Narrowing years of gaming experiences down to a favourite ten titles is something that’s taken me years to get comfortable with, but I’m finally doing it.
My number six spot goes to…
(2006, 2009, 2013)
Director: Takayuki Shimamura
Soundtrack: Kazumi Totaka
Players: 1-2 simultaneous
Platforms: Wii, Wii U
I played it on: Wii, Wii U
. . .
How the hell could a mini game make the list of my top games of all time?
I’ve asked myself that so many times.
I mean, I’m only talking about one part of a game.
Well, I’m talking about one part of three games, or rather one part of three versions of one game.
Hmmm. Confusing. So should I include it on this list? Was it fair, or even realistic? I wasn’t sure.
But then I remembered. This is my blog, my list, and my rules.
So here we are.
While the Resort and Club editions of bowling had more refined controls and minor cosmetic upgrades, I’m thinking of all three versions as one single undertaking.
So as we move forward in the article, let it be understood that when I say bowling, I mean the Wii Sports Bowling experience as a whole.
By the way, this means the apostrophe in the title at the top of this article is correctly used.
Wii Sports Resort came at a time where I was living with my four best friends, we had an epic house we shared and each of us owned at least one current console.
Mario Kart Wii is without a doubt the game we played the most across any platform of that generation. The latest FIFA game on the 360 might have tied for second with the Wii version of Grand Slam Tennis.
(Incidentally, a WiiWare title called TV Show King was probably a close third. What fantastic value for money that turned out to be.)
Anyway, regardless of what we were about to sit down and play together, nine times out of ten we would start with a game or two of bowling.
Time after time, year after year, we just kept coming back to it. It never got old. We never felt we’d done it all before, despite the fact that I once got a perfect score of 300! (Have a look at that here.)
And now that I think about it, no one ever said “no” to a game of Wii Sports Bowling. Never.
It’s quite remarkable, considering we’re talking about a simply presented little ten-pin bowling game with controls so basic your grandma could (and probably did) play it.
Aside from an incredibly simple level-up system, (you basically get a nicer looking ball to indicate your expert status) there’s basically nothing to bowling but the bowling.
And that’s precisely why it’s one of the best gaming experiences of all time.
Even in the first Wii Sports Bowling, your motions translated into the game with the kind of consistent accuracy other Wii games, including the rest of the Wii Sports package, weren’t even close to matching.
With Resort and MotionPlus came greater control over the spin of the ball and speed of your throw. These extra nuances took bowling’s already satisfying controls which were, in the grand scheme of things, “good enough”- and made them flawless.
Pulling off a super tricky spare (like a 7/10 split) was now left only to your skills as a bowler, and the satisfaction derived from actually making these kinds of shots is at a level you’ll rarely experience in any other video game.
Yes, for their second (and third) versions of their little bowling mini-game, Nintendo refined the controls so masterfully that despite the bare-bones, cartoonish visuals- it actually felt like you were ten pin bowling, right there in your living room.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again so you can be sure I mean it:
Wii Sports Resort Bowling has the greatest controls ever seen on a home console.
And it’s a hell of a lot of fun, too. It didn’t matter if you were a gamer or not, or whether you’d ever been ten-pin bowling in your life.
You could practice and go after that elusive 300, or you could just pick up a controller and suck at it- either way you’d still have an absolute blast playing.
That’s a rare feat in the world of gaming, and even though this kind of experience was what Wii as a console was built around, no other game on the platform nailed it in quite the same way bowling did.
Tennis might have been the most famous “Wii Sport” at the time and the most remembered now, but of all the activities across the entire Wii Sports series, bowling is the most technically adept, the most accessible, and for me- the most fun.
In fact, Wii Sports’ bowling is some of the best multiplayer fun to be found not just on Wii, but across any platform there’s ever been.
Do you still play bowling? Did you ever get a 300? Let me know by leaving a comment!
You can follow me on twitter: @rustyshell and Miiverse: zinger_AU
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