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Wii and Wii U : Features, Review & More

In this post, we will focus on Nintendo Wii in continuation of our discussion about gaming consoles. Nintendo released Wii in 2006 and it was a runway success with its motion sensitive game options using a revolutionary motion detection technology. This new feature is introduced using its wireless controller, the Wii Remote, which can be used as a handheld pointing device and detects movement in three dimensions. Both Sony and Microsoft were caught almost unawares when Wii’s motion controllers took the central stage stealing the fun from both of them.

So both companies went back to the drawing board and took almost 5 years to come up with a competing technology. But they did it in style. By mid-2011 with the introduction of Sony PS3 Move and Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect both companies outsmarted Nintendo Wii motion controller technology.

Wii gaming platform consist of console and a Wii remote (Wiimote Controller), sensor bar and a few accessories like Wii remote and Wii Nunchuk. Wiimote controller can be used as a bat while playing baseball or can be swung in any direction while playing a game of Golf. The Wiimote also uses a set of infrared sensors to determine the remote's orientation in regard to the television. A set of IR diodes in the Wiimote communicate with the Wii's sensor bar to serve as a pointer for navigating menus and aiming weapons in first-person shooters. It may take some time to get used to.

While Sony PlayStation 3 and the Microsoft Xbox 360 both emphasize their impressive graphical capabilities, Nintendo downplays the importance of graphics on its new console. Wii lacks support of HD video or surround sound unlike PS3 or Xbox 360 and the TV need to be connected through analog video using RCA cables. Wii comes with a 2GB SD memory card and 2 USB ports. It also comes with an optical drive but it reads only Wii games discs and does not support DVD videos or CDs. However Wii can be made to support DVDs using third party Home Brew software (wiibrew.org). Main menu is given below which is not very attractive looking either. So it is more for a casual gamer and not for somebody who looks for a game console with multimedia capabilities.

There are plenty of games to choose from. . Games are generally available at $30/-

Wii Online features

You can connect Wii to Internet using Wi-Fi and play online with friends across the globe, download new & classic games, or even watch an episode of Nintendo Week on the Nintendo Channel. You can shop online; browse the net using an Opera based browser and watch Netflix videos for $7.99 per month.

Mii Characters

Mii™ characters are those cartoonish caricatures of friends and family members that can be used in games like Wii Sports™, Wii Fit™ Plus, and Wii Sports Resort™. You can create your own Mii characters or download Mii characters made by other Wii owners once you connect your Wii to the Internet

Wii Balance Board

The Wii Balance Board is an interesting (For me this is the most interesting feature of Wii) and innovative accessory created for the Wii™ Console for fitness freaks. It is available exclusively with the purchase of Wii Fit™ / Wii Fit Plus that lets you get off of your couch and into the game. As you step onto the board, it interprets the movement of your feet and brings your motions to life, just like the Wii Remote™ controller. By sensing your weight and balance, an incredibly accurate control scheme is possible.

Wii Fit Plus

Wii Fit Plus is an enhanced version of Wii Fit. It combines fun and fitness into one product. It can change how you exercise, how you balance, and even how you move. Wii Fit Plus is packed with every feature from Wii Fit—plus new exercises and tools to personalize your exercise routine. If you already have a profile on the original Wii Fit, you can easily transfer it over to Wii Fit Plus. Using Wii Fit Plus you can do Yoga, Aerobics, Strength training etc.

Strength training with Wii Fit Plus is a great way to help build and tone your muscles. You'll get one-on-one instructions from an on-screen trainer who can help guide you through the motions. If your push-ups are a little shaky, you'll receive breathing tips, as well as advice on keeping a good pace—things that can be difficult to notice when training alone.

Nintendo 3D S

Nintendo 3DS is a portable gaming for you and supports 3D. There is slide control to vary the depth of 3D effect. You can put off the 3D and play it in 2D too.

A built-in motion sensor and gyro sensor can react to the motion and tilt of the system, so whether players are twisting their systems side to side or moving them up and down, their motion-compatible Nintendo 3DS games respond instantly. It comes with two screens. A widescreen display on the top screen shows 800x240 pixel resolution, with 400 pixels for each eye to create the 3D effect. The bottom LCD touch screen operates at a resolution of 320x240. Both screens capable of displaying a brilliant 16.77 million colors. It comes with 2GB SD card and is expandable.

Wii U

Wii U is the latest upgrade for Wii which is yet to hit the market. It added a versatile controller which can be used as second display too. So you can continue to play games even if the TV is off. The controller has a 6.2” LCD screen which is touch sensitive and a set of wireless analog stick controllers. The content is streamed from the base unit. Apart from the touch sensitive screen and analog sticks it has a built in Gyroscope which added another dimension to the games control. So you can move around and tilt the controller to play games. Unlike Wii this supports 1080P HD video and an optical driver supporting 25GB proprietary format.

If the rumors are to be believed Microsoft will introduce a major upgrade to Xbox 360 next year (2012) and Sony will introduce PS4 by 2013. So Wii U may get some advantage due to its arrival earlier but within a couple of years it may be again perceived as the weakest game console out there.