Archive for the 'Nintendo Wii' Category

What Nintendo Did Next

What to do when your portable is ruling the waves, your consoles are selling faster than you can produce them and there is this little Gameboy brand waiting in the wings? These are tough times for Nintendo Corp.

But hang in there Mr Nintendo, for we have seen the future and there is hope! A weary traveller called in not more that 2 days ago, full of news from a distant time. Here is his foretelling of what Nintendo did next.

Wii-bird: He told of the return of the grand-daddy of controllers. This time not only wire free but now is fully packed out with multi-directional rumble.

Not only that, he said, but it also comes with a built in charger that plugs into the USB port on the back of your Wii. So no more scurrying around for batteries.

Wii-player: He whispered of using his DS to play Game Boy Advance (GBA) games on his TV. Simply pop in your old GBA cart into the DS and follow the on screen advice to connect wirelessly to the Wii-player channe, and away you go! You can then play those classic GBA titles using your DS as a controller with the action super large on your TV.

Not only that, he said, but you can play GBA games that used the link cable for mulitplayer, against your friends via the Wii Connect 24.

Wii-board: He spoke of a full querty keyboard for the Wii. Complete with holster for the Wii-mote to provide wireless typing fun!

Not only that, he said, but it also has built in game controls for a quick switch of context between movement and typing, for any major MMO’s that may show up on the Wii sometime soon.

gameboyvc.gifWii-boy: He sang with joy about the original Gameboy Virtual Console. For just 100 points, you can buy a packs of original Gameboy games and play them in all their pixelated green/grey full screen glory.

Not only that, he said, but you can play Gameboy Colour titles too, and take advantage of any Super Gameboy features on the cartridge.

Mii-stats: He talked of a new Mii statistics channel to provide graphs and statistics of your Mii’s progress through the games it has played.

Not only that, he said, but this also enables your Mii’s stats to travel with them to other Wii’s, thus enabling comparisons and competition between your friends.

Phew! Well there you have it, the honest to gospel truth. Well that’s what he said anyhow.

Andy Robertson

Like a Wavebird from the Ashes

wavebird.gifcard_andyr_small.gifThe GameCube pad was an instant hit with me. No previous controller fitted as snugly in my hot little mitts. The buttons were where I wanted them, the sticks were responsive and distinctive, and the analogue triggers worked like a dream.

One thing was holding it back however, a little black cable tethered it to the cube. The stage was set for the grand-daddy of Nintendo controllers, the WaveBird. Once held untethered, all else felt cumbersome and tied down. (A similar experience to the first hold of the Wii-mote/nunchuck.)

The WaveBird continued Nintendo’s use of AA, rather than proprietary, batteries and still managed to last a good 100 hours. It supported up to 16 simultaneously players (if you could find a game and enough friends).

But now the Wii has arrived, are its days numbered? Not at all, it is in fact seeing a resurgence of both its popularity and its usefulness. Not only can you use it to play all those classic GameCube games, but it even works with NES, SNES and N64 virtual console titles.

wavebird2.gifOf course, it does have to compete with the Virtual Console (VC) controller. But for me there’s no competition. The WaveBird not only plays more VC titles, but also continues to support GameCube games. And critically, it’s not tethered to a dangling Wii-mote.

The WaveBird has seen great fluctuations in price over its turbulent life. I recently put together the following list that shows the little fella’s popularity reflected in its price (in my local and on-line retailers):

  • GameCube Launch Price £34.99 (Electronics Boutique)
  • Mid GameCube £27.99
  • Late GameCube £22.99 (Game)
  • End of Gamecube life £5.99 (WH Smiths Sale)
  • Wii Launch £17.99 (Play.com)
  • Post Christmas price £24.99 (Amazon.co.uk)

I think we will see this price increase as its popularity goes up, and availability goes down. So it could well be a good time to buy into some of that WaveBird stock.

Let’s end by quoting from the IGN 9.5 review:

Nintendo’s wireless WaveBird controller is my father. It owns me — there is no doubting that. From the moment I first used it, I knew I would have to worship it for the rest of my life. Really, you’ve read our review — you know we love this thing.

— Update (12th March 2007) —

Thanks for all the feedback. That’s made interesting reading. If you are still after a Wavebird, and beat the escalating ebay prices, Amazon now have them for £17.98 and Play have them for £17.99.

Andy Robertson

The Play Biome

card_andyr_small.gifIn 2001, Tim Smit started a country garden project with a difference. Inspired by the fascinating story of plants’ importance to man, he set about creating an environment where people could again explore:

man’s relationship with and dependence upon plants

eden.gifOften acclaimed for its giant conservatory biomes, the Eden Project removed the usual boundaries and borders that kept the public away from the plants. Instead they provided enticing winding paths amoungst the undergrowth.

Art and information encouraged people to touch, smell and experience the plants in their natural habitats. For them, the problems this introduced was worth the results. They believed that a big part of enjoying and preserving something was to be invovled and connected to it.

We don’t have all the answers, we don’t want to tell others what to think; what we do is invite people to explore their world afresh

All very well, but what has this got to do with games? After a recent visit to the Eden Project, it struck me that this vision has much in common with Nintendo’s hopes for the Wii.

The previous boundaries, like complicated controllers and complex games, that kept many people away from games have now been replaced by friendly wii-remote. Games that took hours to learn have given way to games that anyone of any age can pick up and play.

For Nintendo, the cost of compromising on complexity was worth it, if it meant bringing games to a wider audience. Their Wii (we as in us) monicer, highlights their beleif that we best enjoy games when everyone gets invovled. Not only are there more players, but our play interaction and mechanic benefits from the variety of perspectives.

Like the Eden Project, they are helping people explore man’s relationship with games.

Nintendo has created the most inviting, inclusive video game system to date. Thanks to our unique controller, anyone of any age or skill level can pick up and play games on the Wii console.

And as Tim Smit was surprised by the success of his project, Nintendo also look like they might exceed even their own dreams of playing being believing.

digg.gifAndy Robertson

Strap Get!

strap.gifTo save you an 0870 peak rate UK call, you just need to email wiiwriststrap@codestorm.co.uk with your name and address and the number of straps you require.

They will then post them out to you.

–Edit–
I ordered mine on 16th December and they arrived on the 2nd Jan. All free and nicely installed. Safe as houses!
—–

Wii – Poo

poo.gifThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC), those “charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable”, seem to have gotten into the spirit of the Wii with a jovial FCC id for the Wii-mote. As was picked up by The Inquirer, and now pictured on a UK Wii (right), it reads:

FCC ID:POO-WC45

digg.gifCoincidence or is this a chink in the po-faced armour of the powers that be.

Life After Wii

card_andyr_small.gifThe day arrived, and I meandered into Game to collect the Wii. I was surprised to find a queue of people doing the same. When I collected my DS pre-order the store was empty. Shows how much Nintendo has risen in the UK populace psyches in the last couple of years.

I went for Wii-play, a nun-chuck and Zelda. All in it cost me £272.96, not the cheapest console I’ve brought.

I got it home and unpacked it. The package was top notch, real ‘ipod’ class. It really does seem like they have either hired the people apple use for their branding and packaging. With no reason to rush, the console was out of the box and hooked up in about 30 minutes.

wii.gifIt connected to my netgear wireless router with no problem, and performed some system updates. I only needed to turn to the manual when trying to ‘sync’ my second wii-mote, you need to press a button in the SD slot on the console as well as the button in the battery bay of the remote.

Using the Wii was even better than I had expected. The little buzz each time you hit a button and the audio plings singing from the remote really do make it feel like a new era of gaming.

Wii-sports lived up to the hype and I was quickly playing some tennis with my Jo. And true to form, I also managed to thwak Thom (1) who happened to be in the wrong place for a cross court smash! No broken windows or TV’s yet though!

Creating Mii’s provided more entertainment, and we now have the whole family running around the plaza!

With a create packaging and build quality, great elevator background music, and the awsome packed in wii-sports any fears I had are allayed. I just need for my freinds to get their now (and some proper online games)!

Life Before Wii

clock.gifBetween the wish and the thing life lies waiting. How much of human life is lost in waiting?

I was worried about getting overkill in the run up to the UK launch, but my gamer-tank still seems to have enough fuel in it for a few more days.

My very own Wii-to-be is, this instant, sat in my local Game waiting to be collected on Friday. I even have a little time off work to go collect it.

If you checked my gamer card you would discover my age and appreciate my playing down of the whole collecting console on launch day. But basically I am as excited as a kid before Christmas.

My fears about the wii are:

  • It won’t get my friends and family playing.
  • The control will feel loose and spongy.
  • They won’t release Parasol Stars on the virtual console.

My hopes about the wii are:

  • That it will be graphically cleverer than the Gamecube.
  • That all my friends will get one too.
  • That my kids and wife will like it and spend hours sculpting their Mii’s.
  • That there will be many long evenings and late night game-experience sessions for all.