In the three weeks the Nintendo Wii gaming console has been on the market, it has destroyed more television sets and LCD screens than any other game system could ever dream of.
Nintendo released the Wii on Nov. 19 in the United States and Canada. Since then, the Wii has sold more than 600,000 units – almost three times that of the PlayStation 3 which was released around the same time. The Wii costs around $250 and comes with the game Wii Sports, which includes Wii Bowling.
The wireless controller for the Wii uses a motion-sensing technology in order to move objects on the screen. Games like Wii Bowling have the player swing the controller as if they are rolling a bowling ball; the ball is then thrown down the lane. This can result in a lot of fun, but potentially a lot of destruction.
Some students at CU have even injured themselves playing the Wii. Tom Josephson, a senior computer science major, was playing Wii Baseball, another game included in Wii Sports.
“I was playing the baseball game, where you have the controller and throw it like your pitching a ball, and I was really getting into it and throwing it hard,” Josephson said. “Within the next two days my back was feeling bad and I had thrown the right side of my back out.”
The Wii remote – nicknamed the “Wiimote” – is reminiscent of the older Nintendo controllers and has very few buttons, unlike many of the controllers for modern systems, and it is small and easy to hold. The Wiimote also has an attachment called the Nunchuk for two-handed gaming.
Nintendo knows the damage that the Wii controller can cause, and has posted a warning on their Web site under “Health and Safety Precautions.”
“If you are having so much fun that you start perspiring, take a moment to dry your hands,” the warning stated. “If you use excessive motion and let go of the Wii Remote, the wrist strap may break and you could lose control of the Wii Remote.”
Phil Wrede, a fifth year senior in the English and film departments, has a lot of fun with the Wii. He said he thinks it is a great piece of technology but finds all the safety warnings Nintendo has put out to be pretty amusing.
“I still think that all of the safety warnings are pretty funny,” Wrede said. “This week I got the Wii online set up, where you link your Wii online account to your e-mail account. They sent me an e-mail this week making sure I had a grip on the controller. It was probably because of all the accidents people have been having.”
Some Web sites are even showcasing some of the damage the Wii has caused. The Web site wiihaveaproblem.com has pictures of various television and stereo equipment damage. The Web site even has a picture someone made on an Etch-A-Sketch of a Wii remote stuck in a TV.
Wii have a problem posted this message on its Web site:
“Wii have a problem is a blog focused on bringing you the latest trend in gaming violence. That of damage caused by ‘window lickers’ who should not be participating in activity of any form… yet own a Wii. Why? Because we’re fanboys, that’s why.”
Nintendo is already developing a strong fan base a few weeks into the Wii’s release. Even though the system was initially geared toward younger gamers, older gamers who are sick of all the monotony and average gameplay of other console games may switch over to the Wii just to let out some stress and break something expensive.
“There was a video on the Internet of a guy in an office playing the Wii on the flat screen,” Wrede said. “He whipped the controller into the TV. It didn’t damage the TV, but it broke part of the controller off.”