Do-do-do do do doo: Christmas fairs have been dominated for 15 years by Wii Sports.
Over the years of receiving video game consoles as gifts, there comes a point in the day when most people in the house want to try, if not watch a bit. To generalize, a grandparent will likely watch with a vacant, “Sounds great, son,” and a dad will inevitably be stuck for a FIFA showdown or some other excuse he uses to take a chance.
In my lifetime, there was never a technology that attracted more people than the Wii. It’s arguably the most unifying console ever, and plenty of challenges were thrown on Christmas Day 2006, when Wii Sports unleashed itself entirely on families and friends.
The Wii has entered the festive market in an ideal location. The PlayStation 3 was upon us, but it didn’t reach Europe until March of the following year, and its price seemed unattainable to many (its cheapest model was a £ 425 pinching the sphincter, and it became a shared gift for my brother and I in 2007).
Nintendo’s console, with then-innovative motion sensor controls and the company’s signature IP, was much more affordable at just £ 179. Then there was the real kicker: Wii Sports supplied with the console. It is still its best-selling game, with 82.9 million copies sold.
It didn’t have the same graphic punch as the PS3 or even the Xbox 360, and it was already surprisingly simple, filled with five sports: bowling, tennis, golf, baseball, and boxing. The biggest compliment I can give is that its gameplay still holds up after all this time.
Last Christmas as the UK found itself in another lockdown I played so much Wii Sports with my girlfriend and her family (we competed for scratch cards). It was a cathartic nostalgic trip, but also really, really fun. Bowling is smooth and satisfying; golf is devilishly difficult with a Dark souls quality “it’s always your fault”; and tennis never fails to pump blood (and sweat).
And, coming back to its universality, it’s genuinely for everyone – except boxing’s quick punches with nunchuks. The controls are simple, and the throwing, driving and throwing movements don’t require a lot of hand-eye coordination or dexterity. Your youngest could pop just about anything, and your elderly parent could be rocking out of their seat.
This Christmas, I will revisit Wii Sports in all its glory once again. So now and always, ‘Do-do-do do do do doo.’