So, we got a Wii. This has been a long time coming. Sarah decided to get one for me/us for Xmas, but of course she could not buy one (Nintendo has not been able to meet demand for them ever since they were introduced in December 2006, unless you prefer the conspiracy-theory approach that would see it as an artificially manipulated scarcity). In order to stymie any attempt on my part to block the gift, Sarah bought a gift card from Best Buy. It annoyed me to no end that Best Buy then sat on our money for what turned out to be 6 months. They also are obviously using the Wii unavailability as a way to trick people into having to make multiple visits to the store, as they are always pretty vague about when exactly the new ones will be coming in.
I went last Sunday at opening time, 11:00 a.m., and got one of the last 8 left. It was a weird scene, at least 2/3 of the people there were there for Wiis, or Wii Fit games, everyone carrying out the same white boxes (they look like some kind of Mac/ipod relative).
I checked on Amazon and used ones are still for sale at over 25% above the list price. I of course was tempted to flip ours immediately for a profit.
We haven’t played it all that much yet. The Sports game it’s packaged with is kind of neat but seems as if you need to buy a second controller to take full advantage of it. We got a game called “Cooking Mama” out of the library (!) on a friend’s recommendation that it might be something Celie and Iris would enjoy. They did, although in 20 minutes it already started to drive us a bit crazy. Its a Japanese game with a demented Iron Chef aesthetic — you follow recipes to create certain dishes, peeling vegetables, stirring the pot, rolling the Mochi balls in cocoa, etc. All in all, I think C&I are on the young side for the Wii, although Celie got really into grating cheese.
It’s very funny to watch someone else using it, they look like a madman, shaking and gesticulating. It is neat the way it keeps you on your feet & moving around. I almost felt like I threw my arm out pitching in the baseball game.
I was heavily into video games in the 1979-1983 era, roughly — Donkey Kong at the little store near my parents’ house in Cambridge which is now an outpost of the Swedish embassy or something bizarre like that — and then have not played much since. As a 12 year-old-boy there was something uniquely addictive, in a no doubt sublimatedly erotic way, about the whole experience of slipping the quarter in with its satisfying thwonk and setting the colorful, buzzing, noisy experience into motion. For a while I’ve figured that the period we’re in now with video games might be something like the pre-Jazz Singer silent era in movies, before everyone fully recognized how substantial and important the medium had become. Part of my problem has been that I’ve a lifetime Mac user, so many of the best games aren’t available.
More reports to come, I’m sure. I want to get Super Mario Galaxy. I’m glad that Mario is still a major player in this universe.
Here’s a Nintendo ad that shows what it looks like.
Addendum: Joshuah Bearman’s article in the July Harper’s, “The Perfect Game: Five Years with the Master of Pac-Man,” is hilarious and fascinating on the topic of video game obsession. A great peek into a bizarre little subculture.