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Useful Notes / Wii
aka: Nintendo Wii

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"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:

  1. Being innovative;
  2. Being the "kiddy" console company;
  3. Making their products durable, equal or surpassing that of Nokia;
  4. Holding up the rear in the Console Wars (only for home consoles, mind you. The Game Boy Advance was still selling strong, with the Nintendo DS still a good amount ahead of Sony's Playstation Portable).

Many Japanese third-party developers wanted nothing to do with Nintendo following the Nintendo 64, and many gamers thought Nintendo would concentrate on handhelds or even go third-party like Sega, Activision, D3 Publisher, Electronic Arts, Hudson Soft, Atari, THQ and SNK. Things were this dire. 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, family-friendly, durable console. This time though, they would not be dead last. Thus, enter the Nintendo Wii.


Nintendo focused on an innovative, motion-based control scheme involving the Wii Remote, or the Fan Nickname "Wiimote," a controller which can best be described as a fusion between an NES controller and a television remote control, that could sense both the button presses and motion-based movements 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 X to perform action?'? What's performing an action? What's X? Do I have to hug him? And how do I made 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 US$199 in Japan with no game, and roughly US$249.99 elsewhere when bundled 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 (DVD and CD playbacknote , high-definition support, and built-in ethernet capabilities) 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, with an (initially) white color scheme to boot.

Much to the surprise of the gaming press, doubters, and nay-sayers, It sold well. Ludicrously well. The Wii's crushing marketing victory, Day 1 profitability, and unprecedented 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, along with everyone and their grandparents (quite literally) getting their hands on one. 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 PlayStation Move, right after having their marketing team call it a useless gimmick meant for "casual gamers".

Plus, it did it all without needing specs that raised the cost of the system (which, following Japan's "Lost Decade" of economic instability, they could not have afforded regardless). Much of the Wii's internals were based off the GameCubenote , an already pretty powerful piece of hardware (for its time), but made even more powerful. It had numerous fundamental differences to the PS3 and 360. The make a good analogy comparing the systems is that the Xbox 360 and PS3 are modern, top-of-the-line supercars, while the Wii is a tuned-up roadster from a decade ago, modified to yield higher horsepower. ex: 

Nintendo's first true foray into internet-based play started on the Wiiex:  and, much like the console itself, were a far cry from the other systems. These included the infamous friend code system that would be phased out in later generations in favor of more traditional usernames. The Wii did have a surprisngly deep online store like its competitors, and a separate Virtual Console store that essentially served 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.

Sadly, in the case of third-parties, most developers would either ignore the system entirely, or toss in some quick-and-dirty ports of PS2 games (coupled with half-baked controls) like Ninjabread Man, with more serious efforts coming only after the system's continued popularity established it as a friendly environment. The low development costs compared to its HD cousins allowed for many unusual, financially risky games, often critical darlings but commercial failures. A common debate involving the Wii is whether a real-time strategy game slash life sim where the protagonist is a little boy or a spiritual successor to an equally cult PS2 beat 'em up would have done well on any other system.

However, despite cries of "inferior" graphics and processing power, the Wii continued to sell better or as good as the other systems, depending on whether there was a recent Killer App release, with the Virtual Console being used as a way to offer re-releases of older games as effective stopgaps. 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 was engaged in a constant cat-and-mouse game with hackers with the Wii firmware since launch. Frequent system updates during the Wii's lifetime 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. Trust us, the fans (and Nintendo themselves) surely don't.

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 games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Kart Wii and GoldenEye 007.

In 2012, Canada received the Wii Mini in red. It's a cute little console, but to make it smaller (and cheaper), Nintendo cut out its network functionality as well as GameCube backwards compatibility. This consequently removed practically all entry points for hackers to softmod the Wii Mini, though an exploit within its Bluetooth stack was eventually discovered in 2019.

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.note  Games purchased in the Wii Shop Channel can be stored and run here.
  • In addition to GameCube disks, the Wii uses a "Nintendo Optical Disc" — essentially standard DVDs with a couple of added features — with the capacity of a 12 cm DVD for its games with capacities up to 8.5 GB. This technically makes the Wii the only Nintendo system to use a non-proprietary format as its main storage medium (though the Wii U's optical discs are very similar to single-layer Blu-Rays).


  • 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.


  • An 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.
  • Wii component cables are much easier to come across than their GameCube counterparts thanks to component video having become much more accessible these days, and the fact that the Multi AV port outputs standard analog video means that third-party component cables from companies like Nyko are not only possible, but also widely available (the GameCube's component cables plugged into the Digital AV port and thus required a proprietary DAC chip). Because of this, Wii-through-component serves as a much more affordable method for playing GameCube games in 480p, with the only caveat being the lack of Game Boy Player support and a slightly fuzzier picture (though the difference is trivial at worst and isn't too noticeable without a side-by-side comparison).
  • 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, such as the Nunchuck and the Classic Controller.

Notable Games/Series:

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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, Wii U and Switch, while Microsoft and Sony played Follow the Leader with their own avatar tools.
  • Follow the Leader: The Wii's runaway success caused the development of things like the Playstation Move and the Xbox Kinect, though now with each of the derivatives not being very successful they seem to be going away (the Kinect only managing to resist thanks to Just Dance).
  • 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


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