The UX of the Wii

I have had a few days with the Wii and I have to say, it is one of the most innovative and interesting user experiences I have seen in a while.  It certainly deserves to be up there with the iPod/iPhone.  The device itself is small, about the size of a mac mini or a hard cover book.  I have no idea how they pack all that stuff into so small of a package.  It even has WiFi, so I connected it to the internet to get updates.

Setting it up was easy enough.   It has an option for a 16:9 letterbox screen, but I can’t tell what it is doing with it.  They seem to have a cable to get 480p HD resolution.  I think I am going to have to try this.  For $30, why not?

Anyway, the experience was really slick.  The hand controller is wireless and works like magic.  It has force feedback and sound built into it.  You can move it around and even twist it and the system understands gracefully how to deal with that input.  It is pretty sensitive.  I almost wish that it had a “sensitivity” option that I could turn down, but using it for a few hours has changed my mind.  I have become accustomed to it pretty quickly.

The Wii Sports package is pretty nice.  Bowling, Tennis, Boxing, Golf and Baseball are all easy enough for the kids to use.  Even Matthew could play a little tennis. (A very little)  The boxing game was really interesting to me.  I found a way to do medium well, but it involves punching the air very quickly and non-stop for a long, long time.  Seriously, my arms were very tired by the end.  Is this on purpose?  I was sweating.  Is the point of the game to get exercise into people?  If it is, it is even more brilliant than I thought.

The bowling game was very cool. You could control speed, height, spin.  It’s a totally different experience than other games.  It’s also different than actual bowling.  It feels like a new thing.  Wii games don’t feel like other games.

One of the coolest things is the Mii area.  You set up little people who look like you and your family.  Each person gets a Mii.  I think this is absolute genius.  I spent a while making Mii’s for everyone in the family and Jim and Penny and the friends of the kids.  They really look like the people they are supposed to be.  It’s awesome.  You can send these Mii’s out into the internet and they will actually reside on other people’s Wii boxes.

I have only used the Wii for a few days, but already I feel like it is a wonderfully designed device.  Great job Nintendo!

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