- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 7, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Cox News Service) — Nintendo’s hot new Wii video game console is flying off the shelves: 600,000 were sold in the first eight days of its U.S. release.

It’s also flying out of the hands of some enthusiastic players and straight into family TVs.

The motion-sensitive remote controller, dubbed the Wiimote (pronounced wee-mote), is the highlight of Nintendo’s latest entry in its tooth-and-nail fight for sales supremacy against Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation3.

Strapped to a player’s wrist, the controller mimics arm motions in a video game. That lets players use their own swings to whack away at imaginary golf balls or take swipes at bloodthirsty samurai.

Bloggers on www.wii haveaproblem.com, though, report Wii controllers are slipping out of hands and soaring into everything from a ceiling fan light to glassware to the most popular “target” — TV sets.

Nintendo officials yesterday said they are investigating the reports.

“Some people are getting a lot more excited than we’d expected,” Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said.

“We need to better communicate to people how to deal with Wii as a new form of entertainment,” he said.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that in addition to broken household items, people were complaining of sore elbows and wrists after especially vigorous gaming sessions.

Nintendo acknowledges that even sweaty palms can be a problem.

“If you are having so much fun that you are perspiring, take a moment to dry your hands,” the company’s Web site advises.

Some players reporting a touch of real-life mayhem concede the strap broke after an especially enthusiastic pitch to right field or a lengthy bowling “tournament” with friends.

Further, there’s plenty of blogosphere skepticism as to whether a widely publicized photo — a window purportedly shattered by a flying Wiimote — is real.

Some items posted on www.Engadget.com, a well-known technology site, all but sneer at the notion that Wiimotes are turning into winged wonders.

Alex Parus, who works at a KB Games store — and one of the fortunate few who own a Wii — is among the doubters.

“I did my own test,” Mr. Parus said. “I put the wrist strap on and then I threw my arm as hard as I could.” Nothing happened.

“Unless people are damaging it somehow, I don’t see how it could break,” he said.

Even those who do think their controllers are troublesome still seem fond of their Wii. One contributor to wiihaveaproblem.com suggested his newly damaged 10-year-old stereo presented a good excuse to buy a new one.

Another wrote: “Strap broke. TV cracked. Remote still works. I’m impressed.”

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