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.
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.
- 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.
- Casual Video Game: One of the prime examples of this.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: Getting a high enough ranking (easier in boxing with AI breakers) will result in this. To show it isn't intentional, keeping it up will put you off the TV.
- 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.
- Tech Demo Game: The game is built around the Wii's software to show off its motion controls via sports minigames.
- Updated Re-release: Wii Sports Club.