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Nintendo's "Revolution"


Wii remote and Nunchuk attachment

Wii Classic controller


Nintendo's successor to the GameCube arrived with a splash just in time for Christmas of 2006. Whispers from Nintendo during development hinted at a new type of controller interface, leading to lots of speculation. The console was shown at the 2005 E3 show sans controller while still under the codename "Revolution." Public reaction was mixed after the Wii remote was unveiled at the 2005 Tokyo Game show later that year, leading to wild speculation in internet circles about how exactly it would function.

A year later just prior to the 2006 E3 show it was announced the name of the console had been changed to "Wii," a choice that illicted many jokes and ridicule from the gamming community. However the general consensus at E3 was positive. In the six months prior to launch an abnormal amount of buzz grew around the upcoming console, fueled by various commercials showing the unique Wii remote in action. The company defended the name change citing that it is easier to remember and say in multiple languages than "revolution."

The launch of the console is one of the more successful in recent history. In a time when game system launches are plagued by shortages and recalls the Wii launch has gone relatively smooth, with few to reports of widespread system failures of the type associated with some other consoles we could mention. On December 15th 2006 nearly a month after launch Nintendo quietly recalled 3 million nunchuk wrist straps to be replaced with a wider, stronger version.

The remote works by tracking movement through space by sensing light from ten LEDs on the accompanying sensor bar in addition to analog devices and a Pixart optical sensor to detect where the remote is pointing. The sensors in the remote can also detect tilt and speed, such as the remote being thrust foward or slowly drawn backwards. The remote is most effective is used within five feet of the sensor bar.

The console itself is suprisingly small, about the size of three DVD cases stacked on top of each other. The drive accepts both Wii and GameCube discs and features a blue LED that pulses when the console is turned on or when downloading from Wii connect. There is no built in ethernet port however it is possible to use a USB ethernet adapter. There is also a slot for SD cards for game saves or to back up purchased Virtual Console games.



As of this writing (2/8/07) I don't personally own a Wii, however what I have seen of it from friends and demo units I must say I'm impressed. Using the remote takes a bit of getting used to. My first attempt at Wii sports was pretty sad, I couldn't even hit the stupid baseball. True I felt pretty stupid standing there waving the remote around while everyone stared at me. But as you get into it and loosen your body up you start to do better; Then you realise something, this is fun. I found myself unconsciously taking a full baseball stance and swinging with energy. Same with golf - I wasn't just playing the game, I was practicing my (pathetic) golf swing.

Graphics when compared to it's competitors really isn't much to write home about. The three games I've so far sampled (Wii sports, Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Rayman) only Zelda impressed me in this department (Rayman looked pretty horrible actually, somewhat muddy.) However it's still too early in the console's lifespan to make accurate judgements of what the hardware is capable of.

As per usual for my personal collection I'm waiting to make the transition to the new systems, but of the three I'm going to get the Wii first, not just becasue it's the cheapest (although that is a big factor) but becasue it shows a lot of promise. A lot of games today just don't turn me on - sure they look awsome but they're too long, they demand unrealistic amounts of time to complete everything, they're too easy, they remind me too much of work. The Wii actually makes me want to play new games instead of hunting down obscure stuff for my classic consoles.


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IBM Power PC-based "Broadway"

ATI "Hollywood"

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12 cm Wii Optical Disc

GameCube Compatible


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GameCube Memory Card

SD card


USB 2.0 x2


Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection


Virtual Console

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