Buying a Nintendo Wii in Shanghai.

Nintendo Wii and Games

I wanted a Xbox 360. But then I saw that the prices for HDTV's didn't drop that much and that we probably weren't going to buy one anytime soon. No HDTV, no Xbox 360 necessary. I don't wanna play Halo 3 on a 21 inch screen TV. Who would? So I thought, this might be a good time to buy something to get rid of all the fat I accumulated during our wedding: A Nintendo Wii! Every time I went into one of these electronic places, I saw people jumping and moving spastically around, must be really good for health that thing. While it doesn't train every part of your body, your arms will ache rather fast - especially after 3 rounds of 'Wii Sports - Boxing'. Typing this entry is not very comfortable, let me tell you...

So there are probably hundreds of places where you can buy a Wii. I recommend you to buy one inside a big mall, because the shops there tend to stay open longer than small local shops. You don't wanna find out that the store closed just a week after you bought your console, believe me... So head over to the Hong Kong Plaza or like us, to the big electronic place near Dongchang Lu in Pudong. Game shops are usually on the second or thrid floor, so head up. There will be at least 10 shops selling exactly the same, and it's not really important to go to everyone asking for the price - the maximum difference you'll find is like 50 kuai or something. But you can eventually bargain that away. You will have to buy a japanese Nintendo Wii with japanese menus, so don't even think about using the internet on your machine. My Wii had also a crack chip installed, called the 'WiiKey' or 'Wii key'. It allows my Wii to run fake games. And you can buy lots of them for 10 kuai each. After some time, we had worked out a fair deal with the game store lady: We got a modified (or cracked) japanese Nintendo Wii, a memory card, 10 games and a adapter (because the japanese Wii runs on 110 volts while we have 220 in China) for a round 2.000 kuai. Just the Wii alone costs in Europe 2.500 kuai, so that seemed like a good deal to us. Of course there a people who read this and argue that you can bargain two more hours to get it another 100 kuai cheaper, but if you have that much free time, you should better start looking for a job.

Back home, after setting the Wii up, connecting it to my amplifier, I got the first shock: The Wii Remote didn't work. Since the Wii menu was in japanese, I didn't know what to do. So we called the shop lady (ALWAYS take a business card!!!) and she failed to explain to us that you need to 'sync' the remote to your console when you start it for the first time. Open the front of the Wii, open the battery case of the remote, and push the two red buttons at the same time. Then it worked fine! After that you need to set the time, the date... It's all chinese, but easy to understand anyway. After all, this thing was designed for children, I guess.

The first game we tried was 'Wii Sports'. There's tennis, baseball, bowling, golf and boxing. It's spectacular how good the remote understands your movement. I especially liked the baseball and golf modes - they are so much fun. The I tried all the other games, if they worked at all, and they did. The Godfather is sure a cool game, make sure to buy a copy of that. But what kept me away from sleeping all weekend was Resident Evil 4: by far the best title in the series. Not only are the graphics insane, but the feeling is so great, the way you have to play and shoot, it's almost flawless. So cool. It's pretty hard, too, and I didn't manage to finish this game yet. I didn't even start with Zelda yet, who knows how long that will take...

Anyway, the Wii is a fine console with a great new mode of playing, thanks to the creative new controls. Buying a Wii is heavily recommended, at least until the HDTV's are cheaper and Halo 3 is out.

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