more than the included remote would cost, anyway.

Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros Brawl, Guitar Hero, and DDR are all fun as well, but I would put them below Mario Kart and Wii Play in a list of what you and your kids would enjoy most.

Wii Sports (included with the console) is extremely fun as well. That's probably our most played game.
posted by DMan at 11:56 AM on May 9, 2008

I don't own a Wii. Friends do. We get together and play Mario Kart and other party style games (Smash Bros?). Its a ton of fun, and yes, we get all 4 remotes going at once. And people swapping in and out to play, which means if we could have more remotes going, we would.
Since you have enough people in your family for 4 remotes, get 4 remotes. You'll use them.
posted by sandraregina at 12:02 PM on May 9, 2008

Seconding Pinball Hall of Fame. It's terrific (and $20).
posted by roue at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2008

Nthing Wii Play, if only for the 2nd remote; as a package, you're only paying $10 extra for the game. It's really the best deal out there. And Mario Kart Wii is my current addiction - definitely a must have.
posted by cgg at 12:21 PM on May 9, 2008

If you like arcade rail shooters (the games where you actually have a fake gun in your hands) then pick up some wii zappers and / or Nyko Perfect Shot (I prefer the perfect shot, it is sweeeet) and Ghost Squad, Resident Evil:Umbrella Chronicles, House of the Dead 2 and 3 returns, etc.

Ridiculously fun!
posted by utsutsu at 12:37 PM on May 9, 2008

My kids like the 'Cars' movie so the Cars game was a hit for 3 months.

Since Christmas, it's been Lego Star Wars for my 5 year old. It's been over 4 months now and it's finally starting to lose it's luster. We do our best to limit his time on it but he'll do just about anything for '10 more minutes'.
posted by tickettrader at 12:45 PM on May 9, 2008

We just picked up a Wii about two weeks ago. My wife loves the include Wii Sports game, because she can play for 15 to 20 minutes - enough time to go through one or two games, but not so long that she gets sick of playing or feels like she's wasting too much time. I like it because it's a great party game, especially for new players. I also like it because of the GameCube integration: All GameCube games can be played on the Wii. You will need a GameCube controller (up to four plug in behind a hidden panel on the Wii) and likely a GameCube memory card (also behind a panel - don't know if the Wii will let you use internal memory for the GameCube games!) but other than that, it means you can pick up really cheap games, used or on clearance. For example, I grabbed a copy of Lego Star Wars from a discount shelf, it is really a lot of fun.

The Wii has a few features I didn't know about at first. Integrated wireless, so if you have a home wireless network, it can connect to your broadband connection to download games and system updates. (If you don't have wireless, an inexpensive dongle for your home computer is available to allow your Wii to get online.) It also has an SD memory slot, which allows it to be used to do slideshows of pictures from your digital camera, add extra memory for downloaded games or channels, or upload pictures to send to other Wii consoles. Parental controls for internet access and games are of course an option if you need them.

As far as games go, if your kids are anything like my nephews (5 and 7) they will like most of the "party" games such as Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros. Some of the more involved adventure games such as Zelda may be a bit too much for them, depending on age, but there are plenty of simpler ones to choose from. You and your husband may enjoy the retro capabilities. You can download many old NES, Super Nintendo, N64, Sega Genesis, and TurboGrafx16 games to play on the Wii. Emulation modes aren't always pixel-perfect, and your kids may wonder why you want to play a game with such crappy 2D graphics, but with games averaging around $6 to $10 each (purchased using "Wii Points", at $1 US for 100 points) it's cheaper than trying to blow the dust out of the old NES or trying to track down that old game you used to love on eBay. You can also download extra channels specifically for kids, which allow them to do more; I know they are there, but as I have no kids I haven't explored the channels much.

Accessories: Buy as many Wiimote controllers as you need (4, generally, if you have that many players) but as said above most games don't require the Nunchucks (Wii Sports Boxing uses it, but that's a 2-player game max - you probably don't need more than two). You can safely skip the add-ons that make controllers look like tennis racquets or baseball bats; most of that stuff is third-party marketing aimed at people who think they need it. The steering wheel for Mario Kart may be an exception; the game comes with one, but my nephews dislike having to remove the rubber jacket from the Wiimote to use it, so YMMV. The charging station also looks like it's unnecessary. Standard AA rechargeables will work just fine, and will work in things besides the Wiimotes.

One final bit - the Wii Message Center records the time spent playing games and browsing channels daily. Unless your kids delete these messages, you can keep an eye on how much time they spend using the machine. Very helpful if you wish to set limits on their play time.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:45 PM on May 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

re: Rock band for the Wii, it does not come with all the bells and whistles that the games comes with for other consoles. For example, there's no downloadable content. You can't download new songs, you are pretty much stuck with the songs the game comes with (63, I believe)
posted by DrGirlfriend at 12:46 PM on May 9, 2008

If you plan on downloading old Genesis games, get a Wii Classic Controller. It's apparently way easier to use than just turning the regular controller sideways.

I'd definitely get four controllers. That way your whole family can play at once.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:59 PM on May 9, 2008

Response by poster: I went out and bought one today. (Local Gamestop had at least 4 or 5 new and a few used for sale)

As of right now, I just purchased a Wii and Wii Play. I was going to pre-order Wii Fit, but it is already sold out on pre-order everywhere I can see. I have marked a couple answers as best answers, but all of the answers here were useful. Thanks a lot.
posted by bove at 2:17 PM on May 9, 2008

I would add another recommendation for Mario Kart, Galaxies, Rockband, and Guitar Hero.

Guitar Hero is much more fun if you like a little challenge on the guitar parts. Rockband is much more fun with a group. But both are really fun.

I haven't played Star Wars Legos on the Wii but my friend swears by it.
posted by Silvertree at 2:26 PM on May 9, 2008

re: re: Rock Band for the Wii, they just announced that they are releasing certain DLC songs as an add-on disk for Wii and ps2 versions, so you will be able to extra music.
posted by utsutsu at 2:32 PM on May 9, 2008

Wii remotes should now come with rubber anti-slip jackets in the package, however, the nunchuks I've purchased did not. Remotes and nunchuks can get very slippery when in play, so much so that on some of the more vigorous games, I've found them nearly unusable w/o an anti-slip jacket.

Nintendo will give you free Wii Remote Jackets for free if you don't have any. Just call up Customer Service, or check Nintendo.com. I would also suggest new straps at that point also, the newer ones have clasps.

This won't really cost anything but string a different color bead on the Wii remote's tether. It makes it a lot easier to find "Wii Remote #1" out of a basket of identical remotes when the system is insisting on it.

Once you turn the system off the remotes should still be synced to that system but should reset. So once turned back on you should be able to pick up any remote and press the "A Button" and it should become the defacto first remote.

One final bit - the Wii Message Center records the time spent playing games and browsing channels daily. Unless your kids delete these messages, you can keep an eye on how much time they spend using the machine. Very helpful if you wish to set limits on their play time.

For some games you can check the save data for any progress also.

For your family, you'll need four remotes. One remote and nunchuck comes with the system, Wii Play comes with one remote. So you'll need two more remotes and three extra nunchucks.

Kart is a great game across the board and comes with a Wii Wheel, other than that everybody has different tastes for games.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:18 PM on May 9, 2008

Best answer: I haven't read all of these comments that thoroughly, but I've seen lots of mention about getting to play retro games and only a couple of passing remarks on what is actually required to play those games.

There's a helpful chart on Wikipedia, but since you say you've got the budget, I would recommend getting two Classic Controllers, two Gamecube controllers, and a Gamecube memory card (required to save anything from Gamecube games... lame, I know). That way, you can play any game out there with at least two players, and play it on an appropriate control device.

The best part about having the setup to play any game is that if a friend with a rabid addiction to, say, Super Mario Bros. 2 stops by, you can download it in about five minutes and play. No store required.

And game recommendations? Pikmin. Oh man, Pikmin.
posted by McBearclaw at 10:15 AM on May 11, 2008

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