A Frugal Man And His Wii: Q&A

Wii...One of the most frequent issues that readers write to me about is my thoughts on purchasing a Wii. I mentioned briefly before the five financial lessons that a Wii purchase taught me, but this didn’t seem to sate the questions from readers. So I’m going to take a brief sojourn here and answer all of the questions I’ve received about the Wii. If you have more questions or your own comments, please drop them in the comments.

Answering Reader Questions About My Wii Purchase

Where did you buy it?

First of all, Wiis appear to still be very difficult to find. I bought mine at a local Target that just happened to have two of them left after a shipment came in. I have only seen a Wii actually on a shelf in a store twice and I’ve seen an empty shelf many, many times. I paid the typical $249.99 plus tax price, but I had a 10% off your entire purchase card for Target at the time, so I used it then.

How much have you played it?

I bought the Wii just before I moved (around July 1) and between the moving, a death in the family, and many, many relatives coming to visit, I haven’t had as much time to play as I’d like. I have probably averaged about twenty minutes a day, with the actual reality being about an hour every three days. My wife has played a similar amount, but our play has only overlapped in part. Also, many of my visiting family members played as well.

What are the essential purchases you need?

The system comes with Wii Sports (a truly great game for everyone – it’s just amazing), a single remote, and a single nunchuk controller. The remote is the primary controller for the system – the only time that you use the nunchuk controller (it plugs into the remote to make a nunchuk-like controller with a cable connecting the two pieces for two-handed gameplay) is with the boxing part of Wii Sports and with some of the additional games for the Wii that you might buy.

If you expect to primarily play it with one or two players and don’t know what games you might be playing (the situation I was in), I would also buy Wii Play. It’s a collection of nine more simple games (simpler than the Wii Sports ones, but along those lines) that also includes another remote in the box. That ups you to two remotes, which will enable you and your closest friend (in my case, my spouse) to play all of the Wii Sports games and all of the Wii Play games together.

Does Wii Sports actually get you moving around?

Without a doubt, yes. I’ve worked up a sweat many times playing the games, especially the boxing and tennis games on the included Wii Sports.

What’s the best value for the system?

The Wii also lets you download “classic” video games for a varying cost of $5 to $10 a pop (they’re saved on the Wii itself, so you can just keep replaying them as if you had the old cartridges), and I’ll be the first to confess that this has drawn most of my Wii play time – and perhaps most of my wife’s, too, as she has played Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2 extensively. While I’m not sure they would wow the kids, I grew up playing games like Metroid and Super Mario World, and to be able to have them again on a console hooked up to the television is not only steeped in nostalgia, but a ton of fun as well.

If you played video games as a kid, download a few of your old favorites and play through them again on here. You’ll need to buy the Classic Controller, but after that the games cost between $5 and $10 and you keep them permanently. I’ve found that a few haven’t aged all that well (Punch Out comes to mind), but some have just completely drawn me in again. For my gaming dollar, nothing is as worthwhile as downloading an old console game on the Wii and trying to play through it again.

What’s the best game you’ve played?

Wii Sports, without a doubt. It’s an incredibly well-designed game. Even better – it’s in the box, no extra purchase required. Aside from that, I’ve invested the most time beating Super Mario Bros. 2 again (a downloaded game that cost me $5) and also playing the Wii game Mario Strikers Charged (a very strange soccer game given to me as a birthday gift).

Isn’t it a waste of time?

I mean this as honestly as I possibly can: with the exception of watching two television programs to catch appearances by friends and family members, I have not watched television in six weeks. The only time I’m in front of the television is to play a game on the Wii. It helps me unwind, brings up nostalgic feelings, is a lot of fun to play, and I can put it down with ease and go on to other things. Even better, my wife and I both play it quite a bit – together. Plus, it’s the first console I’ve ever owned where other family members have gotten involved with playing – I haven’t seen my oldest brother touch a video game since his days on the Atari, but he was mixing it up playing baseball and bowling.

If there are more questions, please drop them in the comments.

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