Review Of Wii Chess

Posted on 5th June 2008 by admin in Game Reviews

Nintendo of America, Inc. is really getting fancy on us now! They’ve come out with a chess game-woo hoo! Ok, all sarcasm aside, it is a bit surprising that the company who is largely responsible for the existence of a video gaming industry in the first place would come out with something this simple, this late in the game (pun intended, of course).
But if you look back at Nintendo’s legacy (and that means acknowledging where they have been as well as where they are now), you’ll see a company that has come full circle, yet always stayed true to their original vision. Undoubtedly, their goal for consoles back in the early 80’s with the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) was to build game systems aimed at families. The concept behind building these (and the accompanying games) was also to create entertainment universally appealing to various age groups.

Chess Crusade for Nintendo Wii

Destination Software 2008, Video Game, $19.99

Fast forward and more than two decades later they are obviously doing the same thing with the Wii and many of its titles. (Look at the still-cartoon-oriented Mii’s and Super Mario saga for proof.)

So when you really think about it, it’s no surprise Nintendo would come out with a chess game for the new millennium. Ok, so let’s look at the game, shall we?
If you like chess, you’ll be right at home with Wii Chess. If you’re new to the game or need to sharpen up your skills, this Wii title is a welcome addition to your collection. If you’re really passionate about your chess, you’ll be impressed to know that playing against “the computer” on this game means playing against a computer that took third place in 2008’s World Computer Chess Championship in Amsterdam!
As you might assume, chess is best enjoyed against a human opponent, and Wii Chess (of course) passes with flying colors on this count. You can play online or against another player in person. Each player will have an ongoing player rating which will go up or down depending on your wins. If you quit a game, it will negatively affect your score (and conversely, positively affect that of your challenger).
As far as controls, some may find it strange that the game doesn’t employ the Wii Remote’s (I like to call it the Wii-mote) innovative physical movements that has made it so popular and acclaimed the world over. (This controller arguably set the system apart from its competition and has helped to boost Wii console sales.) Personally, I like the fact that all you do to play the game and navigate menus is to use the D-pad on the Wii Remote.

Chess is (one might say) a “retro” game, and the Wii Remote has a retro styling (similar to our beloved NES controllers). So, as such, it seems fitting, logical and comfortable to design the game and its controls in a way which pays homage to the nostalgia factor of both.

Wii Chess does have a variety of difficultly levels. Thus, again, both newbies and bona fide chess champs will be at home here. If you get stuck when playing verses the computer, the system will give you hints if you get stuck or need help.

Simplicity was obviously the aim. Nintendo apparently went with the “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it” angle on the classic game of chess. Naysayers might argue against this choice (the game has very little in terms of flashy graphics or game layout). But anyone who knows how much pleasure and strategy goes into the sport of chess in the first place, knows that Wii hit the mark by not changing a thing.

So no, there is nothing new under the sun with Wii Chess. It is just good old chess with a nice look but nothing too over-the-top. Great to introduce this classic game to the latest generation, and a blast into the past for the rest of us!

“Do one thing and do it well,” right? At the end of the day, the genius of simplicity that is Nintendo has done it again. Nintendo is no gaming dummy! (After all, we’re talking about a company which has been making games for nearly 120 years-and got their start nearly a century before video games were even thought of!)

Wii sales are proof that simple is not only good but also constitutes the universal appeal for which the Nintendo brand has always been intended. Wii Chess is no exception.
“Wii” love it! 10/10

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1 Comment »

  1. Chess Fan says:

    Fantastic. I love playing chess. I’ve always found it difficult to play chess on a computer but i think with this i might be able to get over my inabilities. Seeing as when you’re using the WiiMote it will appear as if you’re actually using your hands.


    Posted on June 10, 2008, 11:15 am

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