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Odds are, most people are familiar with the folks at Guinness -- no, not the beer company, but the place that keeps track of all the world records. What you may not realize, though, is that the company has been getting more and more involved in the world of video gaming as of late. First, early on in 2008, they released the book Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition, a 250-page collection of various bits of gaming information and more than 1,200 records corresponding to the hobby. Hot on the heels of that, the company went a step further and actually released their own video game, the Traveler's Tales developed Guinness World Records: The Videogame for the Nintendo Wii. Unfortunately, this uninspired collection of minigames is unlikely to set any records of its own.
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Yes, sadly, this is yet another minigame collection for the Nintendo Wii. This one features 36 different games, though only one-third of them are playable immediately. To unlock the others, you need to play and earn coins with your performance in a number of tasks, many of which were inspired by actual world record feats. First, you select up to four of the eight different available characters. Everything is done off a single remote, so by selecting more than one character you can either set up a multiplayer game or give yourself multiple chances at each event. Anyway, once that's done, you appear on a world map, where you walk around to different landmarks and select which game you want to play. Then, after receiving brief instructions on how to play, you'll deep to compete and, if you're lucky, you can set a new regional, national or world record score for your event. Doing well not only earns you money to buy new games with, but also can unlock Guinness Records fact cards. Furthermore, scores can be submitted and compared to others around the world via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
As is often the case in these collections, the quality of the minigames themselves are varied and inconsistent. The highest video game score one is a decent shooter eerily similar to Geometry Wars for the Xbox 360, except harder to control. The one where you pull a plane has you alternate downward movements with the Wiimote and Nunchuck and is somewhat like a rhythm game. The one where you need to build the tallest building is like creating a structure out of Lego toys, and the one where you have to crush watermelon with your head is controlled by swinging down with the Wiimote. Those are all fine, enjoyable minigames. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for some of the more irritating or frustrating minigames, such as the ones that have you tearing phone books, throw washing machines and draw tattoos. Some of these games you'll like, others you won't. It all averages out to be, well, rather average, really.
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The game can be played mostly using just the Wii remote, but some of the minigames also require the Nunchuck attachment, and using the control stick is also a far easier way of moving around on the world map. However, considering some of the games require high-speed movements of the remote, there are some where you simply won't want to have the Nunchuck attached. It's a pain, but things really do work better if you attach and detach it based upon the type of minigame you're getting set to play. On the whole, the controls themselves are responsive, though as with the quality, some games work better than others. The aforementioned building one, for example, works pretty well but it sometimes has issues detecting where you want to put each piece. On the other hand, there's one where you need to race with an egg in a spoon using the Nunchuck to run and the remote to keep the egg balanced. This is way too easy, and you won't have any problem whatsoever shattering the world record for it. Such inconsistency really is all too common in these kinds of Wii minigame collections, and you can chalk up Guinness World Records: The Videogame as one more victim of this plight.
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Graphics and Sound
Guinness World Records: The Videogame features bare bones visuals, the annoyingly overused Mii-style character types and limited and tiresome background music. The narration is good, but there's not much else here that's praiseworthy. Every time you set any kind of record, you're honored with a special screen and announcement, which is nice at first but quickly wears on you. Another particular annoyance is the way game instructions are presented to you. You're given a brief illustration about what you're supposed to do, with no text to elaborate, and pretty much thrown to the wolves to learn your way around through trial and error. Seems rather on the lazy side, if you ask me. In terms of graphics and sound quality, this game performs rather poorly.
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Playing Guinness World Records: The Videogame gave me an overwhelming sense of déjà vu, because there are so many mediocre minigame collections like this available for the Nintendo Wii. Sure, there are a few enjoyable activities here and there, but the quality is spotty and the presentation is rather poor. If you really like simple titles like this, or you're curious, I'd strongly recommend you rent first. Ultimately, though, I just can't see recommending this game when there are so many other, better minigame compilations out there, including the original Rayman: Raving Rabbids, WarioWare: Smooth Moves, and Carnival Games, just to name a few. There's no doubt in my mind you'd be much better off purchasing any one of those titles instead.