Wii Play Motion Increases Fun

Wii Play Motion Star Shuttle Game

Experienced gamers enjoyed the Star Shuttle game.

The Nintendo Wii joined our family two years ago in time for Christmas and we’ve enjoyed it ever since.  In an ever-competitive gaming landscape, Nintendo has upped the  ante by bringing out the Motion concept — games and remotes that are far more sensitive than the original ones and allow for a new dimension of play.

In terms of remotes you can either buy the Wii Remote Plus controllers or you can buy a Wii MotionPlus adaptor that plugs into the bottom of your existing controller.  Then an entire suite of games utilizing this technology has come out (and will continue to come out), which you can find at http://www.nintendo.com/wii/console/accessories/wiimotionplus.  To test this technology out, Nintendo’s PR company asked me to host a party and try out their Wii Play Motion Game which is a series of 12 mini games with their Wii Remote Plus controllers.

One of the mini-games (Cone Zone)  involves balancing giant scoops of ice cream on a cone, so you hold the controller upright just like an ice cream cone and as the scoops become more unwieldy you have to tilt the controller to counteract the weight.  This game led to the party theme of ice cream sundaes, and the PR team did an adorable job with a pre-made sundae kit with Mason jars of toppings and a gift card to Cold Stone Creamery — how could I possibly fail as a hostess — games and ice cream!

Apologies for not taking more/better photos -- that was a lot of people/kids to manage!

Well, one thing I did was underestimate my RSVPs — and quickly I realized I needed to borrow another Wii and another copy of the game (thanks Julie and Michele) so we could rotate people through the games quickly enough as we had 27 people in attendance!

Since my kids are 5 and 7, the kid base of the invitees were of similar age with a few younger siblings in the mix and of both genders.  Some kids had much more gaming experience than my kids.  All of them owned a Wii.  Only one family already owned the Remote Plus controller.

Screen shot of Spooky Search

Gotcha! Someone grabbed a ghost in Spooky Search!

I nervously gave a quick intro and then released the controllers into the hands of the anxious children who quickly split up into the two rooms.  Surprisingly, few arguments ensued!  It was interesting to watch who preferred which games.  More experienced gamers really liked the Star Shuttle game, which involves very fine control to dock various pieces of equipment very precisely onto a space station.  I, personally, have yet to successfully complete a mission on this.  Spooky Search, which turns you into a ghost hunter and involves listening and watching for clues for ghosts and sucking them into a ghost-eradicating machine, is a bit difficult and yet my 5-year-old LOVES it.  Trigger Twist, which allows you to work as a team to shoot various targets (dinosaurs, aliens, ninjas) is an all around favorite, even with the adults as is Veggie Gaurdin (think of the original Whack-A-Mole).  Jump Park and Wind Runner brought out peals of laughter.  Some games require more time to master, such as Flutter Fly and Skip Skimmer.  I am convinced married couples should not play Treasure Twirl together (you work together to raise treasure from the sea and most coordinate your maneuvers or risk stings from jellyfish, dropping treasure or other hazards).

Sundae fixingsThe ice cream break allowed the parents to wrest control of the remotes from the children and get some play time in themselves and then to convince some tired and sticky children that eventually the party had to end, but it seemed that by the end of it, most were convinced that this was an item they wanted to add to their wish list for the holidays.  If you already have a Wii, upgrading your remotes and trying out the Wii Play: Motion suite is way to extend your investment.  If you are thinking of buying a Wii this season, I highly recommend going for one of the packages that already includes the Remote Plus Controllers so you may take advantage of the new direction Wii is going in.


Disclosure:  Nintendo’s PR company sent me a copy of Wii Play: Motion and three Wii Remote Plus controllers to test as well as supplies for an ice cream party.  They also sent a copy of Wii Play: Motion which included a Wii Remote Plus controller to give away at the party.  I was not required to post about this experience nor did it affect the opinions expressed — I always tell it like it is.  I’ve included product links to Amazon and I’m an Amazon Affiliate. Should you buy any products through Amazon via one of these links, I might actually make enough money to buy a day’s worth of caffeine, for which I would profusely thank you. Wii, Wii Play Motion, Wii Remote, and MotionPlus are trademarks of Nintendo.




Does Your Family Know How to Have Fun?

bop-itWhen’s the last time your family really sat in close proximity with all screens (TV, computer, cell phone, etc.) off, and had a really good time together?  Are you looking at your watch… or are you looking at a calendar?  Or can you not remember it at all?

Every summer we go on a trip to a huge beach house with several families and though I love the sea and the sand, one of the things I most look forward to is playing games together in the evenings.  It’s actually the adults who play, after the children are asleep, but it won’t be long until the kids will be old enough to join in.  These evenings remind me of countless rounds of Parcheesi, Monopoly, Yahtzee and card games my family played while growing up.  I can’t remember a Thanksgiving that didn’t end with a rousing game of some sort.

It’s these simple pleasures, these unplugged moments that are the inspiration for National Family Game Night on September 23, sponsored by Hasbro Games.  Of course they have a reason to encourage game play, but in an age when the economy is tight and technology sometimes makes us forget to look at each other, isn’t the idea of spending a night of old-fashioned fun a bit appealing?

Whether you just dust off some games you already own, or decide to go out and purchase some new ones — consider indulging in National Family Game Night this Wednesday and then turning it into a regular habit.  If you want to go all out, Hasbro even has some tips for planning game night  on their web site.

We actually held ours a little early — we tried two new games, Bop It! and Connect 4X4.  Bop It! is this crazy little device that issues commands to press a button (bop it!), twist a knob, pull a knob, or yell into a microphone, in a rapidfire succession in a random pattern.  We are clearly a very uncoordinated family and this generated tons of laughter!  Connect 4×4 is an updated version of Connect 4 where there are two grids side by side and you can get your 4-in-a-row in all the traditional ways but also by weaving between the two grids.  This was a HUGE hit with the kids.   They are already clamoring for another game night and I’m happy to indulge them!

In every situation where I have played games with people — whether my own family, as part of a team-building exercise at a business retreat, with a group of grown-up friends — I have found that the after-effects last far longer than the game itself.  People always seem to feel more closely bonded, more patient about listening to each other, more interested in working through things.  Which makes me wonder, during these times, what would happen in this nation if we dumped a truckful of Bop Its outside the US Capitol building?  (Oh no, I fear this post could take a dreadful turn for the worse… perhaps I should’ve suggested Cranium?) 

I was at a retreat of local business leaders and when asked to “dream blue skies” about things to change in the county, one thing each round table came back with was that we don’t have enough fun as a society.  How sad is that?   We all agreed our county had terrific parks and recreation centers, and yet people were feeling like there was never any time for fun.  The barrier wasn’t access to fun, it was prioritizing fun.  CHOOSING to have fun.

Will you choose to have fun?  Whether this Wednesday or another night, will you participate in some form of a game night in the near future? 


Bop It! photo is from the Hasbro Games web site.