Monday, December 06, 2010

A Wii bit of a change! Buying tips for newbies

It’s a cold December morning and I've finally decided it’s about time I joined the rest of the masses and upgrade my ~cough~ SNES to Nintendo's Wii.

Some may ask why it has taken me so long and the simple answer is ignorance - I hadn’t a clue what to get (although the Wii is probably the obvious follow on from the SNES for me), where to get it and whether I'd like it or not. After all, the reason I am still so attached to my 15-year-old SNES is because I can play my favourite classics such as Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, Paper Boy, Addams Family, Crash Bandicoot... the list of my retro favourites is truly endless.

So there I was in a gigantic superstore surrounded by countless deals: ‘Wii deal of the day, get this console with X amount of games for X amount of money’ - funnily enough there isn’t a Buy One Get One Free deal though!

I had a nervous nagging feeling that told me to just go for it, with an inner voice saying, "hmm, but can you get a better deal some place else"...

But just as I was about to walk away from the store, I saw it - the best deal in the world. A red 25th anniversary Wii console, with not just one game but four (two featuring Mario, Wii Sports and Donkey Kong) - with a nunchuk thrown in for good measure. And all for £149.99 – what a bargain!

At home, I rip off the packaging and have a look inside to see what I've just purchased. It all looks good but... wait a minute, there's no Donkey Kong! I ring the store and get the ‘salesman of the month’ who claims Donkey Kong isn’t part of the deal. Hmm! So I ask to speak to the manager, who politely informs me that it's actually preinstalled on the system. Ahh, I see! I coyly say goodbye and feel like a total nunchuk á la idiot.

On reflection, and after many discussions with others, I discover that I'm not alone. There are plenty of people out there who are fairly new to the world of gaming and don't know the first thing about buying a new console.

So, for all your prospective gamers out there, my top tips are:

  1. Shop around – especially during the Festive Season. A week after buying my Wii I saw a "25% off all Wii's" deal (although I still think my deal works out better);
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask advice – talk to other gamers...
  3. If, like me, you're obsessed with retro gaming then make sure you check out the Wii's Virtual Console where you can download classic titles from the NES, SNES, N64, Arcade, Commodore 64, NEOGEO, Sega Genesis, Sega Master System and TurboGrafx 16;
  4. Price comparison web sites – these really are all the rage and can be good for letting you compare the best deals – a good UK-based site is Wii;
  5. Do some console research, especially if buying for someone else. Although a Wii is the right console for me, some may prefer alternatives like Kinect on the Xbox 360 or the PS3 Move. Alternatively, they may find it a little too active and just prefer the consoles with out the motion control?