Release Date: November 19, 2006
Platform Played On: Wii
2018 Placement: #72 (-8)
What It Is:
Anyone who was even tangentially related to a gamer in the late 2000s knows what Wii Sports is. The game that got everyone off their ass and waggling a Wiimote. The scourge of televisions, lamps, and other breakable objects before the wrist strap was included. Bowling, tennis, baseball, boxing, and golf – all packaged with simple motion controls that were followed by adorable Miis you could model after yourselves.
It was the pack-in game that defined a generation and everyone (including Nintendo) tried to recapture this lightning in a bottle to various degrees of success – from Sony’s Move to Microsoft’s Kinect, everyone wanted in on motion controls thanks to friends and families who’d never touched a game in their life got interested in bowling a perfect game with their Wiimotes. It brought people together under the same roof in a way gaming hasn’t really seen since due to the increase in online gaming and streaming overtaking local gameplay.
Its simplistic nature was what grabbed everyone – and the fact that it was hella fun.
Why It’s Important To Me:
My parents and family were never truly into video games like I was. I would occasionally play Mario Bros or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a cousin, or my dad would specifically play two games with me on the NES: Side Pocket and RBI Baseball 3, iterations on things he enjoyed in real life – pool and baseball. But for the majority of my life I was the gamer and had friends who were gamers, but that was it.
And then there was the fateful day in 2007 when I brought a Wii home and introduced Wii Sports to my family. My dad nearly broke the TV because he wouldn’t wear the wrist strap, but he was addicted to bowling and golf on the Wii. And when I visited my extended family, every aunt, uncle, and cousin wanted to make a Mii of themselves and participate in bowling or baseball or whatever game they felt like playing.
That doesn’t even take into account the amount of times me and my friends played this together, getting into drunken boxing matches at 3 in the morning or drunken golfing at 3 in the morning…there was a lot of drunken Wii Sports, let me tell you.
My Strongest Memory:
It’s all one big blurry motion controlled haze. There were too many joyous times messing around in the game to single out just one. There was a running contest between two friends where they would challenge each other to boxing and/or golf every time the option to play Wii Sports was given. There were the many, many attempts to throw a perfect game in bowling (and to figure out how to put just the right amount of spin on it).
But honestly how I felt about it was how it brought everyone into my sphere – even people who didn’t play games with me before. Wii Sports was the last time I played video games with my dad and the only time my mom got involved (other than Wii Fit, which doesn’t count as a game) in gaming. It was such a community building game that was unique and the perfect game for the perfect time.
Why It’s #80:
Since we’ve all been caught in a pandemic for a year and craving human contact, the spectre of Wii Sports really hangs over me right now. I’d give anything to bust out my Wii U (since I gave away my Wii), hook up the ol’ Wiimotes, have some friends over and do a good old-fashioned bowling tournament. There was just a sense of joy and camaraderie (and exercise!) that even community games like Jackbox and Among Us can’t quite replicate now. I miss those goofy Miis and those goofy times.