I Paid $2 a Day to Play a Discontinued Wii Sports Sequel
It’s hard to find anyone who was alive in the heyday of the Wii who didn’t at least try Sports Wii. It’s one of the best-selling games of all time, and its simple yet precise motion controls made everyone from young children to the elderly feel like an athlete for a few minutes. These are big shoes to fill for any game trying to keep up with it, and Nintendo Switch Sports is preparing to revitalize the formula on April 29 with its reworked visuals and its new sports offer.
But did you know that another Wii Sports game was released between these two titles? At the start of the Wii U, Nintendo released Wii Sports Club, a remake of the classic casual sports title for the failed Wii U console. He improved controls and visuals and tried to give the Wii Sports series a living community.
Nintendo Switch Sports revived my memory of Wii Sports Club, and following news of the impending closure of the Wii U eShop, I knew I wanted to check it out and see why this follow-up fell into obscurity. That meant paying $2 a day to access a remake of Sports Wii with broken features that hardly anyone played. Was it worth it? No, but it’s a very fitting Wii U game because it’s also a product completely overshadowed and rendered redundant by its predecessor.
pay to play
I could find Wii Sports Club on the Wii U eShop and download it for free. In free-to-play mode Sports Wii seems like a fantastic idea, it doesn’t last long. The first time I started the game, I got a 24-hour free trial to try any of five sports – tennis, bowling, golf, baseball, and boxing – that I wanted. I had a bit of tennis and bowling on my first day with the game, but didn’t see all it had to offer.
After that first day, it was time to pay. I was given two in-game payment options which would then bring me the Nintendo eShop. I could purchase the individual sports for $10 each, giving me access to them and their associated mini-games forever. My other option was to pay $2 a day to access everything.
Although having to buy a $2 day pass several days in a row for a discontinued Wii U game wasn’t exactly a wise financial investment, I was curious enough to succumb to this microtransaction and keep playing. Doing that and only spending around $14 makes a lot more sense than paying $50 for remakes of games I got for free with my Wii over 15 years ago. This monetization program didn’t seem like such a great deal in 2014, and it certainly isn’t now, when there are tons of cheaper or free fitness apps out there that people can get a lot more out of. But what exactly did I get for that money?
Since June 2014, Wii Sports Club featured the same five sports as the original Wii pack: tennis, bowling, golf, baseball, and boxing. Individual sports play as you remember them in the original Sports Wii for the majority. Swinging the Wii Remote causes your character to do the same motion with a tennis racket, golf club, bat, ball, or fist. Some mini-games in practice mode shake up the formula of each sport a bit, but none held my attention for long.
The most significant gameplay differences between the original Sports Wii and Wii Sports Club are the Wii MotionPlus stand and the Wii U GamePad. Wii MotionPlus is obviously more responsive than basic Wii Remotes, so the movement of anything you’re holding in-game feels more precise in Wii Sports Club. That said, the game is still easy and accessible enough for me to call it a must-have for gamers who enjoy Sports Wii.
Then there’s the Wii U GamePad, which appears in golf and baseball. In golf, you place the Wii U GamePad on the ground and it displays the ball you need to hit. It’s a fun but very whimsical visual touch. Meanwhile, the GamePad’s gyroscope is used to aim throws and catch balls in baseball. While baseball makes much better use of the GamePad, constantly switching between it and the Wii Remote can get tiring. Apart from these features, the Wii U GamePad is pretty useless in Wii Sports Clubso its not as good of a tech demo for his system as the original Sports Wii been.
All in all, these five sports are just slightly improved versions of what you remember from the original. Sports Wii. It’s a remake that isn’t entirely necessary, given that the original game can be played on Wii U via backwards compatibility. It’s not a good thing when there are more than six times as many copies of Sports Wii there are no Wii U systems there. It’s a miniature version of the conundrum that the Wii U also found itself in.
Wii Sports Club is so named because Nintendo focuses on in-game clubs. Each day, players can choose to join a club, many of which are based on states, regions, or countries. These clubs are then ranked individually for each sport, based on the performance of their players.
I joined the club from Illinois but it didn’t have a noticeable impact on my experience because Wii Sports ClubThe social functionality of doesn’t really work anymore. Although he still tracks club performance online, there is no good way to communicate.
Playing Wii Sports Club is a lonely experience in 2022.
Miiverse was Nintendo’s attempt to create a social networking-like service on the Wii U and 3DS. Players could post messages and drawings about the games they were playing, and in some titles, those messages appeared in-game. Wii Sports Club seems to have used Miiverse for club players to communicate with each other.
Wii Sports Club prompts the player to check Miiverse after each game ends. It displays player-created messages on the GamePad in games where it is not in use and attempts to sync with it each time the game is started. Considering that Miiverse shut down in November 2017, much of Wii Sports Club now feels functionally useless.
If you try to click on any of the in-game buttons asking you to post to Miiverse, they no longer work. Tutorial tips appear on the GamePad during matches instead of Miiverse messages. Unsurprisingly, play Wii Sports Club is a lonely experience in 2022.
To combat this, I tried to find people to play with online. For most sports I couldn’t find anyone online and was kicked out of the practice queue after a few minutes. I managed to find a match, and it was for bowling. Surprisingly, the match went well despite Nintendo’s history of bad netcode. Still, I’m not surprised the game could handle it because we were probably the only ones Wii Sports Club online gamers at the time.
While Wii Sports Club could have been new circa 2014, the game is long dead now. Very few people are playing anything other than online bowling, and the club’s main form of communication is no longer working. Without compelling social features, this is a disappointing remake of a game you probably already own. This is also likely why any small player base that remained after launch has mostly disappeared.
Yes, most sports play better with more precise motion controls, but why would anyone – in 2014 or 2022 – choose to pay for Wii Sports Club instead of just playing the game they already own if they had a Wii? I did, and I don’t feel great about it despite the promise of a live-service casual sports game. I hope Nintendo Switch Sports looking into this after launch as there is merit in approaching the live service Wii Sports Club takes. But clearly Nintendo didn’t know how to run or monetize a live service at the time, which makes Wii Sports Club one of many puzzling Nintendo releases from this Wii U era.
Although Sports Wii is one of the best-selling games of all time, Wii Sports Complex is fondly remembered, and Nintendo Switch Sports is highly anticipated, no one ever talks about it Wii Sports Club. I wondered if this game was somehow a forgotten gem, but now we understand why Wii Sports Club has been and will continue to be lost to time. This is a useless remake with a weird monetization system tied to an old social networking service and a system that will no longer be supported very soon. Slightly improved controls and some Wii U GamePad gadgets can only do so much to improve this.
With Nintendo Switch Sports just around the corner, there’s no reason to cry Wii Sports Club when he is on the verge of oblivion. And soon, most people won’t be able to play it anymore. It’s a disappointing ending for one of Nintendo’s most pointless games.