I sorta made a point of disparaging the idea of the Wii Wheel last week. Well, I was wrong.
One of the most misleading aspects of game journalism as a whole is the relentless air of positivity that goes into game and gear previews. On one hand, it's true that you don't necessarily want to dismiss the potential of a game based on an early build or a demo; on the other, if something looks like it's going to be lousy, even if it's a hotly anticipated piece of software from a major publishing company, shouldn't we go ahead and feel free to say so?
Given the quickness with which I jumped on the bandwagon of Wii Wheel rippers, then, it seems only fair that I should now admit that I was wrong.
There is no game out there right now, not a single one, that has brought my family together for game time more reliably and consistently than Mario Kart Wii. Let me be clear: we are not a house of Mario Kart enthusiasts; I've had only a passing interest in the franchise for most of its life, apart from a brief time with the original when I was utterly obsessed. The DS version is fun enough, but it didn't exactly steal my life away, and I'm a little bit ashamed to admit that I've never even played Double Dash. The kids have played a couple of previous iterations of the franchise as well, finding the most interest in the DS version, but even that struck them as not exactly worth giving up things like Dogz and Spider Man: Friend or Foe.
Mario Kart Wii, on the other hand, has a Wheel.
My six-year-old has won a few 50cc races, which was a surprise to me given that she has never shown a propensity for games that require quick thinking and fast action. These wins have been utter events in our household, things that can be attributed not only to her increasing-all-too-fast age, but also to the fact that turning a steering wheel probably seems like a pretty basic mechanic, even for her; combining the function of an analog stick and various buttons is still a bit abstract for her mind, while turning a wheel is entirely logical and mechanical, and the confidence of knowing exactly what that wheel is supposed to do was enough to convince her that she could win. And so she did.
And no, I can't believe I just said that.