The Form Factor
The first thing you notice about the Nintendo Wii console is just how small it is compared to the other next generation consoles like the Xbox 360 or the huge Sony Playstation 3. The Nintendo Wii console is not much bigger than three DVDs stacked on top of each other, which makes it less obtrusive in the living room and more convenient in a bedroom. Eventually the console will be available in a choice of colours which will enable you to match your audio visual setup or decor, but for now you can kits and skins to change the colour. The wireless controller is also supplied in the same colour scheme as the console, but can also be 're-skinned'.
The new Wii controllers are what define this console and set it apart from all other games consoles. Whereas Microsoft and Sony have stuck to traditional controller designs, Nintendo have been more original with their Wii console controllers. The revolutionary Wii wireless controller includes a three-axis motion sensor. As well as having motion sensing hardware in the controller, the Wii remote looks for 2 dots of infrared light coming from the sensor bar (this is actually a light emitter, not a sensor) placed on top of your TV. This allows it to work out exactly which part of the screen you're pointing at.
What this all means is that you are no longer restricted to pushing buttons or joysticks to control your games, you can now poihnt, tilt and swing the controller. The new motion sensing controller makes playing sports games like golf and tennis great fun for everyone.
The Wii Remote has a power switch, a D pad, A - thumb button, B - trigger button, Plus & Minus, Home, 1 and 2 buttons. As well as the mandatory rumble feature this controller also gives audio feedback as it has a builtin speaker.
The Wii remote features an expansion port which can be used to plug in a number of controller expansion devices. Plug in the Nunchuk controller to give you a joystick and two extra buttons. The nunchuk becomes your left fist in Wii Sports boxing. The Wii Virtual controller also known as the 'Classic Controller' is a joypad that can be used to play a number of back catalogue games from the SNES. The zapper gun can be used for shooting targets on the screen, this expansion is slightly different as the Wii controller actually plugs into a slot on the gun itself. Various official Nintendo peripherals will be available, that also integrate with the main Wii remote.
The console is equipped with two USB 2.0 ports and a bay for an SD memory card. This SD card slot can actually be used to expand the console's built-in flash memory as well as for viewing pictures straight off of your digital camera. Video output comes from a multi-output port that supports composite video, S-video and component video outputs.
The console also has a number of I/O slots that support legacy hardware; there are four ports for Nintendo GameCube controllers, two slots for GameCube Memory Cards and the media drive (a single slot device) will accept the GameCube’s 8 cm discs as well as the more modern DVD type discs.
Networking & Internet connectivity
The console can connect to a network either wirelessly through an 802.11b/g wireless networking adaptor or using a USB 2.0 LAN adaptor. The wired network will be sold seperately as not everyone is going to need this as wireless is the preferred network connection method.
The goal is to keep the Wii console permanently connected to the Internet, even when powered off! The technology behind this is called WiiConnect24, when the machine is in power save mode WiiConnect24 will be able to download updates or allow other Mii's to visit your console. It can also retrieve weather and news updates from the Internet. Unlike the PS3 and Xbox 360, when enabled the Nintendo Wii will make free online gaming a reality. The Wii will also communicate with the Nintendo DS and browse the Internet via the builtin Opera web browser.
It is also possible to connect two consoles without a wireless router or Internet connection. The wireless signal can be detected within 10 meters of the console.
The Virtual Console - The Wii has a built in emulator for a huge back catalogue of titles, from both Nintendo and third parties. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata confirmed Sega Genesis and Hudson TurboGrafx/PC-Engine titles would be downloadable via Wii’s Virtual Console service.
The Wii Wi-Fi service will feature a standard interface like Xbox Live. In much the same way as the Nintendo DS hand held does, the Wii utilises a Friend Code system. In this case there is one code for each console.
In this system’s current implementation on the DS, each Wi-Fi enabled game carries with it a unique ID called a Friend Code. To play with your friends, you must each register the other’s Friend Code in the game. This system has been met with some criticism in comparison to Xbox Live since it does not employ a single unifying Friend Code, and codes must be entered on a game-by-game basis. However the Wii console has one code for all games.
The console will always be online, even when powered off (standby). This quiet time is used to update games, such as adding new features, characters, and even gifts for you!
(Click here to view a full list of what's in the Wii box )
- Wii Console
- Wii Sports game
- Wii Remote with strap
- Wii AC Adapter
- Wii Stereo AV Cable
- Wii Stand
- Wii Stand Plate
- Wii Sensor Bar
- Sensor Bar Stand
- AA Battery
- Wii Sports game (baseball, tennis, bowling, boxing, golf)
- Warranty/Registration card