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Controller Freak

Chad Sapieha leads you deep into the world of games, covering gaming trends

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Wii Sports Resort comes to TO two days early Add to ...

The Canadian launch party for Wii Sports Resort was held Friday at Ontario Place in Toronto. Set to release on Sunday, the Wii Sports sequel comes bundled with Nintendo's new MotionPlus, an attachment for the Wii remote that greatly enhances the accuracy of the system's motion-based controls.

Composed of a dozen events, Wii Sports Resort follows the same formula as its predecessor, offering players quick, bite-sized bits of interactive entertainment best enjoyed in a group setting. I gave it a whirl, and I thought the new activities did a great job of showing off the capabilities of the MotionPlus.

I batted an opponent with a make-believe rubber sword in a fencing game and appreciated how my virtual sabre mimicked the movements of my Wii remote almost perfectly. I flicked my wrist to throw digital discs in Frisbee Golf, and was completely satisfied with how the flying dish followed a path that seemed true to my toss. And in another game I piloted a plane by holding the remote as though it were a paper airplane, tilting and dipping it to make my airborne avatar move in identical fashion.

Simply put, there are no simple swipes or waggles; what you do with the Wii remote is pretty much exactly what you see on screen. It's the sort of control we all imagined the Wii would offer when it first launched-a few years late, perhaps, but better late than never.

Of course, one-to-one control isn't always a blessing. For one, it means you can no longer blame your poor performance on an imprecise interface. For another, it means that some of the games take a bit longer to master. For example, table tennis, which lets players hit forehands, backhands, and apply spin by tilting the remote, requires much more skill than the tennis game in the original Wii Sports, which only required players to make an uncomplicated swinging motion. That said, the extra depth makes putting a little extra time into the game far more rewarding.

The original Wii Sports has been bundled with each of the 51-million Wii consoles sold. That means this seemingly unassuming franchise has a built-in fan-base like no other this generation. Consequently, I suspect Wii Sports Resort will sell more than ten million units worldwide by Christmas, and come close to 20 million in its first year, making it a billion dollar game. Only a handful of films can claim the same.

It might sound like a bold prediction for such an unpretentious little title, but it suggests no more than that it will sell on pace with Nintendo's last peripheral-based release, Wii Fit. Make no mistake; Wii Sports Resort will be the best selling video game of 2009.

Follow me on Twitter: @ chadsapieha

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