“It’s just a technical demonstration.”Maybe they wrote these words in different places, often followed by a tirade of false words from Nintendo fans around the world. Until recently, your belief in the Wii was just that, faith. They believed in it because they had to, because they saw Nintendo managers playing tennis on stage and it looked very funny. Nintendo repeated the trick at its European launch with Greg Rusedski and Tim Henman on stage to promote Wii Sports and the Wii experience. Again it looked funny; it sounded like something you wanted to play, and that charm is not the Wii’s secret weapon. If you see people playing on the Wii, especially if you’re playing Wii Sports, that sounds like something you’d like to try out to see what it really is. Of all the early Wii titles, Wii Sports sold this idea the best, and Nintendo made the informed decision to integrate it into all consoles sold in Europe and North America.

It seems fitting that this review starts with tennis, the original Wii Sports game that sparked all this intrigue at E3 earlier this year. The simple swing to hit the ball mechanics is by far the easiest to learn of all Wii Sports games, and the automatic movement of the players allows you to focus on the timing of your shots. It sounds like an anachronism when it comes to Wii, but tennis is simple and fun, which satisfies all the wishes and needs of Wii Sports. There’s also a surprising level of subtlety in the controls, with the ability to add topspin, slice and loft to your shots and add rallies that can get very hectic, especially when played with three friends. In short, tennis is exactly as you imagined it, and it’s just as much fun as it was when we first saw it. It’s not the deepest of the Wii sports games-even if that doesn’t mean it’s superficial – but it’s the game that most people will immediately warm up to.

Baseball is a little less simple, but not necessarily because it is worse than other Wii Sports games. Much like cricket, baseball is something taken for granted, and the vast majority on this side of the Atlantic will be scratching their heads in confusion–or maybe boredom. Similar to tennis, baseball only offers basic throws and punches, with the playing field being processed automatically. These work the way you imagine: swing the remote control at the right time to hit the ball and imitate a throwing action to throw the ball. You also have the option for different types of terrain, where a separator, a curved ball, a screw ball and a fastball are available by pressing certain buttons. For most laymen, these terms mean nothing, but this diversity gives the game a decent depth. Like tennis, baseball is intuitive and fun if you spend time mastering the moment of hitting the ball well.

Bowling is another sport that, although you have never played before, gives you a good idea of how it is played. Again, bowling in Wii Sports is easy to master, but also a little more nuanced than you can imagine. The basic movement is exactly as you would expect, you swing while holding down and releasing the button to release the ball. You can adjust the approach – from the left, right or from the center-and aim at your bowl and apply a twist to the ball by turning the remote control. At first it can be uncomfortable, especially if you do not realize that you can apply the twist, but you will quickly understand the commands and realize that you can not just lazily swing your arm and hope for a blow. There is skill in the game, and it’s just enough to make it interesting without being too hard.

Of all sports, golf has by far the greatest depth and content. Again, the controls work as expected: just swing the remote control to hit the ball. However, this is only the very basic form and there are many variables to consider. When you play, you will have a powerbar with small dots, a map that shows the distance to the pin, and the corresponding dots indicate how much you need to hit the ball to reach your goal. This visual guide is really very convenient, because you can take training shots to determine how much you swing, and if you swing too much, your photo will be hung or cropped. Of course, you can adjust your aim and change the racket, and the wind will seriously affect your shot selection. In other words, it’s like real golf, but easier and with less walking. The nine holes, which are evenly divided into beginner, intermediate and expert holes, may not seem like much, but they offer a surprising variety.

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