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You, Mii, and A Reflection on the Bizarre Nintendo Wii

Deputy Editor Holly Mitchell opens a time capsule to the electronic obsessions of our childhoods

Content Warning: Mentions of Body Dysmorphia

Before the age of dribbling iPad babies, us 2000s kids were fiending for a screen of our own: the Nintendo DS. I was a goner the day I received a pastel-pink DS circa 2007. It was my introduction to some of the digital franchises I still hold close to my heart today: Animal Crossing, Mario Kart, The Sims, and Cooking Mama. And who of course, could ever forget about Nintendogs? A virtual world to walk, bathe, train, and feed your pixelated pups! I miss it dearly. Where is the petition to bring it to the Nintendo Switch?

A universal experience that seems to be associated with the Nintendo DS was being caught using it at the wrong time. You knew it was a school night, you knew that your mother would see the screen light underneath your bed sheets, and you knew you would get an earful about it. It was a high-risk, high-reward scenario. Especially since you had some yapping to do on Pictochat (the original Notes app, really). 

Like the modern iPad infant, we wanted more; best believe we were going to seethe with rage if we did not get it. Sure, the DS was handheld and cool! But could we do motion-censored activities with an avatar of ourselves looking a bit silly? Could we throttle a remote near the television so much that our parents flinched out of fear for the screen’s safety? A bigger screen meant bigger dreams for us youngsters. Enter: the launch of the Nintendo Wii in 2006. 

When you would first turn on the marvellous Wii, you were likely greeted with the concept of Miis. Miis (or me’s) were an opportunity for us to create ourselves, our entire family, and a random person we crossed paths with one time at the park as a digital, playable avatar. And what is the childhood experience if not combining hilariously unrealistic facial warping features with the Mii Channel theme song – an elevator music-esque bop that would remain iconic in pop culture for years to come? Got sick of the ugly Mii we made? Not a problem! We would simply act as the higher power that we were and remove that Mii from our dimension for good. 

The Mii Channel was just the beginning; the games were still yet to be inserted into the disc slot…

Wii Sports

Perhaps the Wii’s most iconic and beloved series was what I would dub the Wii Sports duology: Wii Sports (2006) and Wii Sports Resort (2009). As one of the best-selling video games of all time, Wii Sports decided that sports such as tennis, baseball, bowling, golf, and boxing were no longer confined to the outdoors. Because we could use the Wii remote to simulate the moves (e.g. swinging a tennis racket) digitally, a new age of athleticism had arrived, and with it, an era of aggressive competition (apologies again to Toby, my younger brother, for the whacks you took when bowling got too heated). 

Wii Sports Resort

Wii Sports is undoubtedly iconic nowadays, but we slobbery screen children still wanted more. Wii Sports got repetitive quickly; thus, Wii Sports Resort became the superior sibling. Being required to skydive into a tropical island named Wuhu Island to play sports? Or being able to “fight” with swords? Well, yes! I was seated for this one, and I would be on the first flight to Wuhu Island if that magnificent place came into existence. Even if the terrifying Mii Matt (an NPC ruthlessly memed these days for his godly strength) was there, I would be too. In short, Wii Sports Resort told Wii Sports to hold its beer and managed to bring wakeboarding, canoeing, dogfighting, archery, table tennis, and much more into our living rooms. Sequels rarely outperform, but like Shrek 2 (2004), I fear Wii Sports Resort sent its predecessor to the grave. 

Wii Fit 

A sister to the Wii Sports duology, Wii Fit sounds like a self-explanatory concept: the Wii keeping you fit! Real Wii veterans saved up their trifling pocket money to buy not only this game but also the glorified electronic yoga mat/scale that came with it: the Wii Fit Balance Board. If you read that and a shiver ran down your spine, I would not blame you. For me, my first run-in with the concept of feeling shame about my body was when playing on this Balance Board. It requires you to stand on it, have your BMI estimated, and in 9/10 cases be informed that your tiny 8-year-old self is somehow “OBESE”. Outrageous. Nintendo was required to release an apology due to this and clarified that the BMI measurement on their stupid Balance Board was inaccurate for those under the age of 20. Too little too late, I say. The damage was done. 

All in all, despite the festering body dysmorphia, Wii Fit was a hoot! There were mini-games to keep yourself “fit”, such as leaning on the Balance Board to catch hula hoops on your Mii, going on runs around the aforementioned sexy Wuhu Island, and a stressful tightrope game that measured balance by putting players in Phillipe Petit’s shoes. You know? That guy who walked on a high wire between the Twin Towers in 1974. Who wouldn’t want to get fit by sweating through their palms while walking on an imaginary high wire? Wii Fit also featured a “traditional” workout mode, where you could practice yoga with a trainer. Here, you could select a male or female trainer. I personally opted for the female, who by the way was WAY too hot for a Wii game. Those flop Mii’s could never. 

After drafting this article and reminiscing on what I view as the Wii Holy Trinity, a glaring realisation came to me: I could rattle on about the Wii’s cultural legacy alarmingly more than the average person. For my sanity and your own, I will sum up two honourable mentions: 

Mario Kart Wii

It is an unforgettable treasure for good reason. If you have never played this game, I truly feel for you. Coconut Mall? Mushroom Gorge? Rainbow fucking Road? I cannot fathom a day when the undeniably successful Mario Kart franchise will come to an end – unless they take that lanky menace Waluigi out of the character pool. I, at least, will not pick up the steering wheel remote ever again. 

The Just Dance Series

When a video game shares a name with a Lady Gaga song, how could it be anything but a hit? This game had us youngsters up off the couch, the Wii Remote strapped tightly to our wrists, and dancing horridly to the likes of Katy Perry and Boney M. You may have even experienced boogie-ing while family members argued in another room. To that, it was important to just turn up the volume and keep those good vibes going!

Just as the DS came and went, so unfortunately did the Wii. These days, we have the Nintendo Switch to fill the void. iPad babies sure are not taking the wonderous Nintendo path, which leaves us young adults with the task of working like hounds to feed our pixelated towns on games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons or Stardew Valley. Or perhaps you’re a Pokémon fanatic, clutching onto nostalgia despite the ever-changing platforms and constant competitors for your attention. Whatever your game of choice, time has proven that we will never stop fiending for the screens. Long live my best-spent screen time, the Nintendo Wii!


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