Nintendo Wii Review
A Link to the Future
The Wii is Nintendo's dream for the future of home consoles. The system itself, which has reaped massive media attention in its first weeks on the market, could be considered the company's own "Episode IV: A New Hope". That's because the Wii takes gamers in an entirely new direction, by introducing motion sensitivity and a chance for players to get off their duffs.
Nintendo fans – those who have stuck with the brand since the days of the ultra successful Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and the younger generation most associated with the Gamecube and DS – have anticipated a resurrection in the Japanese company, via the Wii. It's clearly needed; the Gamecube, Nintendo's last home console, was a considerable failure by all financial and marketing standards. The system, launched at the same time as Microsoft's original Xbox in 2001, failed to ever match the fan base developed by the big green box. Even worse, the GC barely put a dent in the goliath following of Sony's PlayStation 2, which received popular support from developers like Rockstar, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. Although the Gamecube tapped some of these game-making resources, it hesitated to take the "mature" route with titles like Grand Theft Auto. That made the system a hit with parents, but not the gamers who were actually demanding a Christmas console.
That's why the Wii is so special. For the first time in years, Nintendo has a legitimate shot at taking back the console market it pioneered (sorry, Atari and Coleco fans). Not only does the system introduce an exciting and revolutionary idea, but Nintendo has stuck with its devotion to the budget-conscious gamer, offering the Wii for just over half the price of its nearest competitor, the Xbox 360. The Wii is available for $249, a steal compared to $399 for the 360 and a whopping $599 for the premium PlayStation 3.
There is a cost to be paid for the low price, however. Nintendo has completely ignored the realm of graphics, leaving the Wii behind its competitors in sheer muscle. By most accounts, the Wii's visuals are only a slight jump, if that, on Microsoft's original Xbox. In addition, there's no high definition support here, so it matters not whether you're playing Zelda on a 42" plasma or your parents' old 27" RCA.
Nintendo Wii Specifications
|Dimensions||4 mm wide, 157 mm tall, and 215.2 mm deep (minus stand)|
|CD Drive||Accepts both 12 cm and 8 cm discs (Gamecube)|
|Memory||512 MB built-in flash (2 GB maximum expansion available via SD), 88 MB HD (24 MB "internal", 64 MB "external"), front-mounted SD drive|
|CPU||PowerPC "Broadway" processor, clocked at 729 MHz|
|Controllers||Support available for four Wiimotes, connected via Bluetooth|
|Rear Ports||Support available for four Wiimotes, connected via Bluetooth|
|Audio||Dolby Pro Logic II capable, built-in controller speaker|
Nintendo has assured fans that it can overcome these superficial shortcomings, however. It's quite possible, since any gamer must admit that gameplay is far more important than the shallow obsession many developers have with graphics.
We've broken our review of the Wii into the following categories:
We'll take a close look at the reason why the Wii is making such a stir with the "Wiimote" and how this works with the launch games that use it.
Is this Mario's chance to take down Master Chief and the SOCOM team?
Note: We'd like to thank Guelph Microplay for hooking us up with a console that is, at the moment, harder to find than a sober Irishman.