The Wii, the Revolution, the era of motion controls, bathroom scales as peripherals and fun for all. It can be a bit of a trendy thing to tease the Wii, as if its concept of introducing new control schemes and luring traditional 'non-gamers' into being gamers was somehow bad - well, it was actually brilliant. Sure, the Wii had flaws like every other console ever conceived, but alongside the DS it introduced a lot of new people to gaming - what a wonderful thing.
It also had some top-notch games that could benefit from lovely HD visuals and silky framerates.
The recent launch of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD was interesting for a lot of reasons, one of which was technical. The Digital Foundry report on the game highlighted that, unlike the Super Mario 3D All-Stars compilation's version of Super Mario Galaxy, the SS re-release seems to utilise the original Wii code in clever ways. It's not emulating but also doesn't need a complete overhaul of code - we think that's the jist. Ultimately we have a version of the game that has beautifully clean visuals and a silky 60fps performance. It's a re-release in which developer Tantalus and Nintendo have seemingly worked smarter rather than harder.
Digital Foundry makes the point that, if Nintendo has developed clever tools to aid clean and effective improvements to Wii games, perhaps it opens the door to more similar releases. Yes, we're all thinking of the constantly / tiresomely rumoured Metroid Prime Trilogy, and as a huge fan of those games I may spontaneously combust when / if that is revealed. But playing Skyward Sword and rediscovering how fun motion controls are, to me at least, has made me think of another Wii game I'd love to see.
Maybe it's a result of writing this in the middle of a rather warm Scottish summertime, but I'd love a shiny version of Wii Sports Resort. I'm well aware that, for some, this'll prompt reaching for the pitchfork-sharpening kit.
I've been very much enjoying the motion controls in Skyward Sword HD, remembering that there's child-like fun to the game mimicking my questionable swordplay. While I understand not everyone has been enjoying the adjustment from sensor bar-based motion to a purely gyroscopic solution, I've been impressed. I've established a habit of tapping Y frequently to 'centre' the sensor, as the problem is my inconsistent positioning rather than the technology. When the cursor wanders I look down and, yep, my hand has lazily moved the controller. Frequent Y presses have become an instinct and, now that I'm in the habit, the controls have been terrific.
Throwing a frisbee for a cute dog, slightly erratic but fun Wave Race-style power cruising, the impressive archery, they were just fun.
Which brings us to Wii Sports Resort. Arguably, if Nintendo was going to do the unlikely and revive Mii-based sports we'd probably get another iteration of the standard Wii Sports, like the poor-old underappreciated Wii Sports Club on Wii U. Yet I much preferred Resort back in the day, which had the classics of Bowling and Golf along with some fun variety and the awesome Wuhu Island, which I recall Shigeru Miyamoto describing as more a character than a location.
The visuals and music were utterly charming - classic escapism gaming. Throwing a frisbee for a cute dog, slightly erratic but fun Wave Race-style power cruising, the impressive archery, they were just fun. My favourite events were those that took us around the island - Air Sports was a precursor to Pilotwings Resort, with varied neat ways to fly around. Canoeing didn't feel the most natural to me but was a pleasure, and though the Cycling had motions that arguably had little relation to the real thing - tricky to recreate with a Remote - the act of racing in a sort of Tour de Wuhu Island was possibly my favourite part of the whole game.
I enjoy it when motion controls are done well, which they are for the most part in Resort, but it was also the setting and presentation that helped elevate the experience for me. It was a location and set of activities that were full of sunny optimism and Nintendo charm, the sort of Holiday I'd have if I was both rich and athletic. A dreamy island and sports to suit any mood, fun both solo and especially with others in multiplayer. Perhaps familiarity with motion controls meant that Resort didn't have the cultural impact of the original Wii Sports - though its sales were still very impressive - but it definitely won me over.
Above are all the sports via SuperMarioBlitz, probably emulated in HD which gives an impression of how it could turn out on Switch.
Nintendo briefly took us back to Wuhu Island in the aforementioned Pilotwings Resort on 3DS, a famously glitched course in Mario Kart 7 (which was then patched) and also in a rather cool Smash Bros. stage. They're all reminders of an excellent setting that Nintendo had created.
I, for one, would love to go back for another visit with some crisp HD visuals.
Maybe next Summer...