Itís been just over a month since the launch of Nintendoís Wii console and since that time the product has been flying off shelves across the US, Japan and Europe. In fact the much celebrated Wiimote controller has been flying out of many peopleís hands and doing some damage to TV sets and even people along the way.
The mainstream media has been very quick to declare Nintendoís Wii console to be the next big thing in gaming and thereís no doubt that the Wiimote is indeed a revolutionary controller that when used to its full effect by developers will give games and the people who play them an all new experience, however, the Wii is almost a schizophrenic product with a mix of both revolutionary ideas and design combined with technology that at times is almost retro (sometimes in a good way and sometimes not). The overall result is a product that in our view does a lot to make video games more acceptable to a mass audience but has features that keeps it tied to consoles of the past. It does have one terrific launch title but the overall game launch line-up for the Wii is also lacking. However that may change as more developers get used to the system.
In terms of size, the Wii is small, far smaller than Sonyís Playstation 3 and Microsoftís Xbox 360 (itís even smaller than the recently released HD-DVD movie add-on drive for the Xbox 360). Nintendo likes to say that the Wii is about the size of three stacked DVD cases and thatís a fair comparison. While the console can be laid down on its side, most people will likely want to use the included gray stand that keeps the Wii in a more space saving vertical position. Overall, the size is a huge plus for the Wii. It also helped that in my time with the console, itís also runs very quiet. Itís far less noisy than my Xbox 360 which seems to always have a loud buzz even when it is supposed to be idle.
On the front of the console is the slot loading disc drive similar to the PS3 where you simply let the Wii do most of the work of putting game discs in the console (both Wii and GameCube discs are accepted). An eject button is available on the bottom. The front also has the power indicator and the reset button. Once the console is first turned on the Wii stays on in standby mode; there is no way to completely turn the console off short of pulling the consoleís power cord off. I wish Nintendo had at least included some sort of switch to turn the Wii off completely as the PS3 has done.