You've probably already heard about Wii Sports. If you're not into video games, then you probably heard the media, getting it wrong as they always do, referring to it as the Wii itself, not making a distinction between the game and the system that comes with it (but being bundled with the system doesn't help). If you are into video games, you of course already knew about it. And no matter who you are, you've probably already played it.
But for those of you who haven't, here's a rundown. Wii Sports is a game that originally came bundled with the Wii system (except in Japan). It's five simplified sports in one game, and it's dependent on the Wii's motion sensitive remote-shaped controller.
While Wii Sports is looked down upon by certain fanboys for its lack of depth (but for something like this, is a plot really necessary?), but for the motion sensing features of the controller and what it has done for video games, it has caused a big ripple effect that's still being felt today. Its easy-to-understand, pick-up-and-play nature has allowed people who don't play video games to get into it. Retirement centers are buying Wii systems for the elderly to use, and use them they do. It's become the one video game that can be easily demonstrated to someone else when they ask you "why do you play video games? What makes them so fun?" Of course, by demonstrating a simplistic sports game, you're failing to capture the appeal of more complicated games like The Legend of Zelda. But, much like Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon were the "gateway drugs" for anime fans, Wii Sports is the same for video games.
Not surprisingly, Wii Sports also has the secondary effect of being associated with the Wii itself. Whenever elderly talk about "the Wii", they only mean "Wii Sports". They don't mean Excite Truck, Super Mario Galaxy, or even Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The Wii has become synonymous with Wii Sports, and the general, non game-playing public won't bother to correct this mistake. Slightly more savvy players will likely simply refer to each game in the package as "Wii (insert sport here)".
The game seems to have spawned a series of games that is typically referred to as the "Wii series", games that are all named Wii "(insert something here)", that focus primarily on using Miis to play games, such as Wii Play, Wii Music, Wii Fit, Wii Party and a true sequel, Wii Sports Resort that uses the newly introduced Wii Motion Plus accessory for more advanced control. Wii Fit, Wii Sports Resort, and Pilotwings Resort all feature Wuhu Island as their main setting. Wii Sports also got its own Updated Re-release on Wii U under the title of Wii Sports Club, which added online functionality and refined Wii Motion Plus control. It launched on November 7, 2013 as a downloadable game, then later on July 25, 2014 as a retail game. The downloadable version offers the ability to either permanently buy each sport separately, or rent the whole package at once for one day.
- Baseball allows you to swing the remote like a bat to swing at the ball, or make a throwing motion of sorts to pitch. Fielding is controlled automatically. This is for one to two players. The Wii U version adds in GamePad controls for pitching and catching fly balls.
- Tennis lets you swing the remote like a racket to hit the ball in a doubles match. You control the swings of your players as they automatically chase the ball. Supports one to four players. Single-player mode has you play either one or both halves of the doubles team; two-player allows competitive or cooperative.
- Bowling lets you bowl by making a throwing motion, even going so far as to simulate the tendency to let the ball slip left or right due to an imperfect or not-quite-straight throw; you can even throw the ball behind you if you let go during the backswing. The slightest twist of your wrist affects ball movement. Supports one to four players, even if you only have one remote.
- Golf lets you hold a button while swinging the remote to swing the club and hit the ball. (If you swing the club without holding the button, you get a practice swing.) Supports one to four players, even with only one remote.
- Boxing uses both the remote and the Nunchuk attachment, which plugs into the remote, to simulate punching with both fists. You can dodge by moving the fists left or right. Can be played with one or two players. The Wii U version replaces the Nunchuk support with either a one-handed or two-handed approach, using two remotes. This is a casualty of the conversion to Wii Motion Plus that Wii Sports Club as a whole received, since the Nunchuk was never upgraded to the standards of Wii Motion Plus.
A new iteration for the Nintendo Switch was released on April 29, 2022 titled Nintendo Switch Sports. Bowling and Tennis both return, alongside Chambara from Resort along with Soccer, Volleyball and Badminton as all-new sports. In addition, Golf has been confirmed for inclusion in a post-release update. Baseball and Boxing are not included in the game.
Each of these games has three different practice games with various relations to the actual sports; the second and third of each sport are unlocked if you play the practice game before it. And there is a "Fitness Test".
- Aerith and Bob: The CPU Miis have names ranging from average English names, such as Ashley, Mike, Matt, Ryan, Luca and Pierre, alongside Japanese names like Hiroshi, Keiko, Fumiko and Daisuke. Justified, as the CPU Miis are meant for multinational representation.
- A.I. Breaker: The AI in boxing simply can't deal with repeated dodging+only using counter attacks. It is possible to get your rating off the scale, then off the TV with this.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: In Nintendo Switch Sports, you can earn points by playing matches on the global online mode (if you don't have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, you can play against bots instead for a smaller selection and awarded amount of items each week). When you reach 100 points, you'll be able to obtain a randomized piece of clothing from one set of rewards of your choice.
- Anti Poop-Socking: The game periodically encourages players to take a break by pausing the game. While most of the games aren't tiring, the boxing game can wear you out if you keep playing without stopping.
- Artistic License Sports: In boxing, the game allows individuals of the opposite sex to fight against each other, which is prohibited in combat sports, due to physiological differences between different sexes that affect physical abilities, such as strength.
- Bald Head of Toughness: An NPC Mii, Matt the only bald NPC Mii, is on the bottom of the CPU ladder in every sport except boxing, where he is the champion. This is in stark contrast to the NPC Mii Ryan, a long-haired Mii, who is the first opponent in boxing.
- Button Mashing: Waggling the Wii Remote and Nunchuk randomly and as fast and hard as humanly possible in Boxing is more effective than any other strategy.
- There's a mix of this and Overflow Error in the minigame about tennis returns. The on-screen counter will stop at 999 points, but internally this number wraps around to 0 each time it goes over 255. For example, if you returned 1002 balls, the game will write it as 231 points when the minigame is over.
- Baseball runs cap at 99. Even if you score more, it will still display 99. Because of the 5-run mercy rule, you'll never see this unless you purposefully grind the visiting team score with two remotes or TAS.
- Circling Birdies: Wii Sports Club has the Boxing sport from the original game. One of the differences, though, is the inclusion of a stun system in which after a Mii's HP goes down to a certain point, he/she is stunned and sees stars, leaving him/her unable to punch, though he/she can still dodge.
- Comical Overreacting: In Bowling, if you go to make your throw and then end up dropping the ball back behind you, the entire alley flips out, jumping in a spin and shrieking. This happens even if the ball is just rolling at them at a snail's pace.
- Company Cameo: Nintendo logos are displayed on advertisements and decorations around the various sporting arenas.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The Tennis and Baseball A.I.s, albeit only at higher levels.
- A hard Baseball AI will repeatedly throw the ball at the player's face (Which, in Real Life, would result in the pitcher instantly being thrown out, accidentally or not) without consequences. They can also make it go so far to the right that you can barely even hit it with the tip of your bat. Both of these are a case of Morton's Fork; they are impossible to hit well, but if you don't swing at them, it doesn't count as a ball. The Baseball AI also has Rubberband AI to extremes. If you get so much as a 2-point lead, they will suddenly turn into a Perfect-Play A.I..
- A hard Tennis AI can run much faster than a human player's character does, making it extremely difficult (if not downright tedious) to get past them.
- Demoted to Extra: Miis are no longer the star of the show in Nintendo Switch Sports. There's an option to still play as one, but none of them ever appear as background characters.
- Destroying a Punching Bag: In the Boxing game, one of the training sessions involves seeing how many punching bags you can break off the chain and send soaring to the back wall within the time limit.
- Dynamic Difficulty:
- The AI opponents in baseball combine Dynamic Difficulty with Rubberband AI. Get enough home runs, and they start to make it harder to do in subsequent games, for instance.
- Golf will switch out the set of possible hole positions for more tricky ones if you are doing too good.
- Easter Egg:
- Bowling has a few. Should you throw your ball too early, the crowd will freak out. If you throw the ball into the wrong lane, they'll laugh.
- Switch Sports Soccer has one. If you perform the motion for a Diving Header after you've scored a goal, you'll execute a celebratory soccer-player knee slide instead of a dive.
- Evolving Credits: When Wii Sports Club was initially released on the Wii U eShop in November 2013, Tennis and Bowling were the only sports available, and the trailer reflects that. The following month, the game was updated to include Golf, and the trailer was rereleased with Golf footage added. Finally, when the complete set became available in June 2014, the trailer was updated one more time to showcase Baseball and Boxing, though the footage for those game modes were not as integrated to the trailer in general as Golf was, only appearing during the overview of available sports.
- Exergaming: This game and its sequel serve to demonstrate the capabilities of motion controls, ending up the biggest sellers on the system. And they do so by applying motion controls to the concept of practicing sports.
- Face Plant: In Switch Sports, the Soccer moveset includes a diving header to launch the ball further. Performing the move without the ball in front of you results in a face-flop onto the ground, which stops you from moving for a second in play or just lets you look really silly during the "vs." preview screen where players can perform moves while seeing the teams.
- Fingerless Hands: Despite these, the Miis can still participate in a number of sports that require them to hold things, from tennis to bowling.
- Floating Limbs: The Miis, though it's Zig Zagged in Bowling. The on-screen bowler gains legs... meanwhile, the audience and bowlers in other lanes still don't have legs. Fully averted in Nintendo Switch Sports where both Miis and Sportsmates alike have arms and legs.
- Gender-Equal Ensemble: There are 60 Miis you compete against in the game, and they're evenly divided between males and females. In Boxing, however, only nine female Miis (Yoko, Hayley, Rachel, Sarah, Kathrin, Emma, Anna, Elisa, and Eva) can be encountered. Tennis, meanwhile, only has you compete against 26 male Miis and 29 female Miis, leaving the remaining five (Hiroshi, Shouta, Ren, Chris, and Abby) as just helper Miis that appear should you do bad early on.
- Golden Snitch: During Switch Sports soccer games, a golden ball appears after one team gets a two-point lead, offering double points so the losing team can catch up and extend the game. If the winning team scores the golden ball, then they get a knockout victory and the game ends.
- Invisible Anatomy: The Mii characters built on Nintendo's Wii console have arms when created, but in this game they don't have them. They just have floating sphere hands or boxing gloves. Any non-player Miis in the background will also lack legs. Most games that use them in gameplay just reproduce the head on a single style of body anyway, and ignore the user-defined height and weight sliders.
- Later Installment Weirdness: Nintendo Switch Sports has new, more detailed yet still cartoony avatars known as Sportsmates. You're still be able to play as Miis if you wish, though they don't appear as CPU opponents or background characters.
- Luck-Based Mission: Baseball. When the opposing team hits the ball to one of your fielders, there is absolutely nothing you can do regarding whether he fields the ball cleanly or makes an error. And as is the case with real baseball, one poorly timed defensive mistake can change the entire course of a game. Wii Sports Club allows you some control, but only when catching a fly ball.
- Multinational Team: The 60 NPC Miis featured in Wii Sports are designed to evenly represent Japanese, American, and European regions (with the Euro Miis sub-divided to represent Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain). The Miis' nationalities are All There in the Manual, however and not always clear.
- New Season, New Name: Since the Nintendo Switch is unrelated to the Wii in any way, that console's equivalent is called "Nintendo Switch Sports" instead, but is still outright stated to be a continuation of the Wii Sports series.
- Nostalgia Level: The golf courses in the original game are all modernized updates of the courses from Golf for the NES. Wii Sports Club includes three sets of holes— the originals, the Wii Sports Resort holes, and a new set.
- Off the Chart: It is possible to get your ranking to over 2000 ("Pro" is 1000 rank, the champion is fought around 1500) at which point it will go off the charts. This is really only possible in tennis if you're good, in boxing by abusing the AI's inability to counter constant dodging+only counter attacking, and theoretically in bowling, as the others are largely luck-based. Keep it up, and you can go off the screen, indicating this isn't purposeful.
- Overflow Error: Your score in the minigame about returning tennis balls wraps around to 0 each time it goes over 255, but only when the game saves your score at the end.
- Play Every Day: Nintendo Switch Sports uses online play as a way for the player to accumulate a meter of 100 points that adds up to a random reward from a few different collections of player cosmetics each time. The collections are offered for limited times before rotating out, encouraging a player to work hard and play often to complete them while they're offered, and to play frequently to check on new rewards being offered—as a tip screen says, you'll miss out on things if you only play during the weekend.
- Player Tic: There are a couple of times (like after winning/losing a tennis match) that your Mii is just standing there, either moping or arms raised, when you can make them swing the racquet spasmodically to no effect. It's hard to resist, since the alternative is just standing there.
- Production Foreshadowing: The Wii U concept video revealed at E3 2011 demonstrates early versions of the Baseball and Golf games from Wii Sports Club.
- Retraux: At times, the soundtrack sounds like synth music from The '80s. This was not lost on people.
- Rules Are For Humans: As seen in this video, the computer is capable of throwing a curve so far inside that it hits you in the face, and it counts as a foul ball. The player does not appear to be able to perform this trick.
- Scoring Points: Justified, mainly because they are based on real sports that are point-based.
- Super Title 64 Advance: The name not only inherits its console's name, but thanks to the success of both products the Wii brand made this game span a Nintendo series on its own.
- Tech Demo Game: The game is built around the Wii's software to show off its motion controls via sports minigames.
- Training Dummy: Boxing Training has a punching bag mode where you punch as many bags as you can in 1 minute. You can even play Multiplayer Hot-Seat like in all trainings.
- Updated Re-release: Wii Sports Club, which was released on the Wii U.