Nintendo Wii

August 24, 2007

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Manufacturer’s description

Following a trend begun with the GameCube and continued with the DS handheld, Wii evidences a significant split of Nintendo’s philosophy from those of its consolemaking competitors, Microsoft and Sony. As suggested by its development codename, “Revolution,” Nintendo did not want this console to represent another evolution in gaming technology, but a new direction in the video game industry.

Instead of concentrating strictly on advancing the processing and graphics capabilities of its next game machine, Nintendo’s research and development focused on easing accessibility, widening its audience beyond young and “hardcore” gamers, and expanding the scope of games that people make and play. With Wii, Nintendo aimed to innovate instead of simply improve.

This focus on innovation is manifest in the console’s two most notable features: its controller and its backward compatibility. The Wii controller is rectangular and slender, similar to a television remote control. It is wireless and, unlike the GameCube’s WaveBird, features a builtin vibration function. The wandlike Wii controller senses threedimensional motion up and down, back and forward, side to side allowing it to be aimed like laser pointer, wielded like a sword, swung like a baseball bat, cast like a fishing rod, and employed in other intuitive control schemes.

For use with games requiring conventional analog input, a thumbstick accessory, with trigger, can be plugged in the bottom of the Wii controller, to allow more traditional, twohanded manipulation. Without the thumbstick, the controller can also be turned on its side an used like a Nintendo Entertainment System gamepad, with its crossshaped Dpad beneath the left thumb and two action buttons on the right. This feature is useful for both new and old Nintendo games Wii can run.

Compared to the motionsensing controller, capacity to play games from earlier systems may seem less “revolutionary,” but Wii’s backward compatibility goes farther “backwards” than any previous console or handheld has gone. For a fee, Wii owners with an internet connection can gain access to an extensive offering of downloadable games from earlier generations, including releases for N64, Super NES, and even the original Nintendo Entertainment System.

Select Sega Genesis and NEC TurboGraphix games are available through the online service, as well. In addition to Nintendo’s unrivaled backcatalog of classic console games, Wii can also play 8cm GameCube discs. Hidden beneath a panel on the top edge of the machine, Wii has four ports for GameCube controllers.

Games developed and released for Wii come on 12cm discs; the same size as a standard CD or DVD. In addition to downloadable games, GameCube, and Wii discs, the console can play DVD movies when it is equipped with an enabling accessory. Two slots are available for memory cards, and two USB ports can support a variety of first and thirdparty accessories.

The console itself is small and sleek. Its dimensions are often compared to the size and shape of “a stack of three DVD cases.” A custom stand can be used to hold the console on its edge and at an upward angle, for easier access to the disc slot, but Wii can also be operated while laying flat. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide

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