Since 2006 when Nintendo launched its Wii Sports video game console across America, Australia and Europe people have been able to enjoy playing simulated sports in their own home. Wii sports offers five different sports experiences which are amazingly lifelike thanks to the movement sensors employed in the system.
In tennis for example, you hold the controller like you would a tennis racket and use it in a similar way. The game system is able to register an array of different strokes forehand, backhand, volley, and lob. It even detects the power and speed of shots depending on how fast you swing and at what angle. The sense of reality is quite amazing.
In golf you hold the controller like a golf club and swing naturally as if to drive the ball into the screen and on to the green laid out before you. In bowling you raise the Wii remote as if it were a ball and then swing your arm to bowl it. When boxing you use the Nunchuk controller as one glove and the Wii remote as the other. You can weave and dodge, as well as punch your opponent as if in the ring. This one is a great way to let off steam and exercise at the same time!
Each game features a standard play mode, training mode, and multiple player options. The standard play mode mimics each games respective method of play, whilst the training mode is a single player option that allows a player to practice certain aspects of the sport and rewards them with medals. Every game has a single-player or two player mode, and some games can accommodate up to four players. Bowling and golf will allow multiple players to compete by taking turns with a single remote.
Players can use their own caricatures as avatars within the game to personalise them, and following a game a player is awarded or penalised points based on their performance. After obtaining 1000 skill points in a sport, a player is awarded a "pro" level, along with a cosmetic feature for their avatar.
The Wii Sports fitness game has reached out to many people who had not previously played video games by virtue of the fact that sports have universal appeal and are seen as not just children's games. The realism of the games is impressive, although not all aspects of the actual sport could be included, such as running forward on to the ball in tennis for example.
The level of complexity is sufficient however to satisfy most people and enable them to get enjoyment from the Wii system whatever their real sports abilities.
Soon after the Wii sports release there were reports of injuries from people letting go of their controllers or hitting other players due to over-excitement, but this seems to have been resolved by stronger, more secure wrist-straps for the controllers. This was a minor set back or teething problem easily overcome and now the Wii system is used everyday by millions of people worldwide.
It has become a popular pastime for youngsters at home, and also older people, even seniors in retirement homes who have formed leagues for bowling. The Wii sports provides the means for people to keep active whatever their age or sporting abilities. It transcends the popular notion of a video game.