What happened was, in single-Dad mode a couple of weekends ago, Best Buy had a special on the 500G LaCie so I took the kids down there. I was walking by the gaming area and saw something I never have before: a couple of Wiis on the shelf. The one I grabbed turned out to be an open-box, had been returned by someone, so it was cheap too. So far, I’m waiting to be blown away.

Sports · The sports package is good family fun. As I write, my eight-year-old and two friends are hurtling around in front of the TV with the toddlergirl cackling in glee at them. The Miis are kind of dorky-looking but that’s no big deal.

We’ve already had our first Wii injury; I got in the way of the boy’s Bowling follow-through and took a nasty bruise on one hand.

Zelda, Yawn · We picked up the Twilight Princess episode of Zelda, which was reasonably well-reviewed. I got an hour or two in and I’ve pretty well bogged down. Maybe it’s just me, but the pace seems leaden. I’m wandering around the first big dungeon, the puzzles are hard enough that it takes quite a while, and it’s just not that stimulating.

The combat part is sort of fun, but I don’t think I have the stick-to-itiveness to slog through the rest of the dungeon.

Christmas · It looks like we have a few of the family coming down for Christmas. Anyone want to recommend something multi-player that’s seriously amusing?


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Jesper (Dec 01 2007, at 11:24)

I have heard nothing but good things about "Rayman Raving Rabbids".


From: Brian Mitchell (Dec 01 2007, at 11:48)

Well, I have to say I enjoyed those Wii titles but they didn't hit me as something special.

Wii sports was a nice introduction game (bundled with the system when I got mine). It also was a great way to break into gaming with people who aren't quite familiar with modern gaming. On my own, boring, but I am always surprised how much fun some friends can add here.

The new zelda game was fun but not as engaging as some of the previous installments. I have to admit that I only play games 5 hours max per week so I haven't gotten too far. It seems more interesting things happen once you gain some of the more interesting weapons and armor... but who wants to wait for a game to pick up speed. Otherwise, I found the game well solid enough for those rare times I have 4 hours or more to spend on a game.

Finally, the game that I had been waiting for just came out. Super Mario Galaxy is a whole lot of fun, especially for those of us who won't be doing a weekend game marathon. It also has a nice co-op ability that allows anyone who can point and shoot to play along.


From: ed costello (Dec 01 2007, at 11:59)

I'll second Rayman's Raving Rabbids. You'll either love it or develop an irrational fear of toilet plungers.


From: Edward (Dec 01 2007, at 12:06)

I've played "WarioWare: Smooth Moves" at a couple of friends' parties, and it was simple for lots of people to join in quickly and casually, but quite addictive.


From: Alex (Dec 01 2007, at 12:17)

You should look into WarioWare: Smooth Moves. It's a fun absurd hodge-podge of 10-second long minigames and puzzles that do an excellent job of showcasing the different things you can do with a Wiimote, and are a ton of fun with a group of people.


From: Chris (Dec 01 2007, at 12:21)

Rayman is great fun for a gathering and it is as much fun to watch as it is to play.


From: dave (Dec 01 2007, at 12:45)

I've not got a Wii (yet) but if Wario Ware Smooth Moves lives up to it's previous incarnations then it's a must.

Wario Ware basically invented these minigame collections that seem to be overrunning the Wii, but with an extra helping of monty python japanese style madness.



From: Tim Finley (Dec 01 2007, at 12:52)

Wario Ware is pretty good party title. The game is chock full of mini games that only take 5 seconds each. It has tons of moments where those playing embarrass themselves :)

Only problem is that you have to beat the single player mode to get the multiplayer option. On the upside you only need one wii remote to play multiplayer with 2-12 people.


From: D'Arcy Norman (Dec 01 2007, at 13:01)

The new Mario & Sonic at the Olympics game might just push me into buying a Wii...



From: Pedro (Dec 01 2007, at 13:38)

Mario Party 8 is pretty fun for a group. It's easy to learn any of the mini games, so new people don't feel totally stupid when playing with others. Wii Play is another set of games, similar to the Wii Sports. Again, simple learning curve and some fun games.


From: Giovanni (Dec 01 2007, at 14:18)

It's very funny to look at someone playing WarioWare. Sadly, to enable the complete multiplayer game that's what you're going to do. First, finish the game solo, then with the others.

The most useful resources I can suggest to you are:


Where you can find out which games are ok. (No rules, but if it's below 75, you should be careful.) And


Where they tell XML experts if the games are OK for the family...



From: Dan Burke (Dec 01 2007, at 14:42)

I'd recommend Super Mario Strikers Charged. Simple fast multiplayer game, much more accessible and imo fun than more realistic soccer games like pro evo etc.

The online play is great as well.



From: steve minutillo (Dec 01 2007, at 14:46)

Super Mario Galaxy is also great. It has a mode where the main player controls Mario and the secondary player can help collect items and stun bad guys, which is perfect for either a younger kid with a short attention span, or a parent... with a short attention span.


From: Adam K. Bacsalmasi (Dec 01 2007, at 16:07)

I'd go with Mario Galaxy. Although not entirely multiplayer (2 people can play at once) the game is so much fun that a group of 8 people can all take turns and have the time of their lives. It's such a magical experience (the Wii controls make it my favorite Mario title of all time) and the game is just so much fun, original, and did I say fun?


From: Michael Neale (Dec 01 2007, at 16:16)

Oh man, Zelda sucks. I was cussing at it so much my wife told me to stop playing it.


From: Gary Fleming (Dec 01 2007, at 16:38)

To echo what others have said, Wario Ware is seriously good fun and simple enough to pick-up quickly.


From: David Carlton (Dec 01 2007, at 16:49)

Yeah, that first Zelda dungeon is too hard. I'm halfway through Super Mario Galaxy, though, and I think it's rather better, but of course you asked for multiplayer instead of single player.

Honestly, for relatives, I suspect Wii Sports is as good as you'll find. I liked the first Rayman quite a bit (and it's well worth searching youtube for its ads), but I haven't played it a lot on multiplayer, so I don't know for sure how it would work there. Haven't played the new one.

I feel compelled to mention Zack and Wiki, because it doesn't get enough publicity. It's only for a certain kind of person - it's all about environmental logic puzzles - and it's single player, so doesn't meet your criteria, except that there have been several levels that neither my wife or I would have been able to solve alone, but have managed to figure out with one of us playing and the other of us suggesting things to try. Great game for its niche, but its niche is perhaps rather small...


From: Casey (Dec 01 2007, at 17:05)

I also second Raving Rabbids for family fun, my younger son loves it. I recommend Metroid 3: Corruption for more challenging action/adventure if you find Zelda too easy.

I heard Mario Party 8... IMO not worth the money, graphics are ugly, pace is frustrating, better off playing a real board game with the family.


From: Mark (Dec 01 2007, at 18:08)

Rayman Raving Rabbids is hours and hours of silly family fun.


From: Zach Moazeni (Dec 01 2007, at 19:07)

I felt the same way. Bought the Wii with Zelda. My wife wanted Mortal Kombat (go figure).

I really started enjoying the Wii with games like Mario Galaxy, Metroid (kinda like Zelda for Science Geeks), and Guitar Hero

Mario Party is fun board-like game for groups. I'm excited for Mario Kart to come out.

It's also nice to buy the old NES and SNES game as I grew up with them.

As for shooters, I haven't found anything really catching my eye, however Medal of Honor or Call of Duty has caught my eye (I can't remember which one, I keep getting them mixed up)


From: David Terei (Dec 01 2007, at 19:49)

I'm not a fan of Wii at all, there just isn't enough good titles on it yet.

Mario Galaxy is a really great game that every wii owner should have but its not really multi-player. Although if only a small group (say 2-3) then just taking turns is lots of fun.

I disagree with other peoples recommendation of Wario Ware Smooth Moves. Its multi-player in the sense that each player takes turns. The old Wario Ware for Gamecube was a lot better since it had proper multi-player with all four players playing at once in many of the mini-games.

I would recommend you pick up some gamecube games since there still the best multi-player Wii has to offer. So Super Smash Brothers and the original gamecube version of Wario Ware.


From: Avi Flax (Dec 01 2007, at 20:41)

Mario Strikers Charged has been a big hit at my company, it's a lot of fun. Does have a learning curve, but lots of fun once that's done.


From: Mike Kozlowski (Dec 01 2007, at 21:03)

Yeah, I've been a Nintendo fanboy for a while now (some of the most innovative games ever were made on the Nintendo 64, and the DS is a great portable gaming machine), but the Wii left me utterly cold.

I went to elaborate troubles to hunt one down earlier this year, and I got it home, and was utterly bored. Wii Sports is a neat little tech demo, for 20 minutes, but it's not something that can entertain you for more than that. Zelda felt like a throwback to Ocarina of Time on the N64 (which, don't get me wrong, was a great game, but lots of great games a decade ago don't really cut it today; gaming advances pretty rapidly and steadily). Rayman was cute, but again, just shallow minigames. And plus, while graphics aren't everything, they are SOMETHING, and these games on a big HDTV just look absolutely terrible.

So I figured that, well, I don't care for it very much, but maybe the kid would like it. Nope. He got tired of Wii Sports quicker than I did, and got bored with Zelda before you even get out of Tutorial Village (which, to be fair, is like two hours in, due to the glacial pacing).

Well, okay. So I figured that it'd be great when I had people over. Nope. There was some interest in Wii Sports just out of curiosity, but after one go-through of each game, I had to wheedle to get anyone else to even consider it. At some point, the 360 got turned on and my wife was showing people Viva Pinata, and that was pretty much a hit for a while, and then someone downloaded the Dead Rising demo and played that, and then someone else played Saints' Row and everyone was having fun watching that.

There's a lot of talk about how innovative the Wii is, but really, all it's doing is grafting awkward waggle controls onto warmed-over ten year old games (seriously, didn't you find yourself wishing you could just push a button to swing your sword in Zelda instead of shaking your wrist?). I find the 360 vastly more fun and more interesting -- it's got better games, a much better social networking experience including online play, tons of free downloable demos 'n' stuff, can do nifty media streaming stuff (soon including Divx/Xvid, apparently) and actually supports modern technologies like HDTV.


From: Martin (Dec 01 2007, at 22:20)

Star Wars Lego is addictive ans so easy my 4 year old can play it. He also loves Carnival Games which even my 2 year old can play.


From: Ben Meadowcroft (Dec 02 2007, at 00:49)

I've got to recommend Big Brain Academey, I think it's seriously competitive family fun!


From: Russ (Dec 02 2007, at 04:38)

Hey Tim,

Some thoughts from an *actual* single dad... The Wii is an awesome choice. I've had it for a year now and it's the one console I've kept and love to play with my son (the others I've had and sold). EVERYONE likes playing it - it's great.

I suggest sticking to the the party games other commenters above have suggested (like Rabids, Wario, etc.) and racing titles like SSX-Blur and Pixar's Cars/CarsII as they're easy to pick up and have fun with, but aren't filled with any sort of shooting or violence. Zelda was definitely a bad choice, and so is Mario Galaxy - you want to stay away from the 30-hour hardcore gamer-oriented titles.

My Wii games and thoughts: Elebits got old after a short while and Excite Truck also doesn't get much use. Marble Mania is a great game and SUPER intuitive to play (it really shows off how sensitive the WiiMote's motion controls really are). WiiPlay is great to pick up with the extra controller, but is mostly a technology demo more than anything. SSX Blur and Pixar's Cars are great racing games that have both longer "campaigns" and Arcade style pick up and play settings. I traded in some games recently and got Geometry Wars Galaxies, which is *awesome*, but does trend towards the hardcore gamer.

You'll want to get some cheap/used GameCube controllers so you can have your pick of a ton of great used GameCube games at GameStop or on eBay, the best of which for kids are games like MarioKart Double Dash, Super Mario Strikers, Super Monkey Ball, and the Mario Tennis one as well.

Finally, definitely check out sites like GameSpot: http://www.gamespot.com/wii/ for reviews, videos, etc. before slapping down $50 for a new game.

Hope that helps!



From: Bill Mill (Dec 02 2007, at 08:32)

We had Super Monkey Ball at our last development meeting, it's a game full of minigames, and we had a blast with it.

Our next meeting is coming up, and some people will likely try to challenge my dominance at the one where you fly the little monkey onto the target and try to pick up bananas.


From: Andrew (Dec 02 2007, at 11:08)

There are a lot of great ideas up there, but one that I haven't seen yet that surprised me is this: check out the Wii store online. They've got more than a hundred old games, and some of them are ridiculous amounts of fun. You can check out the Nintendo games from when you^H^H^H I was a kid - there's lots of great choices, and a lot of them are great for parties (but I'd say aimed more at the 18+ crowd, as there is a nostalgia factor to playing).

And I think that Zelda is one of those things that is great if you happen to have played all the Zelda games before. I really enjoyed Twilight Princess, myself, but I think that it's really not for 90% of the people out there. There's a *lot* of gameplay and story to slog through.


From: Eliot Kimber (Dec 02 2007, at 16:02)

Dudes: Guitar Hero III--super party game. Just get a second guitar so you can do co-op or competitive modes.

It's too bad that GH I and II aren't available for the Wii.

I'd actually recommend buying a used PS2 just to play GH.

Or buy an XBox360 and get Rock Band.

I have a projection system so the Wii bowling feels almost real and it's great for all ages, but not exactly a party game (why not just have the party down at the Dart Bowl?).

I can vote for Super Mario Galaxy as well.

And Lego Star Wars is excellent and the co-op mode is very nice.

And I like being able to play Super Mario 64 when I feel like it...


From: Noah Tye (Dec 03 2007, at 03:38)

Zelda is hard at first, but across the series, the puzzles are remarkably similar. After playing a few series titles, they become trivial (and repetitive).


From: Bojan Zimonja (Dec 03 2007, at 10:16)

Multiplay-wise, I'd recommend renting Mario Party 8 and Mario Strikers: Charged. Party is a bunch of mini-games unified by a boardgame theme. I enjoyed it, since I never played any of the other Mario Party games.

Charged is souped-up version of football (euro-variety) that allows both competitive and cooperative play. It's definitely fast-paced and hectic, especially if you play on a stadium that includes environmental hazards.

Guitar Hero III would be a good choice if Activison hadn't screwed up the Wii version - all the tracks are in mono. Until they figure out how to resolve it, I'd recommend keeping away from it.

If you don't mind invensting in controllers, Gamecube had some good multiplayer games, such as Mario Kart: Double Dash, Super Smash Brothers Melee and Super Monkey Ball 1 and 2.


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