The Wii is a video game console developed by Nintendo and released on November 19, 2006. It is the successor to Nintendo’s Game Cube and the early models of the Wii are compatible with all games and most accessories of the Game Cube.
Nintendo first announced the system in 2004, unveiled it in 2005 and demonstrated a prototype in September 2005 at the Tokyo Game Show. By December 8, 2006, the Wii was available in key markets.
In 2011, Nintendo released a new model, the “Wii Family Edition”, and the Game Cube compatibility was removed; it was not released in Japan. Two other Wii models were released in 2012, the Wii Mini, and Wii’s successor the Wii U.
Notable features of the Wii are that it uses wireless controllers that detect three dimensional movement. The unit also has a WiiConnect24 feature that allows updates and messages to be received while the unit is in standby mode. Also, it was the first console to offer a virtual console service that allows for certain emulated games from previous systems to be downloaded.
The Wii name was given as a symbol that it is for everyone and can be easily remembered. The two lower case “i” characters represent two people standing side by side. The name had negative reaction and jokes about it surfaced on the Internet after the announcement of the system’s name.
The unit uses either Wii Optical Discs or Game Cube Discs. The CPU is an IBM PowerPC with 729 Mhz, it has 512 MB of internal flash memory and for external storage it uses an SD card, SDHC card, or GameCube Memory card up to 32 GB.
Compatible controllers for the Wii are Wii Remote, Wii Balance Board, GameCube Controller, and a Nintendo DS Controller. It is Wi-Fi capable with Bluetooth or a LAN adapter, and has 2 USB ports.
Games are on a DVD-type Wii optical disc packaged with instructions. They have regional lockouts so they can only be played on the hardware for the region where it is purchased. Many third party developers are making software for the system including, Ubisoft, Sega, Electronic Arts, and others.
A virtual console service allows Wii owners to play games from earlier Nintendo, Sega, Commodore 64, TurboGrafx-16 and Neo Geo consoles, as well as Arcade hits. They are delivered through a broadband connection via the Wii Shop Channel and are downloaded and saved on the internal memory or on an SD Card.
As of March 2013, the bestselling unbundled game is Mario Kart Wii with 34.26 million games sold and the bundled game, Wii Sports has sold 81.99 million copies.
Twenty-one games were announced on the day of the Wii’s release, and 12 more later in 2006. Wii sports was included with the console except in Japan and South Korea.
As of May 23, 2013 there are 1222 available games for the Wii.
The Wii is the smallest console produced by Nintendo, measuring 1.73 inches wide, 6.18 inches tall, 8.48 inches deep and weighs 2.7 lbs. It can be used horizontally or vertically and has an included stand.
Included with the Wii system were, the stand, a stabilizer, a Wii Remote, a Nunchuk attachment, a sensor bar, an external power adapter, two AA batteries, a composite AV cable with RCA connectors, an instruction guide and a copy of Wii Sports game disc.
The Wii does not play DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, or CDs.
For the first two years the Wii was only available in white; black units became available in 2009 and 2010. In late 2010 a red limited edition Wii became available to mark the 25 year anniversary of Super Mario Brothers.
There were two revisions to the Wii released:
The Wii Family Edition is designed identical to the original Wii but only sit horizontally. The stand is not included and GameCube compatibility has also been removed. It was released in October 2011 with the Wii Remote Plus, Wii Party, and Wii Sports.
The Wii Mini is a redesigned Wii without s-video output, GameCube compatibility, online gaming, an SD card slot and Wi-Fi capability. It has one USB port, includes a audio/video cable, sensor bar, power adapter, a red Wii Remote Plus, and Nunchuk. There is no bundled game with the Mini. It was released in late 2012 and early 2013 worldwide.
Image Caption: A Nintendo Wii in white with remote, sitting in upright position. Credit: Evan-Amos/Wikipedia