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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Wii
PUBLISHER:
Nintendo
DEVELOPER:
Nintendo
GENRE: Sports
PLAYERS:   1-4
RELEASE DATE:
November 19, 2006
 Written by John Scalzo  on January 22, 2010

Special: Waggle waggle waggle has become the new wakka wakka wakka.


The Most Influential Games of the Decade
Grand Theft Auto III | Halo
Guitar Hero | Wii Sports

Though numerous high-quality games are released every year, only a handful truly make an impact on gaming as a whole; the kind of games that shape future development as developers and publishers scramble to get in on the Next Big Thing. Gaming Target's Most Influential Games of the Decade separates the wheat from the chaff by revisiting one of the most fascinating decades in gaming history, to pluck five games from a very competitive ten-year cycle. Each game did something so huge that it either affected how games are made, solidified a console as a legitimate must-own, or altered how we played games. This isn't a list of the best games of the decade; instead these are the games that you'll look back at in twenty years and remember how they influenced an entire era.

When it comes to the Nintendo GameCube, people's opinions of it fall into two distinct camps. Some shout at the top of their lungs, "It was a failure!", even though the Cube and the original Xbox had equal install bases. Others will talk about how the system was a healthy rebound from the misstep that was the Nintendo 64 (saleswise, if not softwarewise). Both camps agreed that Nintendo needed to try something different with their next system, then known as the Revolution.

The Revolution Will Be Televised
And try something different they did. The Revolution gave way to the revelation that Nintendo's next system would be controlled using a two-piece setup that, through the use of a motion sensor and acceleromator, matched a player's movements to their characters on the screen. When the Revolution stepped aside and the Wii took over, Nintendo revealed just what this meant for the video game industry by announcing Wii Sports. Combining tennis, baseball and golf (boxing and bowling would be added to game just a few months before it's release) with the system's newly revealed Miis outlined perfectly how the Wii would use motion controls to change the game.



Wii Are the Champions... of the World!
After the Wii was released in November 2006 it took the world by storm. Due to the game's extensive use of motion controls, Wii Sports was included with the console as a pack-in game. This way, Nintendo was able to made the game serve as an introduction to the Wii hardware for everyone who purchased the system. And while it has become a bit of a fanboy cliche now, a large number of people initially purchased the system solely to play Wii Sports. Although with good reason, as to this day there are few Wii games that utilize motion controls as well as Wii Sports. Wii Sports has even broken beyond the boundaries of what people think of as a typical video game as schools, libraries, senior centers and other organizations have set up "Wii Days" using Wii Sports (especially bowling).

The game's popularity encouraged other developers (and Nintendo themselves) to expand on the idea of Wii Sports. Nearly every publisher has publisher their own Wii Sports-inspired minigame collection. Some of them, such as Deca Sports, are actually decently fun in their own right. While others are just slapped-together shovelware designed to prey on unsuspecting Wii owners looking for a game that's just Wii Sports.

But it was Nintendo themselves who really took the ideas in Wii Sports and pushed them to every corner of the gaming globe. The game's integration of Miis popularized the little characters so well that Nintendo (and many third party publishers) have added Mii support to a wide variety of games. Microsoft and Sony even got into the player-as-character act with Avatars and PlayStation Home.

The pickup-and-play idea of Wii Sports led Nintendo to eventually create the Wii line of games. While not as well received as Wii Sports, Wii Play and Wii Music have their fans. But it was Nintendo's expansion of the game's Fitness Mode that birthed the biggest success of the Wii line of games: Wii Fit. Once again, people that never considered themselves gamers were scooping up Wii after Wii to get a chance to get healthy with Wii Fit and its Balance Board peripheral. Of course, Wii Fit has in turn influenced a huge number of other exercise games like EA Active and Walk It Out!

Wii Sports was eventually given its a sequel, Wii Sports Resort, last year. Expanding on bowling and golf, the game added ten other sports to series (including the excellent Swordplay). It also paved the way for the creation of the Wii MotionPlus, a Wii Remote add-on that makes the motion controls more accurate.

All of this culminated with Wii Sports becoming the bestselling game of all-time in January 2009.

Wii-match?
Three years on, does Wii Sports still hold the same kind of appeal it did in 2006? Sort of. The sports themselves are still fun to break out now and again, especially among a large group who may not be as familar with the game. Watching someone play Wii Sports for the first time will always be a timeless experience. Since Wii Sports was designed to be an introduction to the Wii (and motion controls in general), it is not a game that can be played over and over again without the novelty wearing off. But that is also what makes it the perfect pack-in game.

Wii-ere do we go from here?
People continue to flock to the Wii. The system has become the fastest selling console of all-time and it doesn't look like its popularity will begin to wane anytime soon. So new gamers will be introduced to Wii Sports all the time. Wii Sports, its sequel and the entire Wii line of games will continue to be popular and continue to change the way we think about video games. While Nintendo's next innovation may not be as huge and motion controls and a tennis racket you have to swing with a controller, it will likely be the only thing that will change gaming as much as Wii Sports did. And just think, all of this started because Nintendo wanted a cute little game that would help introduce players to the motion controls on the Wii. That's why it is one of Gaming Target's most influential games of the first decade of the 21st century.



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