As this is my first article as a Wii Writer, I thought it only fit to write specifically about the Wii.
Over the past couple of months, the Wii, like it or not, has successfully hijacked both the internet and all video game news outlets. Its new, unique style of gameplay and its promise of affordability has grabbed the ears for the gaming community, literally forcing us all to pay attention to it.
The Wii boasts many new, and unusual, features, including the remote control-ish controller (lovingly dubbed the "Wii-Mote" by adoringly sarcastic fans) and the Virtual Console, which allows users to download over twenty years of Nintendo, Sega Genesis and TurboGrafix-16 games.
But what is the Wii? What is inside the box? What do we know about it thus far? Well, quite frankly, we don't know that much. Nintendo has kept everything about its next-generation console in its back pocket, leaving the fans literally crying for more. To hold you over until more information comes to our eager ears, here is a list of everything about the Wii. Or, at least, everything we know about it.
Wii – It is monosyllabic, and is unique for every language. Commonly attributed to the sound of small children having fun, though jokes have been heard (and enough of it already!).
Design – The console itself will only be as big as three stacked DVD cases, and only slightly longer. It can be setup in standing position using the stand or in horizontal position by laying the console on its side.
Media Format – 12cm Wii Optical DVD Discs (Capacity – 4.7GB Single Layer, 8.5GB Double Layer), or 8cm Gamecube Disks
CPU (Processor) – Jointly IBM developed, IBM PowerPC-based, codenamed "Broadway", made with a 90 nanometer COI CMOS process (for the computer savvy).
GPU (Graphics) – Jointly ATI developed, codenamed "Hollywood". Allows for resolutions up to 480p (that we know of; stay tuned for more developments).
System Memory (RAM and ROM) – Unknown at the time, though other media sources signify that the company Macronix will be supplying a type of Mask ROM.
Memory (HDD) – 512MB of internal flash memory
Memory Expansion – 2 SD Memory Card slots (with the possibility of external hard drives via USB)
Internet Connectivity – Wireless Internet IEEE 802.11b/g, or through one of the two USB 2.0 slots in the back. WiiConnect24 service allows for the console to constantly be connected to the internet. Ability to download DS demos to your wirelessly connected Nintendo DS.
Device Connectivity – Two USB 2.0 slots (though it is unknown if these can be used in the same fashion as the Xbox 360s, i.e. connecting an iPod or keyboard), Wireless DS Connectivity
Backwards Compatibility – Ability to play Gamecube games, Virtual Console. Gamecube controller ports and 2 Gamecube memory card ports inside top flap.
Design – It looks, well, like a TV remote control. Nintendo thinks that one of the reasons that non-gamers choose to not play games is because the controllers are too complex. Therefore, the Big N developed a controller that does not appear threatening and overwhelming, and will look fine sitting along the other controllers of a media center. For greater functionality, Nintendo has included a "Nunchaku" attachment, which looks just as it sounds: the attachment hooks into the bottom of the main controller by a fairly long cord. This would allow the player to hold the two parts of the controller in either hand.
Buttons – The large "A" button, the Plus-Pad, Power, Minus, Home, Plus, 1, 2, and the trigger "B" button. The Nunchaku has, excluding the thumb stick, a "C" and "Z" button. Total Number of buttons – 14 (counting all four directions of the Plus-Pad)
Features – The main controller is motion sensing via a sensor bar that fits either above or below the television. The Nunchaku attachment includes gyroscopic control for simpler tasks. The main controller has four LED lights near the bottom to not only signify which controller port the wireless controller is "plugged in to", but at system start up they will act as a battery meter for the Wii-Mote.
Battery – The Wii-Mote will take two AA batteries. There are some concerns on battery life, but Nintendo states that the batteries will last 30 hours for games that require full motion sensing technology via the Sensor Bar, and 60 hours if the game only used the accelerometer. They'll more or less last just as long as a standard Xbox 360 wireless controller.
Connectivity – The Wii-Mote will connect with the console via Bluetooth, motion sensing will be interpreted by a Sensor Bar that sits either directly below or directly above the television screen. The Sensor Bar will plug into the back of the console. There is a four
controller maximum per system.
Addons and Shells – Nintendo has shown off two "addons" so far, one being the "Classic" Wii controller, supposedly meant for Virtual Console play, and one Gun-shaped shell that makes me want to play Duck Hunt. WiiConnect24 and the Virtual Console
WiiConnect24 – A system that allows the console to be "always on", even when the console is off. When the console is in the off position, most, but not all, processes within the system shut off, leaving a few programs running. This would allow the distribution of patches, addons, mods and other such commodities by video game developers. It can also enhance the gaming experience, such as Animal Crossing. One could shut off the console for the night and come back in the morning to see that a friend had dropped by in the night, left a message or gift and departed from your town.
The Virtual Console – True backwards compatibility, meaning that Wii users will be able to purchase, download games from NES, SNES, Genesis, Turbo Grafx-16 and N64 and play them directly on the console (pricing has not yet been revealed, nor has a definitive control scheme/controller).
Here is a complete listing of all announced games. Remember, these games are only announced.
So, you may be asking what's coming around the corner. With the rumor of another secret circulating the internet, most people are rummaging through news sites for possible gaming events that Nintendo might reveal it at. What's strange is that apparently Nintendo will not be an exhibitor at the Tokyo Game Show, but they also will not be holding any keynote speeches (keynote speeches include Sony and Square-Enix). Will we see the return of SpaceWorld this year, is Nintendo just planning on slamming the internet with news (which will happen either way)?
Just as the time leading up to the article, the coming months will be exciting. Will we see the Wii in all its glory soon, or will Nintendo hold out until the last second? Either way, the Nintendo Wii is shaping up to be a console that will alter the gaming industry forever.
The specs and tech info. were brought to you by our contacts at Nintendo and the listed sources: http://wii.nintendo.com (Nintendo Wii Official Page), the Nintendo Press Website, http://tgs.cesa.or.jp/english/ (Japanese TGS 2005 Website)
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