Picture this. You're lining up the perfect shot in Wii Bowling, remote in hand. You set up the shot, swing the remote with all the strength you can muster, and... follow through a little more than you intended.
Somehow the remote leaves your sweaty-palmed grip and bang, smash, there goes your TV, window, photo of your granny, anything that happens to be in the path of the newly liberated remote.
Hold on, though. If you're wearing the (supplied) wrist strap, no harm done, right? So you'd think. As you can see, some Wii owners are finding the strap decidedly lacking. (Check out nascent site wiihaveaproblem.com for more strap malfunctions.) The problem isn't with the amply broad strap itself, but the considerably narrower section that connects the strap with the remote, which is prone to fray in some circumstances. The result is smashed remotes, smashed televisions, smashed windows, and unhappy (or, at least, somewhat red-faced) customers.
Teething hardware troubles are hardly new to the world of console launches, especially in the last year or so. The Xbox 360's original overheating issues are well documented, with the first production run of consoles suffering what is generally regarded to be an unusually high failure rate. We're even hearing the start of mutterings about overheating issues with some brand new PS3s. But it's probably the first time a console's design has lead --albeit indirectly -- to quite such a catalogue of destruction. To its credit, Nintendo appears to be happy to replace the wrist strap in some circumstances, but if there really is an underlying design weakness, then it needs to be addressed before an unfortunate (or worse, sue-happy) bystander gets beaned by a stray remote.
Sure, it's easy to laugh at the misfortune of these hapless Wii'ers, especially if you're still combing stores for miles around looking for yours. One broken strap could be regarded as misfortune, but as the volume of fractured straps grows, it starts to look more like carelessness -- or, at least, evidence of a lack of real-world testing.
In the meantime, wise Wii owners will want to consider hunting round the house for something a little stronger -- or waiting for one of the more opportunistic peripheral manufacturers to cash in on the opportunity to flog reinforced replacements at an inflated price. That's business.