Sunday, November 10, 2013

Wii U's TVii Does Sports, Is Cool

I'm not that into sports or TV, but I am into video games and technology, and even though I've had a Wii U for several months now, there's been a rather cool and noteworthy bit of technology that I've un-rightfully ignored up to this point. That is TVii, a built in app that's accessible from the main menu. 

I'm not sure what the availability is for TVii in other countries, but in the USA it's kind of like a TV Guide on the GamePad (which also functions as a TV remote, if you didn't know). For certain shows, screenshots of key scenes will be updated live which you can comment on with other people. Not that there are many other people who actually do that...

But that's only one admittedly underwhelming part of TVii. The cool part is what you can do with sports.
In the USA, you can check the scores for games across a variety of sports.
Still no support for curling though.
From the main TVii menu, tapping the large button labeled "Sports" will bring you to a screen like the one above, which shows the scores of current and recent games. That's pretty cool, but it gets cooler. If you click a game that's currently being played, you can see it update, play-by-play, automatically.
By the way, everything can also be navigated without the use of the touch screen using the buttons and D-Pad.
Neat, right? You can just leave this screen up for the game you're watching or another game you aren't watching and see how it unfolds. Since the GamePad functions as a TV remote, you can also use it to easily change to the channel of whichever game strikes your fancy. But wait! There's more! Observant readers may have noticed a few other things going on on this screen. Let's click on that stats tab, shall we?
Sweet mother of data, look at all those numbers and words! That's right, you can even check detailed stats like this for all the games. Even I think that's pretty cool. How about that scores tab now...
Swell! You can check the scores for other games without needing to go back to the previous menu or miss out on the play by play of the game you really care about. Speaking of which, those automatically updated pictures of each play on the right side of the screen can be interacted with as well. For each, you can select an emoticon to show your support, sadness, anger, or whatever. You can also leave a comment or draw on the picture just like they do on TV.
UFO sighted over football game, details at 11.
This way, even if you hate sports, you can still have fun by drawing stupid stuff all over the place and posting it to the internet (or by playing a Wii U game in off-TV mode on the GamePad).

I know that not too many people use this feature on Wii U and that XBox One has gotten a significant amount of ridicule for its focus on TV, but I have to admit that this is pretty nifty. Even though you can get some of the same functionality online or on smartphone apps, as someone without a smartphone and whose laptop is a bit too unwieldy to pass across the couch, the Wii U GamePad works perfectly for this sort of thing. Hopefully now this rather unadvertised and overlooked application will get some deserved attention. If you have a Wii U and like sports, you should definitely give TVii a shot.
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