Nintendo Wii

I very rarely take the time to discuss gaming consoles in Click as this article tends to be more focused towards the serious side of computing such as applications, new technology and the Internet.However, once in a while something quite unique appears on the horizon and it would seem wrong not to give it some exposure.

Nintendo recently announced that their new Wii console would be released on December 8th, meaning it has a release date perfectly timed for the Christmas rush which is way ahead of the Sony PlayStation 3 release date of March 2007.Of course, the more powerful Microsoft Xbox 360 console has already been available for around three quarters of a year which means Nintendo will have to deliver something special to avoid being hopelessly outsold during the festive season.

Luckily what it lacks in hardware specifications it makes up for in ingenuity and cost.The Wii is set to be released at around £180 which makes it far cheaper than the Xbox 360 and the PS3, making it ideally priced for Christmas.This price will include the game ‘Wii Sports’ along with a rather unique controller which has been the main talking point of this new system.

This controller dubbed the ‘Wiimote’ isn’t designed in the traditional way as it works more on the principle of capturing the movements of the controller in three dimensions than simply pressing the traditional left, right, up and down buttons.This means that for tennis games the controller would actually act like a tennis racket which you swing around your living room, with the likes of Zelda you would use it as a fictitious sword, with your motions in real life being imitated in the game.The controller also includes a small speaker so that localised sounds can come directly from the controller rather than through your TV.Of course all these features could be considered gimmicky by many and additionally the 3D capture would be completely unsuitable for many games so there is also a classic style controller available.

In terms of backwards compatibility the Wii has been designed to work with old Nintendo Gamecube games and controllers.Retro gamers will also be pleased to know that an archive of old Nintendo games such as Super Mario Bros will be made available to download directly on to the console.Rather surprisingly Nintendo have also secured the rights to distribute many old Sega Megadrive games over their online service which is something I never thought I’d see.Unfortunately you do have to pay to download any of these games which is a disappointment when you consider that even now you could freely download them on your home PC and use one of the many emulators freely available.

As mentioned at the start of this article the price has to be an important factor especially when I Nintendo’s primary market for this console would probably be the younger end of the market.The release price of roughly £180 is way below the current Xbox 360 price of £270 and the anticipated PS3 release price of around £400.

For your money you get a unit measuring around 8.5” x 6” x 2” with a 730Mhz PowerPC processor with an ATI 240Mhz Graphics Processor and a built in wireless network card.The Wii comes with a rather paltry 512Mb of built in flash memory for internal storage but it does include an SD card slot to allow the storage to be upgraded.Another noteworthy feature is the parental controls function which can restrict youngsters from playing games clearly outside of their age range.

Whether I will buy one or not is still to be seen but since one of my colleagues at Refresh is a bit of a Nintendo fanatic you can be sure that I’ll have played one before the year is out and so I’ll be giving you an update then as to whether or not it’ll make an ideal gift for Christmas.


About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.