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Climbing the learning curve with Wii Sports Bowling

Kyle Orland

Since Nintendo announced the motion sensitive control scheme for the Wii, there has been a lot of debate over how easy the new controller would be to learn and use well. Would the natural motions be completely intuitive, as Nintendo claimed, or would swinging an arm actually end up being harder than pushing a few buttons. Now that we actually have a Wii console in our grasps, we decided to find out how our skills with the controller developed over a few games of Wii Sports: Bowling. Read on to see how quickly our skills developed.

Game 1:
Having trouble letting go of the "B" button in mid-swing. The result is a late throw that ends up dribbling down the lane for a few pins. Score: 110

Game 2: Better with the timing, but the ball has a natural curve at the end that makes most shots miss the mark just barely. Score: 116

Game 3: Consciously focusing on keeping the ball straight. Throwing it at less than full power seems to help. Score: 146

Game 4: Confident in the straight game, I focus on adding some spin to the end of the shot. Most shots end up too turning too much or too little. Score: 145

Game 5: Working off a surprise strike from game 5, I decide to try a standard first shot for all ten frames -- full power, straight on from the right edge with maximum leftward spin. I get two strikes but miss a few easy spares. Score: 147

Game 6: I try shooting with an approach from the extreme left side, angled towards the center with a slight spin. No strikes, but I pick up the spare on all but one frame. Score: 166

Game 7: No set strategy -- I pick shots based on flights of fancy. Pick up eight spares and two splits. Score: 159

Game 8: Arm is getting a little tired from 140+ straight throws without a break, so I try to fool the system by sitting down and just flicking my wrist. The results are disastrous. Score: 111

Final thoughts: My virtual bowling skills have definitely improved even over one short play session. Compared to the random flailing of the first game, I feel I've gotten much better at using finer movements to control shot power and aim. Throwing straight shots is pretty easy, though controlling the amount of spin on the ball is still a little difficult. Strikes still come extremely rarely, but picking up most simple spares comes relatively naturally after only a few games. Overall there's still room for improvement, but it will probably take a lot of work to break 200.

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