By now, we've all heard the unfortunate tales of injury and destruction that have come as a result of playing the Nintendo Wii. If you haven't, I suggest visiting Wii Have a Problem, a blog dedicated to reporting wacky Wii-related stories. The site has video footage of broken screens, ranging from laptop monitors to 40 inch LCDs; pictures of broken Wii remotes from overzealous bowlers, golfers, and batters; and yes, even reports of tennis elbow!

While most of us may find these stories amusing (if not hilarious), Nintendo seems to be taking them pretty seriously. The company had the foresight to include with the Wii a detailed safety manual, indicating that Nintendo predicted even the most bizarre of Wii-related injuries. Lucky for them, because if they hadn't, I assume they would be facing some pretty serious lawsuits. The safety manual warns against a variety of Wii-related dangers, including, among other things:

  • Seizures
  • Eye Strain
  • Motion Sickness
  • Console/TV Screen Damage

My personal favorite, though, is the warning that "The Wii console is a Class I laser product." Hold on, let me call Dr. Evil…I'm sure he'll want to hear about this.

These Wii-injuries are no joke. The Wall Street Journal published an article on November 25, "A Wii Workout: When Videogames Hurt", that discussed some inuries suffered by Wii fanatics, and even interviewed a doctor to get some advice on what to do about Wii-related aches and pains. According to the article, doctors advise Wii-users to "stretch out and be sure to take care of any injuries afterwards." Some Wii-players have even resorted to wearing athletic braces while playing Wii Sports. The WSJ article further reports that:

Nintendo itself warns players about this risk just before some of the games begin. A message flashes up on the screen saying: "Make sure there are no people or objects around you that you might bump into while playing." Some Wii games also have pop-up reminders every 15 minutes advising gamers to take a break.

Anyway, endless reports of injuries and TV damage are not stopping consumers from their Wii buying sprees. Since its launch on November 19, NexGenWars reports that Nintendo has already sold more than a million units in the US, although the site notes that this figure is only an estimate. In addition, the game system made its Japanese debut this weekend and was a major hit. Thousands of people were lined up at major electronics stores through the middle of the night in order to purchase the Wii. Many customers were very enthusiastic. One Japanese man even wore a home-made Wii remote control costume. When asked about his outfit, he replied, "I made this (costume) by myself yesterday. This is an homage to Nintendo."

According to BBC News, the Wii will go on sale in Europe December 8; Nintendo hopes to release 4 million units by the end of the year.

UPDATE (12/15/06):  I read on the BBC this morning that Nintendo has officially responded to the Wii remote flimsy strap issues.  According to BBC, Nintendo will replace all broken wrist straps for the Wii remote with a sturdier version free of charge.  In addition, all new Wii consoles will come with a much stronger wrist strap for the Wii remote in order to prevent future problems.  You can order a replacement strap for your Wii remote here on Nintendo's website .