Sunday 24 June 2007

This 'Wiiks' news

See that pun there in the title? Genius!
You don't get it? I guess you have never heard of the Nintendo Wii, then, and my savagely funny pun (read: lame) is lost on you. You'd best follow that hyperlink back to Wikipedia and then come straight back - what I'm about to write won't make much sense unless you know what a Wii is. Go on, I'll wait for you here...
Back again? Good. Anyway, after months of initial resistance to buying one ("I don't have time for games these days anyway", I would repeat hollowly to myself) and then months of fruitlessly searching the high streets of Great Britian to find a shop that hadn't sold out of the things (they are selling faster than IPods, and have been permanently out of stock since last November), I finally purchased a Wii at the weekend - and my summary, drawing on 25 years of obsessive-compulsive gaming experience is this: it is very good.
From the evidence so far I can't yet see that it is the revolution in videogaming it is heralded to be, but perhaps that's because it is just so good at what it does - the motion sensing with the controller works so well and so accurately that within minutes you are simply taking it for granted, and that when you swing it like a tennis racquet it will hit the ball onscreen - but it is certainly different, and certainly entertaining. Of more interest to me is the things they are doing with it to change the perception of games as a pastime for spotty geeks who fantastise about Lara Croft into a a more inclusive family activity (lots more adult/family orientated activities and channels, non-gaming services on the platform, etc), and on this front I think they have got it just right: the 'Mii' channel (where you make and save avatars that 'live' inside the machine and that can be used as your characters in games) has kept Amelie and I busy for hours, as we make a series of characters from the stock parts on offer: "Make a princess! Make a Genevieve! Make a cat! Make a Tatty Ratty!"

Speaking of Tatty Ratty, the little yellow dribble-filled sack of annoyance has been up to his usual tricks again. On Monday morning Amelie decided, for reasons unknown, that she would only communicate through the medium of Tatty Ratty - but that instead of his usual rabbits voice (High pitched, but basically English mixed with nonsense - quote: "Bleaaah, bleaaah, bleeeeeeeeah") he would instead croak like a frog. This lasted for 15 minutes - when you asked Amelie anything, she held him up in front of her mouth and just said 'ribbet'. You would think that this would drive me distraction - but the truth is, it was just so confusing, and so early in the morning, that on at least one level I suspected I was still asleep and dreaming the whole thing.
Tatty Ratty then disappeared on Tuesday night, and couldn't be found anywhere in time for bedtime. He turned up the next day in my shoe. That night he went missing again, this time for two days, before he was discovered in the freezer, face down in box of fishfingers. I swear, you start to genuinely think he is doing this of his own accord, and that he simply likes hiding. I have to make a real effort to sometimes remind myself he is a stuffed rabbit, and not a malevolent midget third child.
Amelie is nonplussed by his 'wanderings' (well, of course she is - I do realise she's the one who hides him): she simply shrugs and assumes he has gone to the moon for a holiday and that he will turn up soon. It's just the rest of us who get upset frantically searching for him. And it's not like he will be somewhere logical, like under the bed - apparently we now have to go through all of our frozen foodstuffs on the offchance he is lurking in an open packet of Potato Waffles.