Nintendo is well known as one of the stalwarts off the gaming industry. It is so ubiquitous in the world of gaming that many people who are unfamiliar with game systems will refer to any console as a “Nintendo.” Nintendo is held in high esteem by gamers worldwide because of its focus on great game play and fun, rather than just pretty graphics and gimmicks. The Nintendo Wii, the company’s seventh generation game console that launched in late 2006, is a perfect example of this philosophy.
What sets the Nintendo Wii apart from the competition is its unique control scheme. Rather than a standard controller where a player handles all commands by pushing a button or analog stick, the Wii controller responds to the way that the player holds and moves the controller. This allows, for instance, a player to use the so-called “Wiimote” to aim the controller to point at on-screen objects, or the player might be required to shake the controller rapidly to perform a certain action. While other controllers have basic motion control and feedback devices, the Wiimote is unmatched in terms of its flexibility and function.
The Nintendo Wii is heavily marketed toward more casual gamers. Compared to the Wii, the other seventh generation consoles (Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s Platstation 3) have much better graphics. In fact, the Nintendo Wii’s graphical power isn’t much greater than that of Nintendo’s previous generation system, the Gamecube. What the Wii lacks in graphical power, it makes up for intuitive, accessible, and fun games for all types of gamers, whether they are 5 years old or 85.
The Wiimote is truly a uniquely designed controller. It is completely wireless, and comparably minimalist in design compared to other console’s controllers. Many games can be played with the Wiimote alone, primarily using motion controls. Other games need an attachment called the “nunchuck,” which features an analog joystick and additional buttons. The Wiimote communicates with the console through a sensor bar that goes on top or in from of the television, and receives the controller’s infrared signals.
Another popular feature of the Nintendo Wii is its built-in wireless capabilities. The Wii can be connected to any wireless network, such as that created through many common Internet routers. Once connected, the player can download new features and updates for the console.
The Wii’s wireless connection gives it access to what Nintendo calls their “virtual console.” The virtual console allows players to download (for a small fee) individual games from previous generation systems. Players can find games from the original Nintendo entertainment system, the Super Nintendo, the Sega Genesis, and even more rare systems like the Turbografx 16. The virtual console is a great way for younger gamers to experience the hits of the past, or for veteran gamers to relive their childhoods.
While many hardcore gamers balked at the Wii’s limited graphical capabilities, Nintendo has proven many people wrong by becoming the most popular console of its generation. The Wii has outsold both of its competitors, and created an entirely new niche of gaming that was previously unexplored.