Review – Nintendo Wii

On November 19th, Nintendo released it’s latest console, the Nintendo Wii. Instead of focusing on an evolution in graphical capabilities, Nintendo focused on a revolution in the way we play games. With a unique controller and a new outlook on gameplay, the latest in Nintendo gaming may well be the hit of the season.

After standing out in the cold for a few hours, I drove home with a nice new Wii and a couple of games to check out. Of course, being a Christmas gift, I wasn’t able to check out the console until the night of Christmas Eve, after the kids went to bed.

The time in between allowed me to find another controller and nunchuk. I also picked up a set of component cables after reading that the graphics looked a LOT better with them. Unfortunately, I was only able to find the Psyclone cables, which ran a hefty $60. But, they do seem to be well built, so I’m not too upset.

A total of three games made it home for the holidays, Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and The Legend of Zelda : The Twilight Princess. Full reviews of these games will be coming sometime in the near future. All three of these games are excellent, however, which I find quite surprising for a console launch. In addition, the Wii comes with Wii Sports, a collection of sports games for general entertainment. While not as in-depth as some of the more popular third party titles, these games are polished enough to make them a lot of fun.

So what makes this such a great system? After all it’s really just a glorified Gamecube. Well, sort of. The processing power of the Wii is a bit more. The Gamecube clocked in at 485 MHz while the Wii clocks in at 729 MHz. Likewise, the Gamecube GPU ran at 162 MHz and the Wii runs at 243 MHz. There are obviously more differences but I won’t get into them. The real revolution is in the new controllers.

The Wii controller are wireless, using Bluetooth technology to wirelessly connect to the console. At launch, there are three different controllers. The Wii Remote is the primary controller with the Nunchuk and Classic Controller as add-ons. Most launch titles use either the Wii Remote, or the Wii Remote with the Nunchuk attached. The Classic Controller is primarily used for the Virtual Console games which I have yet to try.

The remote contains a number of accelerometers that allow the Wii to determine the speed at which you move the controller. Coupled with the Sensor Bar, the Wii can determine the location of the controller in 3D space, allowing for some interesting gameplay dynamics.

In addition, the Wii allows for online content such as a weather channel, news channel (not yet launched), a web browser (in beta), and an online store. There are likely more channels in production and will be released later in the consoles lifecycle.

Overall we had a blast playing the Wii and have clocked over 20 hours on it since Christmas day. There are still a number of launch titles that look excellent so I’m sure our library of titles will be growing. I highly recommend this system if you can get your hands on it. It is truly a revolution in gaming.

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