it takes two

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 February, 2008, 12:00am


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Showing affection to your significant other on Valentine's Day doesn't have to be limited to sending flowers, giving chocolates or having a romantic meal at a fancy restaurant. Why not spend some quality time playing a video game together?

The two-player format has been a consistent feature of many video games but more so for titles played with Nintendo's Wii console. The company's introduction of motion-sensing controllers has expanded gameplay from simply pushing buttons to an interactive, virtual entertainment experience couples can enjoy. The console's success is partly due to a surge in the number of avid female gamers.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, a likely hit for a his-and-hers gaming session, is not only the first crossover game featuring Nintendo poster boy Mario (far right)and Sega mascot Sonic the Hedgehog (above), it is the first video game sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee for the Beijing Olympics.

Developed and published by Sega for North America and Europe, and released in Asia by Nintendo, the game features 14 other characters from the respective game franchises of Mario and Sonic. Players use the Wii remote and nunchuk controllers in various ways to compete in a number of Olympic events, including swimming, gymnastics and track and field. The brilliantly rendered 3D game environment is based on the mainland's Olympic venues.

Endless Ocean, created by game developer Arika and published by Nintendo, delivers a virtual scuba-diving adventure for couples. Using the Wii remote, players can take on jobs such as those of a marine biologist or freelance photographer to explore the fictional Manaurai Sea (right) in search of aquatic life, ship wrecks and lost treasure. Couples who are apart on Valentine's Day can hook up through the game online using the Wii console's Wi-fi connection.

Mesmerising graphics, including incredibly detailed creature models, make Endless Ocean a visual treat. The game has a new-age musical vibe (think Enya), with instrumentals and vocals provided by New Zealand-based artist Hayley Westenra. Alternatively, players can create their own soundtrack on an SD memory card.

For couples who want more 'bang' in their video games, Bomberman Land delivers. The action game, developed and published by Hudson Soft for the Wii console, features the cute, titular bomb-making robot and his friends blowing things up as they run around elaborate mazes.

Bomberman Land features about 50 mini-games, all using the Wii remote. It also has several modes: in one, the first player to find the crown wins the game; in Star mode players have to collect stars obtained by blowing up objects.

If all that seems too violent for the girls, a mini-game allows players to go shopping for clothes. They win extra points if their choice of clothes is found to be stylish and impressive.

These Wii games offer something different for every gaming couple but each one guarantees hours of two-person fun.