The Inside Man – Wii-kend Roundup

Let’s start with first impressions.
The console is very well packaged in a box with a similar style to the DS Lite, sleek, small, sophisticated which is easy on the eye and attracts everybody. Upon opening the box you’re greeted with:-

Wii Console
Composite Scart Cables (with scart block)
One Wii-Mote.
Power Cables
Sensor bar
Wii Sports

I didn’t immediately hook up the console to play with it, not like I did with the Xbox 360, at first I opened the box and almost cradled it in my arms, I haven’t devoted this much time to actually checking out a console since the Gamecube. The Wii console looks extremely good in its now adopted (for the time being) iPod white styling, it manages to mask the finger prints and also looks to easily wipe cleaned compared to the Piano Black glossy sheen as seen on the PS3.

Looking over the console as I hold it in my hands it does seem very close to the 3dvd case size it had been originally touted for. The Wii is also housing some very impressive features… like 3 flaps, beneath flap one there are memory card sockets for the Gamecube games, under flap 2 there are the Gamecube controller ports and flap 3 houses an SD card slot and also a sync button to hook-up (wirelessly of course) extra Wii-motes and maybe other stuff in the future? who knows…

The underside of the console also has 4 rubber feet for laying the console flat on its side, I had always been led to believe that the stand for the cube was where the power cable plugged into yet this was merely a design choice to give the Wii a protruding and fashionable slant. I don’t really like the horrible silver block you get which reminds me almost of a matte grey finish. You can buy replacement stands on the Nintendo site, hopefully there will be a variety of colours I would like a nice white once for my wii, or maybe a blue one to go with the blue hue light that flashes around the disc slot.

After hooking up the console via the composite cables (no official Wii Component till 18th 🙁 ) to my Samsung HDTV I finally set the console in motion and with a press of the power button brought the console to life for its first time in the home. Initially you are greeted with the menu screen asking where your sensor bar is located and what’s the time etc. and all that. After passing this you come to the main screen the Wii Menu, where you Have the Wii Disc window followed by (in order), Mii Channel, Photo Channel, Wii Shop, Forecast Channel and News Channel (both of which are not yet activated).

The Mii channel is one of the best additions, think of it as a less complicated more intuitive gamer profile, you crate a little character anyway you like most choose to do a representative version of themselves, whilst the options aren’t super in depth they are very quirky and its easy to create almost anyone. I already have Mario, Agent 47 (Hitman) and Shaft milling around in my plaza, I have even seen Michael Jackson… everyone is here no escaping that. Once created you can use your Mii in games like Wii Sports and others Nintendo are bound to create somewhere along the line, You can send your Mii to ‘mingle’ on other people’s Mii Plazas which is nice as it really gives your more of a sense of community seeing your people walking around rather than numbers and Gamertags on a friends list.

Inserting a disc for the first time is a nice and easy affair, the console happily accepts the disc smoothly sucking it into the drive and then loading with hardly any noise at all… this has got to be the quietest of consoles I have heard in a LONG time with the only noise I heard coming when quitting a game back to the Wii Menu and you hear the disc in the drive stop (or maybe some other mechanism) apart from that its silent.

I registered my console to the Wii Connect 24 and set about configuring it to my wireless network it was the easiest config I have ever done with a console, it was automatically detected by the router and configured auto… no problems !!! brilliant!!! One of the advantages of the Wii Connect24 is that it can update your console on the fly (as touted by Nintendo in the run up to release), also you can download classic games from lots of old consoles such as NES, SNES, Turbografix, Mega Drive (Genesis in the States) and N64 these games seem to be retailing at reasonable prices also:

NES – 500 Wii Points – £3.50 ($5) [€5]
SNES – 800 Wii Points – £5.60 ($8) [€8]
N64 – 1000 Wii Points – £7.00 ($8) [€8]
Mega Drive (Gensis) – 800 Wii points – £5.60 ($8) [€8]
Turbo Grafix-16 – 600 Wii Points – £4.20 ($6) [€6]

Games load as quick as the Gamecube’s, well almost it seems and although the console is not much more powerful than an Xbox it is not yet being pushed which brings me to the point of this, the Wii’s potential is still waiting to be un-earthed, its not the most powerful console but it could be this gens most quirky and stable console from not just a quality standpoint but also one that includes and invites many to play, not just hardcore gamers.

My mother is already anticipating the return of me from uni for Christmas and she has already stated I will be allowed to plug the Wii into the TV downstairs (A 42″ Panasonic Vieira) and everyone can play on the console together. Nintendo by turning their back on fancy graphics and Hard drives have created a console that is for everybody. Cheap, Economical, Online for free (implemented next year with Pokémon), the ability to download VC games and for a reasonable price thus interesting older generations like my mother who has only played the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers game on the Xbox since the Mega Drive all those years ago at the height of the Sonic infatuation. Now I can download those for mommy to play nice and easy… just the way Nintendo wanted it to be. Without focusing on power Nintendo have brought gaming into a wholly new field and that’s one for everybody to appreciate.

You can keep your chainsaw bayonets and dual shock next gen controllers (without the shock), I’m going to play tennis with my mother and Golf with my Daddy, Games for ALL my family and at an affordable price… Do I really need NEXT GEN???

See you around or send your Mii to mingle at my place!!!