07 April 2010
Since it was first announced more than three years ago, the Nintendo Wii’s central selling point has remained its interactive nature. We’ve seen Wii Fit and snowboarding games with nifty looking peripherals and pilates games and a whole other series of stuff that takes gaming off the couch.
But the notion that this whole thing was some sort of new technology befuddled me. After all, when I first heard about the Wii, my mind instantly traveled to a simpler time when I didn’t work or drive. To me, the whole concept seemed cheap and under-handed.
Why? Because of Track and Field of the NES. Long before video game controllers had joy sticks and motion sensors, there was a gray mat covered in blue and red dots that allowed gamers to run sprint races and jump hurdles. There was even a long jump portion that, despite my sincerest efforts, couldn’t be tricked by my jumping onto a nearby chair.
The graphics were what you would expect from a NES title and the game was repetitive, but it was Nintendo Wii 25 years before Nintendo Wii. It even had some of the Wii’s corniness (like that dumb music in the Wii bowling alley) by way of competitors whose names mirrored difficulties.
Yes, the game may not have had the level of interaction we see from today’s Wii titles, but that little gray mat could sure take a beating and I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who could get through the varying degrees of difficulty with each stage.
Today, my Nintendo Wii gets turned on about once every couple months. I like the system, I just don’t like jumping up and down alone in my bedroom when I can avoid it. When I had Track and Field, however, I never let up on the thing. Maybe it was the novelty that came with the game’s mat, maybe the title was just well done.
In either case, I’m still waiting for my Wii to give me the enjoyment I got from a much simpler game from a much simpler time.
By George Morse