Nintendo has always tried to be an innovator with gaming in the console world. A lot of their stuff have been flops from the very beginning. Remember the robot that originally came with the system? Virtual boy was a cool idea but the market just wasn't ready for it yet. The glove (which could be called the predecessor to the Wii) was also a flop. But other things were not, like the analog joystick, the original cross key, real 3-D game play, 4 player option out of the box, interconnectivity between 2 game systems, etc. And now we come to a big leap in innovation, the Nintendo Wii.
The key thing that told me this was a success came from a female co-worker of mine that got the system at launch. She was as excited about it as if she had gotten a new kitten. The one statement she said got ingrained into my mind. "Do you remember the first time playing a racing game? How you were moving your whole body back and forth on the couch when all you needed to do was move the joystick. Well now you do have to use your body (at least part of it
) to play the racing game." I knew from this statement alone, from a casual gamer, that Nintendo really did their job and may end up winning this next console war (at least it will be debatable this time unlike the last war.) In addition, all of her guests that she invited seriously contemplated buying this console. And I do mean all.
Lets get the bad stuff out of the way. The graphics are inferior to the other two more expensive consoles out there. Yes it is cheaper but only the consumer will decide if the trade off is worth it. This can also not play DVD's or HD-DVD's. There is also some connectivity issues with the controller (see below.) What is comes with
1 Wii remote
Composite A/V cable
Wii Sports disk.
Notice that you will need to buy additional controllers for games that require multiple people playing at the same time. The inputs.
On the back you have 5 ports. Power cord, A/V cord, Sensor bar, and two USB ports.
On the side (hidden) are 2 GameCube memory card slots and 4 GameCube Joystick ports.
The Only port on the front is for the Disks, and you also have the power, reset, and eject buttons on the front of this small console.
There are also adapters, you can buy extra, that lets your console plug into an S-video port or a Component port. The component cable allows you to view the games at 480p instead of just 480i. Notice that is does not display at anything higher, this means that unlike the PS3 and Xbox 360, this console does not display in HD. I consider this the one major drawback to the system. The controllers
There are 4 possible controllers for this console. The first two come in the box. The first one I am going to talk about is the "Wii remote". I guess it is called that because you sometimes hold it vertically like a remote on certain games and functions. When it is in this mode you point the remote vertically towards the television. Your thumb presses the A button and your index finger (on the bottom) controls the B button. When pointed in this way the infrared system functions. Other times you hold the controller horizontally, just like you would the original 8bit Nintendo controller. The cross key is on the left and the a&b button (which is actually the 1&2 button) is on your right. When the controller is horizontal the infrared system cannot work and it relies on Bluetooth and accelerometers to communicate the movements of the controller.
The cool thing is the games can sense when you tilt the Wii remote. If you are playing a racing game like Cars, you hold the remote horizontally and tip the controller from side to side to drive the car. The further you tip the controller the harder the car steers in that direction. For a game like Monkey Ball you hold the controller vertically and hold the controller like a wand. The playing board the monkey ball is on is controlled by tipping the remote, which causes the board the monkey ball is on to tilt hence forcing the monkey ball down in that direction. Btw, Monkey Ball is in my opinion the best translated game I've played, definitely a must buy even if you are just a casual fan of the series.
The Wii remote has two other nice features, is rumbles and has a speaker on it. These can be controlled, turned on/off, in the system menu.
The second controller is called a nunchuk. It is wired and plugs into the wireless Wii remote. The console does know if the nunchuk is plugged in or not. You hold the nunchuk like you would a joystick. There is an analog direction button on top and two buttons located in front where your index finger is positioned. The buttons are the C & Z button.
The third controller is called a classic controller and does not come with the console. It is shaped very similarly to the Playstation Dual Analog controller. It is primarily used for the emulations you can run on the system.
The forth controller is the Game Cube controller. Hidden on the side are 4 Game Cube controller ports. And this will be an additional purchase if you intend to play Game Cube games on this system.
One of the cool features of the Wii remote is it can store certain things like a user profile. So for instance I can download my Mii profile onto my Wii remote and take it to a friends Wii. There I can upload my Mii profile and play using this profile. Pretty neat.
The "Wii remote" controller requires 2 AA batteries, the nunchuk does not. Since this unit was just acquired there has not been enough time to test the battery life, but don't worry I'll put that piece in this line when the batteries finally die. The memory card.
You have a port that accepts SD cards or the Nintendo memory card. This also does not come with the console. How it works, the basics, and the gameplay
This is where the innovation of the system is expressed. Instead of using a simple controller and sitting on the couch, you actually get to physically mimic the actions that are occurring on the screen. For Tennis you move your arm just like you would if you swung a tennis racket. For boxing you throw punches while holding the Wii remote and Nunchuk in both hands. For golf you swing like you would a real gold club. And it really works well (just not perfectly, see below.)
For monkey ball you tilt the controller to move the playing surface.
For a racing game, like Cars, you tilt the controller side to side to mimic using a steering wheel.
For a game like Zelda you swing it around like you would a real sword. (Can't wait til Knights of the republic 3 comes out. I can dream can't I.)
I think that conveys the idea of the system. The controller works not only by infrared but there are accelerometers inside the remote and nunchuk that can tell how fast you move the controllers around. This translates to the movements you see on screen. What is a Mii?
A Mii is a profile of a user. You can customize your character to look like you and that character is displayed in certain games like the Wii sports. Instead of just using a generic character to display the user. You can also set up the character to be right handed or left handed as well as the users name. I'm sure the updates will allow you to do more in the future. My take on the graphics.
This is the most disappointing part of the console. While the graphics are a slight improvement over the GameCube, they are not much of an improvement. You will not be buying this console for the graphics, that's for sure. With that said, it is still beautiful to look at. And besides, the success of the console is based on the gameplay, not the graphics. Backwards compatibility?
The Wii console can play older games using two methods. First it will accept GameCube disks and play them just like you would on a GameCube. You will need a GameCube controller and GameCube memory card. The emulation appears to be flawless with the games I tested. Secondly you can buy games from the NES, SNES, and N64 generations (They will also have some from the Genesis and TurboGraphics 16 consoles). These games are saved onto the Wii's harddrive. They can be transferred to a SD card but apparently (according to Tommy_lop
) these cannot be transferred to another Wii. These emulations need to be bought at the Wii store. What is the Wii store
The Wii store is a place where you can buy Wii channels (like weather or internet surfing capabilities), and you can also buy games. The Wii store can only be accessed from a Wii that is connected to the internet. There is a small collection of older games with more on the way. They cost Wii points to buy, they are not free (not yet anyways but I have a feeling the marketing department will have something in the works). For example you can buy and play the revolutionary Mario 64 for $10, or the original Super Mario Brothers for $5. The emulations I have played appear to be flawless and really bring back memories. But if you are looking for a new spin, you need to look elsewhere because these are just old games dusted off a little. Online connection
This is one of the beautiful things about the system is the simplicity of the internet connectivity. To connect your Wii to the internet you need an active broadband account and a wireless access point. Once you have the unit plugged in (and a current Wi-Fi system installed) just have your computer search for the signal and it will find it. BTW, the Wii does use a form of incryption for added privacy/security.
For those of you that do not have a wireless system set up at home (but you have broadband and a PC with USB) you can buy the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB connector and this will make connecting a little easier. Ergonomics and ease of use.
I would give the ergonomical design of the console a 3/5. While it is not uncomfortable to use it also does not fit like a glove. I think they could have made the units a little more curvy and fluid to match the human hand a little bit better. But is it hard to hold? Not at all. But not perfect. Who is this for?
I have to say that this is for anyone that likes videogames. It is definitely something that will appeal to all ages and generations. Most of the motions you can do sitting down so for those of you unable to stand I still think you will get some enjoyment from this system. Playing a game like golf will be a little difficult to do sitting down, but boxing, racing, sword fighting, etc can be done sitting down. Based upon my own experience, the experience my family has had, and the experience my co-workers have had I can confidently say that this console is for all ages and all gamers. Setup menu
When you first turn on the console you will have to set it up. If you want to change any of these settings you can do so on the setup menu located on the front load up page. They are
-Console nickname- Lets you name the console.
-Calendar- Adjusts date and time.
-Screen controls- You can adjust the position of the screen, change to a widescreen format, change resolution, and reduce burn-in.
-Sound- sound options.
-Parental controls- gives parents the option of locking out certain features like web surfing.
-Sensor bar- Positioned on top and below the television.
-Internet- Internet options.
-Wii connect 24- allows the Wii to update itself.
-Language- Language selection.
-Country- Country selection.
-Wii system update- The system can, and will, be updated via the internet connection.
-Format Wii system memory- Formatting option. Some problems you need to be made aware of.
There are some problems with this system. The most glaring issue is the accuracy of the Wii remote. I found that while playing the Wii sports the movements of my swings and lunges were not perfectly accurate. This was a little frustrating and I hope this issue is fixed with an update.
The system can only display in 480p with the component cable accessory.
The original strap that is connected to the Wii remote needs to be replaced. Go to Nintendo.com for information on how to do that.
You need a lot more space to move then with conventional gaming systems.
To fully utilize the Wii you should have a Wi-Fi network.
While surfing the internet some plug-ins will not function properly. For instance, ir will not play white and nerdy (http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoID=1194164636&n=2), but is did play music on my myspace page. So don't expect this to be an acceptable web browser. The bottom line: Should you get it?
That depends on what you do on your free time. If you are a gamer then I suggest you get this. It isn't that much compared to the other consoles of this generation and it is very unique. There are games that are very good for it (ex. Zelda), and I know there will be more on the way. I cannot see how any true gamer would be disappointed with this system in the long run.
If you are a casual gamer I would recommend that you wait 6 months or so. This will do two things, you will have a larger library of games to examine and you will have the opportunity to test this console at one of the major gaming stores. Or even better go over to a friend's house and play this before buying one.
I would also recommend this to parents that want to give their kids (or grandkids) a current game system but do not want to shell out the money for a PS3 or XBOX 360.
If you are getting this for exercise or to make your kids exercise then I feel you are getting it for the wrong reasons. Yes you can get a workout with some games but not like you do on a bike or treadmill. In fact "Dance-Dance" type games will give you a better workout and those are available in the previous generation of hardware, for less money. Final note.
I consider this a living review. It will be edited and updated over the course of the next several years reflecting the change that will occur with this console. But I want to make it clear to both epinions members and non-members that if you have a question or want something addressed in more detail, please e-mail me and I will do my best to address it. You can find my e-mail address on my profile page.
© Common Loon Productions