Useful Notes / Wii

"Wii Would Like to Play."
Tagline, English commercials for the Nintendo Wii

By the end of the Nintendo GameCube's life (and the beginning of the DS's), Nintendo was known for four things: one, being innovative; two, for being the "kiddy" console company; third, for making their products durable; and fourth, for being dead last in the Console Wars (but only for home consoles, as the Game Boy Advance was still selling strong, with the Nintendo DS selling strong as well). Third-parties wanted nothing to do with them, and some gamers thought Nintendo would concentrate on handhelds or even go third-party like Sega, Hudson Soft, Atari, and SNK. In the escalating cost of superior graphics in the Console Wars between Sony and Microsoft, it was thought that Nintendo couldn't compete. In response, they created an innovative, durable, family-friendly console. This time though, they would not be dead last. They created the Nintendo Wii.

Nintendo focused on an innovative, motion-based control scheme involving the Wii Remote, or the Fan Nickname "Wiimote," a controller shaped like a fusion between a NES controller and a television remote control that could sense the movement of the person holding it. This lowered the difficulty curve immensely. Usually a beginning gamer would have to not only to learn how to control his character, but also learn how to control his controller. "'Hold RB for More Dakka'? What's More Dakka? What's RB? Do I have to hug him? And how do I make him doesn't afraid of anything?" ...Okay, maybe we're exaggerating it a little bit. But maybe we're not. Compare this to the ease of using of a remote control and you can see why the Wii Remote was such a clever step.

The Wii also focused on a low price point (approximately $199 in Japan with no game, and roughly $249.99 elsewhere with Wii Sports), countering the escalating price tags on its competitors. They did this by cutting out many features that the other consoles took for granted, like DVD playback, that weren't that important to the gaming experience. Nintendo then marketed the console as "for the whole family," and to further this, made it look as sleek as an iPod.

And it worked. The Wii's crushing marketing victory, Day 1 profitability, and ludicrously high sales numbers make it the most successful seventh-generation console note . From its launch until late 2008 - a period of two years - the Wii was constantly backordered across retailers everywhere. It worked so well that 4 years later all hypocrisy broke loose and both Sony and Microsoft came up with copies of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, namely the Kinect and Move, right after having their promoters call it a useless gimmick to lure bad gamers.

Plus it did it all without needing specs that raised the cost of the system (which they could not have afforded). The innards of the Wii are based off the GameCubenote . While its total polygon count is much higher, the Wii's hardware is still based off 2001 technology, so while it's cheap, it doesn't have the advanced features more powerful consoles have.specifically... 

Nintendo's online offerings are a far cry from the other systems, including the infamous friend codes (although those are being emphasized less and less). Nintendo has focused on local multiplayer, which the other two consoles seem intent on abandoning. The Wii does have an online store like its competitors, and a separate Virtual Console store that essentially serves as legal Emulation. Unfortunately, a true mass storage solution (like, say, an external hard drive) didn't appear until the end of March 2009, and only a limited number of demo versions of the games are available.

Third-party developers initially either ignored the system entirely or tossed in some quick-and-dirty ports of PS2 games (generally with shoed-in controls) like Ninjabread Man, with more serious efforts coming only after the system's continued popularity established it as a friendly environment. The Wii has also received a reputation as a platform with lots of shovelware, due to its low development costs, although this is a trend that has always dogged the market leader of each generation. Making matters worse is that most Wii games aimed at a "hardcore" audience are rare, thus not enough to grab an audience that a steady stream would, plus a lot of the niche games are declared to not be niche, and thus when they don't sell well, it's blamed on the Wii audience, even though such games don't sell that well on any system. The result is that Capcom, Sega, and Ubisoft are the only 3rd-party companies still focusing heavily on Wii development.

However, despite cries of "inferior" graphics and processing power, the Wii continues to sell better or as good as the other systems, depending on whether there was a recent Killer App release. Much of the early analysis of the console's inevitable failure comes across as It Will Never Catch On mentality in light of its overall success, and the occasional April Fool's joke about the Wii being highly successful is now Hilarious in Hindsight.

Nintendo has been engaged in a constant cat-and-mouse game with hackers with the Wii firmware since launch. Frequent system updates include patches to close loopholes known to be exploited by hackers. It is also possible to play DVDs through unauthorized means, though Nintendo would have us believe it requires a hardware upgrade because movie playback wears out the system's DVD drive so quickly. They're probably not lying — technically, the Wii has very little memory and storage space for buffering, so in order to avert Loads and Loads of Loading, it compensates by spinning the disk really, really fast for prolonged periods of time. This has an unfortunate tendency to shorten the lifespan of the optical drive significantly.

It should never be confused with, or thought of as, a Wii-Wii.

Games for the Wii mostly fall into one of four categories:

  • Nintendo's first party titles. In addition to games for "classic" franchises like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong Country and Kirby, Nintendo sells a line of games directed towards casual gamers — people who have never played video games before, or only do so in social settings. Examples include Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Wii Music, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Party. All of these games are designed around the Wii's motion controls and are responsible for Nintendo's new-found success. A handful fall into both categories, such as Mario Kart Wii.
  • Casual games by other companies. Nintendo's casual games have delivered them gobs and gobs of money, and naturally other companies want in. This is mostly Ubisoft territory, but almost every game publisher has released at least one. Many of them include "We" in the title since they legally cannot use "Wii," like We Cheer, We Ski, and We Dare.
  • Ports, Ports, and more Ports: The Wii, hardware-wise, is very similar to the GameCube (in fact, It is often described as a modded GameCube) and to an extent the PSP and PS2, so at the beginning of its lifespan, the console was host to dozens of games ported from them. These ranged from popular games like Bully to sleeper hits like Ōkami and Mercury Meltdown to games so low-quality Sony's US department refused to license them, like Ninjabread Man (this has actually reversed from 2009 onwards — the PS2 is mostly kept alive by downgraded Wii ports). Developers attempted to port PS3 and Xbox 360 games, and a few actually worked, like Call of Duty. Others... were very few actually. After a while, they resorted to a tactic usually seen on portable consoles — make an entirely new game for the Wii, from scratch, and call it a port. Sonic Unleashed, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Dead Rising, and others were given this treatment.
  • Niche and budget games: It costs around 1/4th as much to make a Wii game that it does to make a game on other consoles. This means that games that would normally be considered too risky or unprofitable to get made can be developed, and the makers of games like Monster Hunter Tri, Sonic Colors, and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories have acknowledged that. In fact, there are game genres that are nearly extinct on other consoles (such as 3D platformers) that survive on the Wii for this reason.

HM The Queen has the only gold one. ("The Royal Wii", indeed.)

In 2011, Nintendo revised the Wii, releasing the Family Edition (with various colors coming with different pack-in games). While the same size and shape as the original, the GameCube ports were removed as a cost-saving measure, thus removing backward compatibility support (and the ability to use GameCube controllers for Super Smash Bros. Brawl).

In 2012, Canada received the Wii Mini in red. It's a cute little console, but to make it smaller, Nintendo cut out its network functions as well as the GameCube ports.

The Wii was succeeded by the Wii U in 2012, and Nintendo ended Wi-Fi service for the Wii on May 20th, 2014.

Technical Specifications:

  • CPU: IBM PowerPC 750CXe-based processor codenamed Broadway. Reportedly clocked at 729 MHz. It's a updated version the GameCube's CPU and it uses Power4 tech when the GameCube's CPU uses Power3. However, the CPUs are in the same family, which explains its backwards compatibility; 64KB of L1 cache and 256KB of L2 cache.
  • GPU: ATi designed GPU codenamed Hollywood reportedly clocked at 243 MHz. Based on the GPU used in the GameCube, it removes many features unused on the GameCube in favor of more polygons and more TEV units.
  • There's also an I/O Controller codenamed Napa that handles communication between the GPU and the system, a DSP + 1T-SRAM chip called Vegas, and another processor called Starlet, which handles the external I/O and WiiConnect24 when the console is asleep.

  • 24 MB internal 1T-SRAM integrated into graphics package
  • 64 MB external GDDR3 SDRAM
  • 3 MB internal EDRAM to the GPU itself for framebuffer and texture storage.
  • 512 MB of internal Flash Memory.
    • The front has an SD Card slot, which can support up to 32 GB. Games purchased in the Wii Shop Channel can be stored and run here.
  • In addition to GameCube disks, the Wii uses a standard 12mm DVD for its games with capacities up to 8.5 GB.

  • Like the GameCube, the Wii could only output standard definition resolutions. It supported all resolution modes in interlaced or progressive scan and in 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios.
  • Color Palette: 32 bit (16.7 million colors)
  • Polygon Count: 500 million max, 410 million in game (384 million max used in retail games like with Metroid: Other M).
  • Shaders: 24 TEV units.

  • A ARM11 based chip running at 121.5 MHz.
  • 128 24 bit ADPCM channels, 8 speakers (4 for the Dolby Pro Logic 2 set up and 4 for each Wii Remote).

Add-Ons and Expansions
  • The Wii could support up to 16 controllers.
  • Has 802.11b/g wireless LAN support.
  • There are four GameCube controller ports and two memory card ports for GameCube games. (Removed from the Wii Family Edition and subsequent releases.)
  • There's two USB ports in the back. The only thing to use them officially is a USB to Ethernet adapter, Wii Speak, and keyboards.
  • The Wii remote supports a number of add-on accessories.


The Wii provides examples of:

  • Digital Avatar: Miis. Players can make a Mii in the Mii Channel, then use it in Wii Sports and other supported games. Nintendo later brought Miis to the 3DS and the Wii U, while Microsoft and Sony played Follow the Leader with their own avatar tools.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: The cat in the Photo Channel explains how to use the B button to scroll, but has no idea where to find this B button. (It's on the back of the Wii remote.)
  • Shout-Out: In the Photo Channel, the Doodle feature makes two references to the SNES game Mario Paint. First, the "Undo all" button summons a rocket to erase all the doodles. The rocket looks and sounds different, but functions exactly like the rocket eraser in Mario Paint. Second, if one holds Down on the Control Pad and hits the eraser, it does undo or redo with the sound of Undodog from Mario Paint.
  • Suspend Save: Virtual Console can suspend some games. It can suspend SNES games, but not N64 games. This feature is less useful than the save states in other emulators, because it prevents Save Scumming.

Alternative Title(s): Nintendo Wii