Saturday, January 5, 2008

Wii's Gots A Bit Of A Problem Here!

Emergency rooms aren't fun, especially on Christmas Day. But that's many people found themselves this year...thanks to their new Wii. Nintendo has finally succeeded in getting kids off the couch and moving around. But the new approach is turning out to be more exercise than some players bargained for.Injuries and the Wii are not uncommon. You'll may recall Nintendo had to beef up the straps on the controllers because people were swinging them more forcefully than anticipated. The original straps would break, sending the controllers (or Wii-motes in gamer jargon) into TVs, furniture, ceiling fans, people, etc. But accidents still happen. Just surf the Net. is full of Wii-violence videos.

Some tennis players suffer from tennis elbow, now it looks like some Nintendo Wii players are suffering from a similar injury dubbed 'Wii elbow.' There even is a new website out there that records recent Wii injuries, broken electronics, and household items that have been broken by the use of the Wii. The site includes pictures of damaged items and humorous Wii comics and images. The blog is called “Wii Have A Problem.” Their welcome message reads: “Wii have a problem” is a blog focused on bringing you the latest trend in gaming violence. That of damaged electronic loved ones caused from Wii related activities. Why? Because we’re fanboys that’s why.

One of the Wii's distinguishing features is a motion-sensitive technology that requires players to act out their character's movements, wielding the game's controller like a sword or swinging it like a tennis racket. The new console has been wildly successful, selling out at stores and winning high marks from critics and game buffs. But as players spend more time with the Wii, some are noticing that hours waving the game's controller around can add up to fairly intense exertion -- resulting in aches and pains common in more familiar forms of exercise. All those flailing arms can sometimes inadvertently smack into lamps, furniture and even competing players.

Nintendo itself warns players about this risk just before some of the games begin. A message flashes up on the screen saying: "Make sure there are no people or objects around you that you might bump into while playing." Some Wii games also have pop-up reminders every 15 minutes advising gamers to take a break. The Wii, which retails for $250 or more, comes with a remote control-size device that communicates wirelessly with a sensor sitting on the TV. It also comes with a secondary device -- which attaches via a cable to the first device -- that can mimic a variety of objects, from fishing rods to samurai swords.

And to prevent breakage, one company has a new product is due soon that should protect your precious HDTV, even if you should manage to demolish every other object in your living room during a fitful round of Wii-ing. Looking at it, it seems nice enough, but given the erratic world of Wii controller airborne trajectories, it doesn't seem to be particularly ricochet-proof.

And as more people play with their Wii post-Christmas, we'll see more damage and hear more tales. The Consumer Product Safety Commission hasn't published any reports yet, but it's a little early yet. Just give it some time. Some folks have a problem taking responsibility for their actions. And lawyers love that. The Wii is successful and a frivolous lawsuit or two is probably coming. It used to be embarassing if your were caught playing with your it's a status symbol. Oh, how times have changed!