Wii Sports Resort

My youngest son went to Alaska and came home with Wii Sports Resort. (You don't have to go Alaska to get this game but it's nice if you can. You'll be able to snap a couple of pictures of moose, mountains, and – if you travel up to Barrow – vampires.) The official website says there are twelve activities, but if you ask me there are loads more. For instance sword fighting is supposed to be one activity but I think it's really more. There's sword fighting and whacking your opponent off a big structure, there's slicing crazy items up as a referee flings them at you, and there's fighting hordes in a variety of settings, including uphill at a castle at night. That should be at least three activities right there if you ask me.

The slicing things mini game is weird but cute. You can play by yourself or against a friend, although this is somewhat misleading. If you play by yourself you're still playing against other Miis, which are the increasingly difficult Miis you may be familiar with from Wii Sports Boxing for instance. A referee throws things and you slice them apart. If you're the first to slice it properly, in the correct direction, you win the round. Win enough rounds and you win the match and can move on to a harder dude.

The sword fighting against the hordes minigame is too complicated for me (I have some problems with my brain post meningitis, which is one reason I love Wii games, because they let me do things I can't do in real life anymore) but my middle son is a beast at this game. He slashes his way through ridiculous numbers of opponents, fighting on the edge of cliffs, in the castle courtyard and other interesting places. It seems to be quite a workout as he was literally dripping with sweat after one forty-five minute series of bouts, so I recommend it for anyone who wants to get active without having to leave their living room and battle the heat and humidity outside.

The canoeing game, which for some bizarre reason I call the oaring game, as in "Oh noes, I'm oaring as hard as I can but I'm still slower than the ducks," is fun, but tricky. I'm not exactly the most bosomy woman on the planet but for some reason I had trouble with rowing without whacking myself in the chest. (Maybe I'm doing it wrong?) But even so, it's loads of fun and I really enjoyed trying to oar ever increasing distances. There are plenty of obstacles, not just the momma duck and her ducklings. There is pond grass and some other aquatic vegetation as well as these poorly placed barrels that always leap straight into my path! Both my middle son and I experienced a glitch with this game. When we were trying to turn to the left we oared only the right sides of our bodies, which the Wiimote interpreted as oaring on the left, which made us go out of bounds, losing time and causing us to fail spectacularly. This is quite frustrating and since it happened to both of us I don't think it was just a weird "why don't you learn to oar better" fluke.

Wii Sports Resort comes with an addition to the Wiimote called Wii MotionPlus. It's meant to make the Wiimote more accurate and to make you feel more as though you really are playing whatever game you happen to trying. You can really see the difference in games like Frisbee where your motions are quite nicely mirrored by your Mii, but I had trouble seeing a difference in some other games. my children assure me that there really is a substantial difference and I'm just not paying attention. For me the accessory is mildly annoying as I like to play for five or ten minutes then put the game down and read a chapter of my book or whatever and I find I constantly have to recalibrate the thing. Not that recalibrating it is hard – you just set it down on a surface and hold it still but it seems intrusive to me. (Perhaps I'm just spoiled? I really should be able to wait three seconds to play a game shouldn't I?) Also I'm utterly confused by how to attach the nunchuk now and have to get my kids to do it. It's too bad that something that has been very accessible to many elderly and disabled people is now overwhelming to someone like me who has some scarring of the brain. Sports Resort is lots of fun and I'd like to think that anyone who wants to and is physically capable of lifting the Wiimote will be able to play it without having to fetch an assistant.

Speaking of the Frisbee game – this is one you can play with a companion, one of the little dogs you might know from Wii Fit. Because just throwing the Frisbee is clearly enough of a workout the faithful little dog will go and get your Frisbee for you every time you throw it. If you do it right he or she will even leap into the air to catch the disc! (When I was a kid I wanted a Frisbee catching dog and now I've finally got one. I'm so happy!) The goal of the game the way I played it was to hit the target with your Frisbee, sometimes popping balloons as the disc arcs its way towards the target. I'm not so good with a Frisbee in real life but I did well with the Wii version, which made me happy. There's nothing quite like pretending you're good at a sport.

I didn't get a chance to play the rest of the activities before my deadline, mostly because my kids were hogging the game, but I'll report back as I try them out. Before I sign out for the week I'd like to direct you to this site, http://www.snakesonacane.com/, which has been popping up in two or three second commercials on Fox. Long time readers of this column may remember that I am a fan of House, MD. I was quite surprised by the season finale this year and am looking forward to whatever comes next. I believed this site was in support of House as soon as I saw it and each day that ticks by makes me more sure. You might find it of interest.

One-Paragraph Review

This week's one-paragraph review is from Kit Funtastik who writes in to say, "Tim Fite - Songs from Over the Counter Culture - This album is the awesome, and he is giving his album away free online! While his beats and rhyme style are most satisfying, I am most enamored with his subject matter, a smart satire of American culture through liberalizing popular rap messages. I love his complex rhyme rhythms and alliteration flow, nuanced colloquial dialogue repetitions, and beats of simple old school midi sounds to suburban world music violins. His dead voice implies a hidden intensity but leaves me sometimes yearning for a more emotional and epic display, except in his track camouflage which delivers the bang. http://www.timfite.com/songs.html" Do you have a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me for consideration. You can reach me at feedback@qualitytimeweekly.com.