Review: Nintendo Wii (game console)

   Posted December 23, 2006 by Jimmy Selix in Nintendo Wii, Technology reviews

Well, it was inevitable for me to write this review of the Wii. The Wii is Nintendo’s offering of the then ‘next-gen’, now current gen gaming systems (ps3, x360, wii). They offered a new way to play and not graphical/audio upgrades or raw power.. Did Nintendo succeed in its marketing of its console (blue ocean strategy)? Or is it just a supercharged Gamecube (GCN) w/novel controls? Lets find out.



Nintendo Wii (released, US 11/19/06)
http://wii.com

Introduction:

The Wii carried the codename of Revolution during its initial phases. The name seemed fitting for what Nintendo was attempting to do. Like its DS system, Nintendo wanted to make games ‘fun’ again and not just the same old rehash of prev games w/better graphics/audio, more complex button combos. The DS initially saw its shares of woes, but after some stellar title releases (nintendodogs, phoenix wright, new mario, etc), its sales skyrocketed and still lead each week in Console sales in Japan and at times in the US.

So the backgrounds been laid, whats this Wii all about? Well, its a total different game for the most part. Both the Wiimote and Nunchuk have motion sensors and a joystick on the nunchuk and dpad on the wiimote (all of course via bluetooth, wireless). You play games actively vs just button mashing. Its processor can be considered to be about 2x that of a gamecube, but based on the same structure = low production costs and software development costs vs ps3/x360, graphics the same; nothing spectacular.

The Wii can output at max 480p via the Component cables. The difference vs RCA Video is quite a bit. Zelda looks much better (widescreen, 480p game) and Madden 07 too. Audio output is Dolby PLS II (so not real 5.1 digital, but the quasi surround sound; rear sound is emulated and not a discrete channel like in Dolby 5.1). It also accepts SD Cards for saving games/pics/audio/movies on. Onboard memory is limited to only 512mb. It comes w/a builtin wireless adapter to connect to wiiconnect (free) and internet (opera browser, free trial). Total cost for system should be $249.99

Contents/Setup

The US Retail Wii box comes w/the following:
-Wii
-Stand w/plastic base
-Sensor bar w/stand
-AC Adapter
-RCA Video/Audio cable
-1 x Wiimote and 1 x Nunchuk w/wrist strap
-Manuals/Warners
-Wii Sports

Setup is a breeze, just connect your Wii; you can only plug the ac plug in the ac spot, etc (like being a kid and the board you put shapes into, hehe). People may wonder what the clear plastic round thing is, its a bottom base for the vertical stand to make sure the wii doesn’t fall over as easy. i place my sensor bar on the top of my lcd hdtv.

Internet connection is fairly simple too, if you’ve done it on a laptop before to your network, you shouldn’t have any probs. your wii will probably need to do a few system updates to get the latest software and channels (weather channel is live and opera browser avail at wii shop).

One thing you’ll definitely notice from the get go is how TINY the Wii is. Very portable to take with you. Overall its a nice change to a simple modern look vs the hefty other power beasts.

Graphics/Sound/Gameplay

Well, you should know that the Wii isn’t a nextgen graphic whore. Its graphics are slightly better than xbox/ps2/gcn, so nothing to ride home on. however, Zelda looks pretty amazing with that being said. Some water scenes are amazing while others a not as ‘real’. Wii Sports graphics are very basic, but are fitting for the gameplay.

Sound is ok too, sure its not full Dolby Digital 5.1 (i am a bit sad it isn’t since once you do full 5.1/DTS/THX, you can’t go back). The music and sound in Zelda is very clean and crisp. I get good virtual surround sound on my receiver from the Wii. Again, these are not the systems strong points; get a PS3 or X360 if you want high-def graphics and sound.

Gameplay is where this system excels and creates a new bar with. The packin game Wii Sports is amazingly addicting, especially with friends/family. It is a game that showcases some of the uses of the remote and basic motion playing. It contains: Bowling, Boxing, Baseball, Tennis, and Golf. My personal favorites are Bowling, Boxing, and Tennis. When you play bowling, you feel like you are bowling. Same in tennis and baseball. Wii sports is a great party game to play. almost everyone can play or learn and seems to enjoy it. i always start my first time wii-ers off w/some bowling or tennis. So far everyone has loved it.

Zelda also uses the Wii’s motion sensing capabilities very well too. Swinging the wiimote will swing your sword. Shaking your nunchuk will unleash a spin move. Using the wiimote to aim your bow the first time will give you a big cheesy grin of joy. Zelda shows how to use the Wii’s abilities to change a game (but were we expecting anything less?) and already is considered to be one of the best launch titles in history and one of the best games in 2006/history.

Nintendo developed games (first party) will almost always shine on the Wii, however third party support will differ. Some games appear to be basic ports of PS2/XBOX titles w/tacked on motion controls while others are unique and original (ex rayman raving rabbids; just a fun and funny game).

Virtual Console/Channels/Mii’s

Virtual Console is basically just your old games from the N64, SNES, NES, Genesis, Turbografix16 on the Wii. You have to purchase them via the Wii Shop. They will appear as a channel. Pricing is ok, not as cheap as i would have liked. Selection is getting better with each week’s release (they usually release 3-4 games each mon), however a ton of classics are still missing and unannounced (ie Mario Allstars, Chrono Trigger, MarioKart64, etc). Nonetheless, Nintendo has a very extensive and rich library to pull from. I’d love to see Starfox 64 w/online abilities.. oh please big N! hehe..

The Wii also can do a few other non-gaming things like show your photos on an SD memory card or play mp3s or videos (use wii video 9 to convert your files).

Just recently Nintendo launched the Weather channel and now a trial of the Opera browser. The browser can play flash movies/games and also has basic zooming features. Typing can get tiresome, but just find some good Wii portals and bookmark them. Even though they are not the main focus of the system, the channels are an added bonus.

Finally, the Mii channel. Its an amazing way to waste an hour making your friend’s Miis. The music is nice and relaxing too and your mii’s will start to mingle with each other, fall asleep, cough, etc.

Seamonkey Says… 9.5/10

sure, the wii isn’t going to be able to render the pores of a boxer, but who cares if your having a blast swinging your arms boxing against a friend. only reason i didn’t give a 10, was my fear of a game drought or lack of titles to fully use the wiimote controls. however, it seems Reggie at Nintendo just made a promise in a recent interview that there would be no drought like the gamecube. and its still early, will i get sick of the controls? doubtful but you never know. however we will see mario and metroid in 2007!

this console is a great one if your not a hardcore gamer or are a casual or new to gaming. it seems to have captivated everyone i know that has played it. its a refreshing way to play, something thats new.

and btw, zelda alone should be a good enough reason. 🙂 however, if you want graphics; buy an x360 or a ps3 cuz you ain’t going to be getting anything like that on the Wii.

here’s a link to my youtube page w/a ton of wii related vids/some first time users.
http://youtube.com/seamonkey420

also be sure to check out all of the wii recipes here at:
http://www.tech-recipes.com/nintendo_wii.html

 

About Jimmy Selix

Jimmy Selix is an early adopter that loves to be one of the first on the block to have the latest and greatest in technology and gadgets. Another love of his is being able to share his knowledge to others seeking it. Feel free to drop any comments or questions that you may have.
View more articles by Jimmy Selix

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