Very pretty Want Not reader Candi writes:
I have been very good about avoiding video games for my son, but for Christmas this year, I think it might be time for a Wii. I am very Wii-clueless. I have seen frequent postings on your site about good buys here and there but have not paid much attention. Now, I think it might be time – is it possible to get a short informative post about what is new and current in the Wii games – isn’t there a Wii and a Wii 2? Do you get both? Or just the 2? What is a reasonable price on one of the systems and how much comes with one? Which games are the coolest ones to get? My son is 6 and it is just the two of us.
Don’t worry, Candi! If you have not yet been sucked into the Cult of Wii (motto: Just one more game!), we can help you. And it’s probably easier than you think.
Okay: Back when the Wii first came out, and for a few years, the game system itself cost $240, world without end, amen, and it never went on sale ever. Times have changes and the price has become more flexible, thank goodness. So here’s the scoop now:
The original Wii console comes with the Wii itself, a sensor bar for your television, the Wii Sports game, one wiimote, and one nunchuck. It is currently $199 at Amazon, and you might even be able to find it cheaper somewhere else. However, I have no idea why they’re still selling that, because…
… the next generation Wii console is available for the same price, but with a few key differences:
1) The newer Wii comes with a $20 Amazon Video Games credit, which essentially makes it $20 cheaper than the original.
2) It also comes with an included Wii MotionPlus ($15.50 value), an add-on for the remote that supposedly gives you greater control and accuracy.
3) Furthermore, the new version comes with both Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort ($50 value).
4) And—just in case you care—the new Wii comes in either white or black (the original is only offered in white).
So I’d definitely recommend getting the new one, unless you can find a deal on the old one that basically incorporates in all of those additional offsets/savings, which I don’t think you’ll be able to.
That said, what else might you want, once you buy your Wii? I’d definitely recommend getting a second wiimote, even though it’s slightly horrifying that one with the MotionPlus now runs about $45. (Here: comfort yourself with the knowledge that hey, you’re not paying for Sports Resort, so it kind of evens out.) You may want a second nunchuck, as well.
And just to be perfectly clear: You can absolutely enjoy and play the Wii just as it comes, straight out of the box. But for two-player games that require simultaneous play, you’ll want that second controller.
There’s also an original Wii Fit with Balance Board and the updated Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board. I have the original and I use it to work out; while the balance board can be incorporated into some other games, if this is primarily for your 6-year-old I’d say skip this. It’s expensive and good for fitness but not critical for gaming.
As for games, I’m going to hope others will chime in with their favorites (partly because my kids are older than yours), but I can tell you that our favorite game ’round here is Mario Kart, which I think appeals to all ages. My son in particular is also a huge fan of all things Lego, and most (all?) of those are rated E for everyone.
Another game I love is Rayman Raving Rabbids (the original, though there are lots of others, now), and that drops to around $10 on Amazon every so often.
Now, a little bit of buying advice: I don’t anticipate the console dropping in price much (or at all) before the holidays. That $20 back from Amazon makes the console itself a great deal, already. I could be wrong, of course, but that’s my prediction. What we will see amazing Black Friday deals on will likely be games and accessories, so if it was me, I’d probably go ahead and make sure I got the console before they were impossible to find, and then pick up additional items later, as they showed up on special. Older games will see significant price drops closer to the holidays, which is great if you don’t need the latest-greatest-etc. of everything, which you shouldn’t, because your kid is 6 and this is your first Wii.
Readers: What are your favorite Wii games for smallish children?