Nintendo Wii - Review

Yes, yes, I did manage to get one of the things I wanted from my Christmas list, and I sure was surprised with the console.

Read on for the full impression.

The pleasure starts with the box

If you, like me, have purchased many consoles in the past, one of the things that might bother you a bit is that most boxes were made to be more confusing than the inside of a pyramid (I’m looking at you Sony!). However, Nintendo managed to do a great job with the Wii’s box.

When you open the side of the box, you will see two pull-out shelves. The top one contains the innovative Wii Mote, Nunchuk add-on and the much debated “sensor bar”. It also contains the system manuals, and the Wii Sports Game (thanfully, the European console came with the box).

The bottom shelve, contains the console, the SCART cable and the Power Supply, which is surprisingly big and looks like a slice of the Wii was cut off, although it’s grey.

The Console

The console’s is a bit bigger than I expected. When I look at it from a certain distance, and next to other objects like the Television or the original model of the Playstation 2, it looks small. But when you pick it up, you notice that it’s a bit bulky. It’s dimensions are somewhere between an original Playstation 2 and the miniaturized version of it (the PS two, not the PSP). But then again, it’s thinner than my external HDD I bought recently, so I guess that it’s size is quite an accomplishment.

On the front you have 3 buttons, although you’ll probably only need to use two of them. The buttons are “Power”, “Reset” and “Eject”. But since you can turn on the console with a Wii Mote, and I haven’t run into any crash yet with the system, the “Eject” button is probably the only one I’ll use for the time being. Still at the front of the console, you can open a small lid that has a Synchronize button, that allows you to synch your Wiimote with the console, and an SD card slot, which you can use to store Wii Channels (more about those on the next topic).

The “side” of the console, or “top”, depending on whether the console is lying down or turned vertically (like shown above) has 4 slots for GameCube controllers and two slots for memory cards

First contact

When you first turn on the console you’re greeted with some settings you need to define, like the date, the console’s name, etc etc. One of the things that is actually good about these settings that you predefine is that they help you become acquainted with the controller itself.

After you get past them, you are finally greeted to the Wii channels. Wii Channels are small square options on the interface, each with an animated graphic that allow you to access everything that the Wii can offer that isn’t related to the configuration of the console itself. Initially, there are 6 channels available (although, for the time being, two of them aren’t working yet).

The first channel is the “game channel” I guess, because it allows you to access the content of the game or software you put in. The second, is the Mii channel, which allows you to create a virtual caricaturization of yourself (Sims style). The third channel is the Wii photo channel, which allows you to view pictures placed on an SD card. And fourth and final (working) channel is the Wii Shop Channel, which allows you to purchase games and other software for the Wii. For the time being, I haven’t purchased anything yet, but I did browse the Virtual Console titles a littler and I can already think of a few I’d like to own.

At the time of writting, the Forecast and News Channel aren’t working yet.

Controller

This is probably the part you’re more interested about. And this is all you need to know about it:

  • It’s light – more or less the same weight as a Playstation 2 controller
  • The strap is very thin – if you find yourself making violent moves with the controller, I recommend you reinforce the strap, and stay away from people and objects.
  • You can turn on the console with the Power button on the controller itself, like the XBox 360
  • The speaker sound of the Wiimote is “awful”

And last, but not least:

  • It’s incredibly easy to use

Configuration

Configuring the Wii with my wireless router was a piece of cake. If you have a wireless router, with encryption or not, you will not waste more than 2 minutes going through the configuration menus to get your Wii online. I haven’t picked up the Wii’s manual once, and I was able to get it up and running, and to my taste, in less than 10 minutes (with the software updates included).

Bottom Line

As the months pass, you will have more channels, and more things you can access and do with your console. And even though there isn’t much you can do yet online, Nintendo has build a simple, yet functional interface that anyone can easily pick up.

Rating

I give the Wii, for it’s simple and intuitive software, and the quality of it’s construction:

4.5 out of 5

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