Gadget Review: Nintendo Wii

Since Gamecube, Nintendo didn’t seem to intend to hit hard with the big boys (Xbox, PS2). But with the cheap price and great first party games, they still stood strong. With Xbox360 and PS3 trying to fight in the media home entertainment center genre, it was nice to see the new Nintendo Wii isnt trying to be the same. Nintendo is doing what they are good at, which is good family fun.

Once you get the package, you will know that its a good and complete package and for just Php24000 which also includes a game, its a better choice compared to the Xbox360 or PS3. The box is packed, very little wasted space, no styro junk, all the essential cables, the game system (which is just as small as a regular CD/DVD drive), the WiiMote, nunchuck, sensor bar and a copy of Wii Sports. The why i like the package is because of the inclution of Wii Sports which shows off what the system can do.

Setting up the Wii is not a challenge. I was able to hook up the entire thing in 5 minutes. The only thing that took a tad long is when i was setting up the Wii sensor bar, which should be placed at the center above or below the TV, I had to test it to see if it sees the WiiMotes.

Technically, the system is just slightly better than the original Xbox. Its not a powerhouse with graphics or processing power compared to the 360 or the PS3. The graphics are not as impressive. But the main attraction is the WiiMote. The controller is a technical marvel and what i consider a pure revolution in gaming. You hold it like a regular remote control and it detects your movements (sideways, forward, backward). Its also lightweight and very comfortable to use. Hook up the nunchuck controller on the WiiMote and it can also sense the movements that you do with it.

Navigating thru the Wii menu is simple. One thing obvious is that it works as easy as a mouse since a hand shows up on the screen. You will be greeted by the main screen which shows all your available channels or selections. Most of the channels are blank but it means that you can add stuff or see more updates in the future.

It was easy to setup the WiFi connection, through automatic detection. I was able to update the system and I tried out the news and weather channel and so far I am very impressed to read updated news and weather. Although I do have problem accessing the Wii Shop to work, but I was able to enter it after a few tries, the problem was my router is having connection problems thru Wifi.

Wii Sports alone is very impressive. Being able to try out the WiiMote with Tennis, Golf, Bowling and Baseball is facinating. You rarely even need to press any button since it all relies on movements or gestures. While Boxing is my favorite because it relies a lot of physical movement than any other game, this game is also frustrating because the controls are slow and inaccurate. The games are short but challenging, the controls are almost effortless except for boxing. My favorite part is that it has a fitness test which you can do once a day and tracks your everyday progress. The best game in this collection in Bowling, because it’s a perfect unaltered game. You really have to stand up and pretend like you are actually bowling to get a good throw.

If you can’t see the possibilities of gameplay, i suggest you need to try out WarioWare Smooth Moves since it’s a great showcase of what the Wii Mote can do even without the use of the nunchuck. Try that out you will see that the possibilities are endless compared to the traditional controller.

Ok, about the Wii Shop, you can get the internet browser for free, which is powered by Opera. But the important thing about the Wii Shop is the Virtual Console, where you can buy classic games from Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis and TurboGFX16. Now this is one of the best offerings of this game system, to be able to play the classic games that we have always missed for so long. Although the list is not long enough yet, they add more games regularly… recently they added Donkey Kong Country, Legend of Kage, Streets of Rage and Adveture Island. It already has Mario64, Mario Kart, Super Mario, Gunstar Heroes, R-Type and more. The controlers for these games are different though, but some of them will work fine with the Wii Mote by just tilting the controller sideways and since the Wii mote uses bluetooth, the range is amazing. Some games will run ok with a Gamecube controller but I do suggest getting the Wii Classic Control pad which is perfect for classic consoles. If you want to buy software from Wii Shop, you will need Wii Points which is still not available here in the Philippines. You may need to have a friend or relative from the US to get you some points.

About classic games, the Wii is a perfect Gamecube system too. It’s 100% backward compatible with GCN games and you can use the GCN controller and memory card. I can still play all my GCN games without a hitch. The system is almost perfect.

There is an SD slot for additional storage space since the Wii only has 512Mb for saving and to store channels. You can also read images from your digital camera stored on SD. Although the picture viewer only displayes images in very low resolution. It does have a few fun things that you can play around with friends like the simple puzzle game or you can draw on your pictures. Although deleting images is a bit of a hassle since all posted images are marked in the message board. You have to go to the message board and find the date you have posted the image and delete the message to be able to delete the picture. You can’t delete any pictures or video from the SD card, you can only manage your save files and channels.

The console does have its problems and its with the sensor bar. It has problems detecting the Wii Mote in certain angles and it can get frustrating when your action fails because the sensor failed to see your wii mote. The Wii mote is a great innovative item but its sensor is not perfect. Because of this, gaming in the Wii will be hard to control perfectly not like a regular controller which responds quickly. But the wii mote is so revolutionary that it does make you feel more interactive than ever before.

Wii is new but it has more potential because developers will have to make new refreshing games this time around even with an old genre. Just look at the DS and you can see a lot of possibilities since it has revived some genres and making a few new ones along the way. Im very impressed with the whole system and this is one system i’m excited to see what they show up in the years to come.

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