Nintendo Wii
Type Console Developer Nintendo
Release Date 2006-Nov-19 Region(s) Worldwide
Initial Price $249 USD Games Released 1,238 (still active)
     by Dark Watcher
In the mid 1980s, Nintendo became both a savior and a dominant force to video gaming as we know it.  Twenty plus years later, Nintendo continues to remain a contender in the console market.  It would come as no surprise that they would enter the next generation console war with their codename "Revolution" console.
As usual Nintendo kept a tight lip about their new system, but leaked info for it from as early as 2004.  By 2005, Nintendo began putting out more information including details of a new innovative controller.  By the time the E3 Expo 2006 came around, Nintendo's new console was given a new name.  The Nintendo Wii became one of the oddest names for a console.  There were many reasons given as to the name, but it boiled down to a simple name that can be pronounced in any language.  Nintendo launched the new console in North America (usually in Japan first, but they launched in December) on November 19th, 2006.
If you thought Nintendo was trying to be creative with the GameCube, the design of the Wii is super small and around the thickness of 3 DVD cases.  Its sleek design is meant to fit in with the rest of your multimedia setup (somehow that bulky Nintendo 64 just doesn't fit in with that sleek audio system.  That Barney purple GameCube just didn't match either).  The Wii will come in different colors and can be placed vertically or horizontally similar to the PlayStation 2. the thing is good looking.  What the heck is under the hood?  The console sports an IBM Power PC based processor codenamed "Broadway" and an ATI graphics processor called "Hollywood".  It uses a total of 88 MB of RAM.  The Wii will also have 512 MB of built-in flash memory for storage.  For more detail, please see our Specs section.

On the outside the Wii sports two USB 2.0 ports and a SD Memory card slot for gaming.  It also has a slot loading optical disc drive capable of handling both 12 cm and 8 cm proprietary optical discs.  Behind a flap there are also ports for four GameCube controllers and two memory cards.  Obviously with those ports and the 8 cm optical disc, you can pretty much figure out that Wii is backwards compatible (a first for Nintendo).  They stuck with their usual propriety audio / video output port, but it is be able to display on both television and computer monitors up to 480p (PAL/NTSC) or 576i (PAL/SECAM), standard 4:3 and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen (no High Definition support).  Nintendo also decided to join the online-gaming community and gave the console 802.11b & 802.11g wireless support or through a USB-to-Ethernet adaptor.  Nintendo's online gaming service is free.  The console can also communicate and connect with other Wii systems through a self-generated wireless LAN.  The online capability also uses an always on WiiConnect24 service which allows for firmware updates to the console.  This could add addition functionality to the console.
The Wii user interface adds additional features to the console and works similarly to accessing a television channel.  These channels are graphically displayed in a grid and are as follows: the Disc Channel (games), Mii Channel (online gamer profiles), Photo Channel (view stored photos), Wii Shop Channel (purchase features and more), Forecast Channel and News Channel.  Additional channels can be downloaded from the Wii Shop Channel such as the Internet Channel (surf the internet) and Virtual Console Channel.

Virtual Console takes backwards compatibility to another level.  You can download and play games spanning systems from Nintendo NES / Famicom, SuperNES and Nintendo 64 (for a fee of course).  It also features "best of" selections of Sega Genesis titles and games from the TurboGrafx 16.  The Wii can also communicate wirelessly with the Nintendo DS handheld.  The controllers are also wireless.
Nintendo Wii Channels
On the topic of controllers, this is where the Wii is truly revolutionary.  Nintendo created a motion sensing controller that resembles a remote. It communicates using Bluetooth and features force feedback with an internal speaker.  Motion of the remote is translated to motion on screen.  The controller can connect to other devices, like the included analog stick, through a proprietary port at the base of the controller.  Up to four Wii Remote controllers can be connected wirelessly.

The innovation and uniqueness of the Wii generated a successful launch even against more technically superior console competitors.
     by Dark Watcher
The Dark Watcher has fostered quite a love/hate relationship with Nintendo over the years.  We adored you through the NES/SNES days and were ignorant of your monopolizing tendencies.  You frustrated us with your endless Game Boy revisions and angered us with the cost of Nintendo 64 carts.  You confused us at first with your purple GameCube.  You did not take advantage of backwards compatibility.  You saw no value in online gaming.  You made us buy those damn memory cards and then made better ones later.  We were on the verge of divorcing you Nintendo!  Then you go and take the cool code name 'Revolution' and name your 7th Generation console 'Wii'.  Really?  Seriously?  And then we are happy again like someone with a bi-polar disorder.

We have seen Nintendo designs grow and change through many generations.  From the bulky NES front loader, yellowing SNES (damn flame retardant chemicals), WTF Nintendo 64, then to a purple cube.  We expected another odd toy-like device from Nintendo.
Nintendo Wii console
What we got was a white, sleek and stylish device that looks like the drive bay to a tower computer (Nintendo, as always, later released other color (damn you!).  At 44 mm (1.73 in) thick, 157 mm (6.18 in) width and 215.4 mm (8.48 in) length, it almost looks like three (3) old NES cartridges stacked (or 3 Xbox 360 game cases for the youngsters that don't get the reference).  It is small and shaped well enough to fit in almost any entertainment center.  It can also be oriented horizontal or vertical.  The POWER / Reset / Eject buttons are very responsive and the blue glowing optical disc feed slot is a nice touch.

The console itself feels pretty durable and many online console smash videos show it.  However, the included sensor bar is questionable.  We would almost go as far as saying Wii has "on the go portable" potential like the GameCube, but all those damn hookups (power brick, TV-out, sensor bar, etc) take away from "pack and go".  The Wii communicates with its controllers via wireless Bluetooth (to handle up to 16 controllers), but also features built-in Wi-Fi 802.11b/g.  It also has two (2) USB 2.0 ports for use with accessories like a USB to Ethernet adaptor or a keyboard.

The biggest thing that sets Wii apart, particularly in innovation, is the controllers.  The Wii-Mote can best be described in our History of the Game Controller feature, but put simply the remote looking controller uses infrared and motion sensors to interface with Wii games / features.  The wireless controllers give you an almost in game feel and work with many accessories (and a crap ton of cheap plastic shells).  The Wii uses a channel-based GUI interface that works very well with the Wii-Mote controller.
Nintendo seemed to take ole DW's list of complaints into consideration (other gamers as well, but our review... Let our ego soar and pretend it was our input).  Those damn memory cards?  No problem.  Wii has 512 MB of internal flash memory and can also use SD flash (up to 32 GB SDHC).  Backwards compatibility?  Wii is backwards compatible with GameCube software and most accessories (**2011 Wii redesign removes backwards compatibility).  They also took it a step further with Virtual Console.

Virtual Console allows the Wii to play games from not only Nintendo's older consoles (NES, SuperNES, Nintendo 64), but also select titles for classic system by Sega (Master System / Mark III and Mega Drive / Genesis), NEC (Turbografx-16 / PC-Engine), MSX (Japan only), Commodore 64 (select arcade titles) and SNK (Neo Geo).  VC (Virtual Console) is all done via software emulation and the games are purchased from the Wii Shop Channel.  There is rumor mill that they will add more, but the bottom line is that they addressed backwards compatibility and then some.  Nintendo partially addressed the issue of online game play using built-in Wi-Fi or Ethernet, but it requires inputting / sharing a 12 digit Friend Code.
Nintendo Wii gaming (golf)
Graphically, the Nintendo Wii cannot compete with its 7th generation counterparts, but it can output 480p resolution in standard or 16:9 widescreen.  The hardware is nearly twice as powerful as its predecessor GameCube.  There have been a few games that push the envelope in terms of what Wii can do graphically (Metroid Prime 3, Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles), but for the most part the focus is more on game play.  Audio wise, the Wii can do Dolby Pro Logic II stereo.

The Wii was made for games and in terms of them there is no shortage.  Wii specific game discs come in a dual-layer "DVD-like" proprietary format.  They can be scratched like most optical media, but the Wii features error correction to handle disc imperfections.  The Wii also features parental controls that can lock out games that fall in particular ratings (all set by the user).  The Wii game library covers every genre.  The library is expanded even further with the GameCube library (**2011 Wii redesign removes GC compatibility) and Virtual Console titles.  Game titles are expanded even further with downloadable WiiWare games.
One of the issues with Nintendo's previous consoles is that they offered no functionality outside of gaming.  Nintendo rectified this with channels on its GUI interface.  The Wii can browse the web, has a photo gallery feature, plays music (AAC, M4A), has a weather channel, news channel and as of October 2010 can stream movies through Netflix.

Wii is a tiny little box with lots (and lots) of gaming potential.  It falls short in terms of comparing to the audio / video prowess of 7th generation competition, but brought about enhanced motion controller innovation.  Best of all is the low retail price that continues to drop over time.
     Officially licensed releases
The Wii has been released in the three base colors displayed below.  There are many packaging variations featuring included games, controllers and the like.  The models themselves are technically identical.
Nintendo Wii white modelNintendo Wii black modelNintendo Wii red model (Mario)

Nintendo Wii Mini
Initially released in Canada on December 7, 2012, Nintendo removed a number of key components in this compact version of their Wii console.  Gone are the Component and S-Video output, the SD card slot, Wi-Fi (that's right - no online gaming) and the system features only one USB port as compared to two in the regular Wii.  Backwards compatibility with  GameCube software was also eliminated (big drawback!).  The red with black trim chassis sports a flip-top drive which feels a bit fragile.  A Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuck controller are included with the system along with the pack-in title Mario Kart Wii (after September 18, 2013).  Europe (March 15, 2013) and the United States (November 17, 2013) would also see the release of this low-cost model.

Courtesy of Critiques 4 Geeks

Unpacking the Launch Nintendo Wii with the Optional Console Stand

     Non-licensed hardware releases
The following are not exactly clones of the Nintendo Wii but are inexpensive hacks based on reverse hardware engineering.

Jungle Soft Sport Vii
Initially released in China in 2007, the Vii is a knock-off that plays rudimentary 16-bit games that utilize motion-sensing controller interaction which is basically the same at that used in the Nintendo Wii.  Twelve games were built into the system, with three other multi-game cartridges available for sale.

KenSingTon Vii 2
This hardware hack is a simple redesign of the Jungle Soft Sport Vii.  The system was released in China and I believe also in Japan.  Both releases of the Vii use the same game cartridges.

Ultimate Products LTD. Zone Series
The Zone series of consoles feature built-in games (plug-n-play) with motion-sensing controllers.  Depending on the model, software is either 16 or 32-bit in nature.
Zone Wireless Game System
Zone 40 Wireless Game System
Zone Mini Wireless Game System
Zone 60 Wireless Game System
Zone 3D Wireless Game System
Zone 100 Wireless Game System

A Few Other Nintendo Wii Hacks
Wireless Air 60
Macro Winners MiWi 1
Hamy WiWi
Qi Sheng Long Wiii 3
Macro Winners MiWi 2
Subor iSports / iSports Pro
     by Marriott_Guy
Consoles are rated based upon the available technology at the time of its release.  A 10 point scale is utilized, with 10 being excellent. Nintendo Wii system - front
Console Design 09 Sleek, sexy and entirely functional.  The simple design may not scream 'high-tech', but the clean, clutter free chassis is welcomed by this gamer.
Console Durability 09 Though extremely light, the Wii is surprisingly durable.  I have not had any issues at all in the 5+ years I have had my system.
Controllers 08 The Wii features a plethora of interface devices, most of which are intuitive and provide very good response.  Old school gamers will appreciate the Wii  Classic Controller Pro for a more conventional gaming experience.  Unfortunately, some games deliver poor precision when utilizing the motion controls.
Graphics 06 Considering the time of its release, the lack of high definition support is truly a head scratcher. 
Audio 06 As with its lack of graphical capabilities, Nintendo once again skimped out when it comes to delivering audio performance.  Though adequate for gaming purposes, overall the Wii is average at best in this area. 
Media 07 The proprietary disc format provides amble space for game programs, but unfortunately the disc drive does not support any other media type (i.e. Audio CD).
Game Library 07 Though the Wii sports a massive collection of over 1,200 games, time should be spent researching a respective title prior to any purchase since its library is littered with shovel-ware.
Gamer Value 10 The Wii provides an excellent, unique gaming experience that is quite different from that which is offered by its contemporaries.  The console is extremely affordable with a myriad of quality titles to satisfy any gamer.
Collector Value N\A It is too early to tell which model will be the most valued in the future.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the Nintendo Wii is distributed on optical discs which resemble a standard DVD. This proprietary format allows Nintendo to protect game content from piracy and provide additional security.

A number of Wii games were bundled with various controllers and interface devices that were not necessarily included with the sale of the base Wii system. Some notable titles include Mario Kart Wii (steering wheel) and Wii Fit \ Fit Plus (balance board).

Top selling titles are being re-released as Nintendo Select (formerly known as Player's Choice) editions. These games are sometimes sold at a reduced price and are designated with a red golden seal with a red background on the front cover art.  Replacing these cases is a snap since they came in white DVD style casing.

applemctom's Games that Defined Compiliation

Nintendo Wii Game Boxes
     Captured in-game images
Bloom Blox
Dead Space Extraction
DJ Hero
Donkey Kong Country Returns
House of the Dead: Overkill
Kirby's Epic Yarn
Mario Kart Wii
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Metroid Prime Trilogy
New Super Mario Bros.
No More Heroes 2
Punch Out
Resident Evil 4
Silent Hill
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Paper Mario
Super Smash Bros.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11
Trauma Center: 2nd Opinion
Virtua Tennis 2009
Wii Fit Plus
Wii Music
Wii Party
Wii Sports
Wii Sports Resort
Zack and Wiki
Courtesy of Nintendo Life
     First and third party system emulators

Nintendo Wii emulator that will run on Win XP+, Linux or MacOSX systems.
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
PowerPC based "Broadway" (90 nm) 729 MHz GPU: ATI "Hollywood" (90 nm) 88 MB Total (24 MB SRAM, 64 MB GDDR3 SDRAM)
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
480p or 480i (NTSC \ PAL)
576i (PAL \ SECAM)
24-bit Unknown Dolby Pro-Logic II capable
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
Wii Optical Disc (120 mm) 4.7 to 8.54 GB 1,238 Nintendo GameCube, MP3 (via SD Card)
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
512 MB Flash SD Memory Card slot (32 MB max), GameCube Memory Card slot (2) Wii Remote (motion based) Keyboard, Steering Wheel, various controllers, Vitality Sensor, etc.
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
Up to 16 (10 in standard mode) (wireless Bluetooth connection) WiFi 802.11b/g wireless (Optional USB-to-Ethernet adaptor) USB 2.0 port (2), GameCube Controller Ports (4) Proprietary Multi-AV plug (Composite, S-Video, Component)
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
Input: AC 120V, 50/60 Hz
Output: DC 12V, 3.7A
None ** 2011 redesign eliminated GameCube compatibility **
Supports Nintendo DS and GameBoy Advance (with opt. cable) connectivity
Nintendo Wii Owners Manual (PDF) - 4.16 MB
Nintendo Wii Channels and Settings Manual (PDF) - 1.49 MB
Nintendo Wii Owners Manual (PDF) - 6.90 MB

     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
Nintendo Wii Television Commercials

Some of the standard controllers and input devices for the Nintendo Wii
Wii Remote
Wii Remote black
Wii Nunchuk
Wii Nunchuk black
Wii Remote Plus
Wii Remote Plus black
Wii Classic Controller
Wii Classic Controller black
Wii Steering Wheel
Wii Steering Wheel black
Wii Classic Controller Pro
Wii Classic Controller Pro black
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