The Nintendo Wii
The Nintendo Wii
Bill Kunkel (Editor-in-Chief, "Tips & Tricks" Magazine) gives expert video advice on: What are some games that show off the capabilities of the Nintendo Wii?; What are the best qualities of the Nintendo Wii? and more...
What is the "Nintendo Wii"?
The Wii with Nintendo is realising that these games are really all about the experience; people getting together and playing. Simplified things. The game systems were becoming so complex; the X-box, the PlayStation, introducing two joysticks on there, forty buttons and everything. I feel like a camera operator sometimes. Whereas, the Nintendo Wii is so perfectly intuitive that you're now seeing news stories where in an assisted living centre every Tuesday night people are getting together to play Nintendo Wii bowling. I just heard a story the other day about a convent where the nuns get together once a week to play on the Wii. The games kind of got to the point where they were becoming too complicated for their own good. So much emphasis was being placed on the graphics, and how photo realistic we can get. I think Nintendo has proven in this generation that the most successful idea anyone's had in a long time was to simplify matters; was to make the playing experience simpler, more fun, and more entertaining.
What are the general graphic capabilities of the Nintendo Wii?
The general graphic capabilities of the Nintendo Wii are not on the same level as the Xbox 360, and certainly not at the same level as the Playstation 3, simply in terms of colors, and the number of pixels, and things like that. The Nintendo Wii's graphics are still quite remarkably beautiful; a game like Zelda is beautiful. Once you get to beautiful, there's more beautiful, there's more realistic. In terms of general graphic capabilities, lighting can always improve. The things that they're doing with technology, with lighting - making light bounce correctly off walls and things exactly the way they would in real life.
What type of controls does the Nintendo Wii use?
Wii uses a very interesting combination controller. Primarily it uses a wireless kind of a stick, sort of like a sword hilt. As you move it, it directs character, it directs aim; it directs any number of functions on the screen. It also comes with a series of attachments. There are what they call the nunchucks, which is an additional button that you can hold; you can press it if the game needs more than a direction command. Most games require more than simply direction; they require some kind of action. So, if you need to perform an action, you use your nunchuck. They have also developed a number of supplementary devices that will plug into there, including the old-school controllers; joypad-type contraptions. If you like playing with those things, for whatever reason, you can continue to play with them.
What are some games that show off the capabilities of the Nintendo Wii?
One of the nice things about the Wii is that it comes with a game that includes five games on it and the five games really show off the capabilities of the machine really well. There's a bowling game; you just take your Wii controller and you bowl with it. There's a baseball game where you swing the Wii controller like a baseball bat. There's a tennis game where you use the Wii controller as a tennis racket, and there's a golf game. It was so brilliant of Nintendo. It's falling out of fashion to include a free game when you buy a system. It used to be that whenever you bought a system it came with a game, and that game showed the system off to very good effect, but that costed out of the equation. The Wii is the first system in a long time to actually develop a game specifically so when you buy that system for two hundred and fifty dollars you get a game that shows you what those controls can do and how much fun it can be.
Can the Nintendo Wii play video games released for the GameCube?
Yes it can. GameCube games go right in; fit right in the slot. You can also download earlier Nintendo games. I believe you can go all the way back to the original Nintendo NES, the Super Nintendo, the N64; all those systems, and of course, all you have to do if you want to play them using the original controllers again is just buy a plug-in that will hook into your wireless. Wii-mote is what they call them.
What are some exciting accessories for the Nintendo Wii?
One of the neat things is that you can make what they call "Miis". You make a little version of yourself and you can construct it to various features; say if you want a hat on, you want sunglasses, a beard, long hair, blonde hair, brown hair, or whatever. You kind of put them together like in colour forms, almost electronic colour forms, and you make a Mii. That is your little representative; your little surrogate character on the screen. We don't even know what the plans are regarding what will happen with all these Miis. Eventually, clearly, Nintendo has some interesting ideas for them.
What are the networking capabilities of the Nintendo Wii?
Right now, the networking capabilities of the Nintendo Wii have not been fully expounded upon. They're saying, at this point, that if you've your Wii plugged in while you sleep they may well be uploading things to your machine and you may come back and play a game and find that it's changed; the capabilities there. They're working with the 'Second Life' people to produce some kind of product. This has been made very vague at this point, but the fact that they're looking that far ahead is pretty impressive. I would say it has extraordinary potential in that regard.
What are the best qualities of the Nintendo Wii?
The best qualities of the Nintendo Wii include its being super intuitive. When I started covering games, in the days of Pac-Man, no one said, "We're developing Pac-Man for thirteen year-old Libras." The demographics have just narrowed down so much in terms of marketing. No one said, "Who's going to play Pac-Man? Is it going to be kids playing it? Is it going to be adults playing it? Who's going to be playing this?" Well, anybody who enjoys it is going to be playing it, and I think that they've opened up the market so much that when you hear about convents full of nuns playing the Wii every Tuesday night, then you know that while at the same time the kids love it, you've got a machine that's really spanning the demographic rainbow. That alone is a tremendous accomplishment. Also, making it available for $250 with a game that has five games on it makes it probably the best buy in gaming, maybe ever.