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.