We here at Esquire are at home. Just like you, we’re not used to it. Our free time, when we’re not checking emails and updates and push alerts, stretches on and on. And so we’ve figured out a few ways to fill it that we can’t recommend enough. Here’s one.
I’m learning a lot about myself right now. Currently locked inside my tiny studio apartment with my girlfriend and her cat for the indefinite future, I’ve discovered that kitties made good face pillows. Last night, I found out that homemade cookies can become as thin as peanut brittle if you don’t understand how baking soda works. Huh! And from staying inside all day, I’ve also realized—and I never thought I’d say this—I miss motion controls.
Video games have become one of the few activities stopping me and my partner from going full Stephen King on each other while locked in this 50-square-foot apartment. But as transporting as titles like Breath of the Wild and Red Dead Redemption II can be, they’re not enough. Since the outside world is off-limits, I need a bit more movement in my life than just my thumbs.
So, I bought a Wii last week. I had one before. I sold it off because I couldn’t stand the finicky Wiimotes, with their ridiculous safety straps, flimsy sensor bars, and the never-ending line of peripherals Nintendo forced us to buy (remember Link’s Crossbow Training?). Like most of you who were disappointed in the Wii (and then the Wii U, which was even worse) I was ecstatic to see Nintendo release the Switch in 2017. I thought I’d be happy if I never saw a crusty old Wiimote, Wii Motion Plus, and that dumbass translucent condom that held them both together ever again.
I was wrong. When my Wii arrived last week (god bless the USPS), I felt my body leave the apartment and hover peacefully over the city as I began sanitizing the cardboard, the controller and Nunchuk, and the used copy of Wii Sports Resort. It was all right there, exactly as I’d left it. It felt like opening up a time capsule—video games can really have that special quality sometimes. And when I clicked the console on, the TV began jingling those weird synth menu screen bells, just as I remembered. It was like ASMR for my childhood brain. Sure, I was regressing, but if there was ever a time to step back a few years (or a decade) from today, it’s right now.
Honestly, the menu screen would have been enough. Like the Red Room in Twin Peaks, I could have sat there for hours listening to that strange music, pointing the remote around from square to square, admiring Nintendo’s bizarre decision to have a Weather Channel, a Photo Channel, and an entire News Channel right on the console (did anyone ever even use those?). But we specifically bought this thing for one reason: Wii Sports Resort.
I pushed the disc in and watched my girlfriend skydive onto Wuhu Island. “This is scary!” she said, as she tried to grab a hold of the other dead-eyed Mii characters falling helplessly from the sky toward their new temporary home. That’s how Resort begins, remember? I’ve always wondered what happens to the Miis who don’t make it to the ground. Do they still get to come on the island?
Once you skydive in, the game opens up with a huge synth fanfare. From there, you’re given almost a dozen minigames to choose from, each with multiple levels of difficulty and complexity. The Basketball Three Point Contest leads to a Pick-Up game mode, the Swordplay mode goes on to a Speed Slice challenge, and even the Frisbee contest becomes a full-fledged Frisbee Golf simulator (which, by the way, is my favorite one). But you probably know all this. You probably have some funny memories of your time at the Wii Sports Resort yourself. Perhaps you spent a few moody nights alone in your parents’ living room trying to get under par on the treacherous golf course. Maybe you had one of your first sexual experiences while the Cycling theme played in the background. Or, if you were anything like me, you got so good at Table Tennis that you lost a few of your closest friends. Ah, high school…
I keep hearing how it’s really important to spend some time outside right now. I’m not arguing there; practicing social distancing and wearing a mask reduces the risk of something bad happening. So yes, I’m still walking around my neighborhood when I can. But it’s scary out there, guys. It’s not fun to see your neighbors powering through the streets with their faces wrapped in scarves, heads down. Whenever I get a free 10 minutes, I play a few holes of Golf at the Wii Sports Resort. It’s keeping me normal.
I don’t know exactly what’s going on at the Resort. Is it a Hunger Games-style deathmatch? Are the Miis allowed to leave? Is there punishment for losing these games? What happens to the winner? Whatever the situation is, and believe me, I’ve spent a lot of hours trying to figure it out (I think it might be a cult), I’m thankful to have the escape right now.
Buy a Wii, my friends. And make sure you get one of those sweet Wii-to-HDMI converters for your flatscreen television—my Mii’s skin has never looked so good in that crystal-clear 1080p.