The Wii (pronounced "we") is the latest incarnation of Nintendo's ever-popular video game entertainment system. It is not, however, just a revamp of conventional technology, and offers many unique and innovative features, which will appeal to gamers young and old.|
What really sets the Wii apart from traditional games consoles is its revolutionary, wireless controller, the Wii Remote (or "Wiimote"), a hand held, motion sensitive device, which can detect a player's movements in all three dimensions. So, game play is no longer a sedentary, thumb twitching, button pressing activity; with the Nintendo Wii, you can, quite literally, throw yourself into a game, and soon you'll be swinging your arms about, bobbing and weaving, as you immerse yourself in a total gaming experience.
Technically speaking, the Wii system provides 512 Mb of internal flash memory, two USB 2.0 ports, and an SD expansion slot, for additional memory. It also offers excellent backward compatibility with a wide range of traditional Nintendo favourites, from the past 20, or so, years, including Game Cube disks, and other selected titles, which can be downloaded via the "Virtual Console". The Wii also has online capability, supporting broadband gaming.
Other desirable features include "WiiConnect24", which enables the console to receive messages and updates via the Internet, and the "Wii Channel Menu", offering a range of entertainment channels for the whole family.
The Wii Console
The Wii console is stylish and compact in design - roughly the size of a paperback book - and is equipped with a stand, on which it can be mounted vertically or horizontally.
The front of the Wii console has a conventional optical disc drive, beneath which are located power, reset and eject buttons, together with an access hatch for the SD expansion slot, and "Sync" button (required for additional remote controls).
The side of the console provides access to four Game Cube controller ports and two further expansion slots.
Also included is a sensor bar, plus a plastic mount and self-adhesive pads, for attaching this to your television set.
The Wii Controllers
The controller is the most exciting feature of the Nintendo Wii system, allowing you to perform complex and dexterous actions on the screen, corresponding to your own movements. For example, when playing tennis, you can flick the controller up, to toss the ball into the air, and swat it over the net with a graceful, serving motion.
A tiny, integral speaker provides interactive surround sound effects. The controller also has a "rumble" feature, which allows you to experience realistic vibrations and judders. An expansion port is provided, for the connection of accessories; the additional "Nunchuck" controller, for example, adds an analogue thumb stick and trigger buttons.
On a cautionary note, the Wii controller is provided with a safety strap - a wise precaution, particularly for younger gamers - to prevent the controller from flying across the room during extravagant movements.
One of the common criticisms of the Nintendo Wii has been its weak graphical capabilities, even though the Wii is three times more powerful than its predecessor, the Nintendo Game Cube. This may be due, in part, to Nintendo's focus on the innovative controller, and affordability, rather than more technical issues, but it is clear, from forthcoming titles, such as "Super Mario Galaxy", that developers have, so far, really only scratched the surface of its visual potential.
Nintendo Wii Games
Wii Sports is a compilation of five sports simulations, shipped free of charge with each Wii console, and especially designed to demonstrate the capabilities of the Wii controller. Wii Sports is also the first title to make use of the so-called "Mii Channel", allowing players to create a digital version of themselves (sometimes called an "avatar").
There are five sports simulations:
Tennis - Realistic tennis ground strokes, volleys and lobs, forehands and backhands, are all possible, with just a flick of the wrist. Multiplayer mode is allows up to four players, requiring one controller per player.
Baseball - The game is simplified to batting and pitching, with fielding performed automatically. You can use the controller as a bat, and try to swat those fastballs, or choose different types of pitches, activated by a combination of buttons on the Wii controller.
Golf - Again, you use the Wii controller as a club, and the longer and faster you swing the further your ball will travel, on this nine-hole course. Control is of the essence, however, and wild sings will result in massive hooks and slices; putting, too, requires a little dexterity.
Boxing - This is the only one of the compilation which requires both the Wii controller and the Nunchuk attachment. A combination of movements lets you punch, block, sway and lean in appropriate directions.
Bowling - You swing the controller backwards and forward to bowl the ball, applying spin with a twist of your wrist. Expect some surprises, with bowling balls careering backwards, or on to adjacent lanes, if your release is not quick enough.
Wii Sports also includes a training mode, allowing you to practise your skills for the main games, and the concept of "fitness age", a measurement of your virtual fitness.
Red Steel is an engaging, adventure story game, released exclusively on the Nintendo Wii platform. It provides exciting, action-packed, first person role playing, taking advantage of the entire range of unique controller functions. You are Scott Monroe, and your fiancée, Miyu, has been kidnapped by Japanese gangsters. You must acquire weapons, whether they are swords or firearms - and improve your skill in using them - to defeat your foes and rescue your loved one. Using the Wii controller as you would a gun, or a blade, you can shoot and slice your way through, literally, your enemies and the lengthy, intriguing story.
The Nintendo Wii is a completely new concept in video gaming systems, encouraging livelier, physical participation, whilst, at the same time, being simple and intuitive. As such, it appeals to video game enthusiasts of all ages and abilities, and with so many different titles available, is sure to become a family favourite.
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Nintendo Wii Games Buyers Guide
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