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Wii Would Like To Complain

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First, let me preface by saying that I am a huge Wii fan.

It is the first console I have owned in over 10 years. In my gaming career I have owned an Atari 2600, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super NES, and the Nintendo 64. Every console that came out thereafter had controllers with about 523 buttons on them (more added with each generation) and this odd joystick that took ages to master unless you could hold your tongue just right. It was about this time that I became a PC-only gamer: If I have to use a controller with loads of buttons, it may as well be my keyboard. And controlling with a mouse is so much easier.

But the Wii is different. For starters, the controller is wireless. That’s standard. It has eight buttons (one of which is a power button, another of which is “home” going to the main Wii menu. Both of which are rarely used.) It also has, of course, the classic control pad that anyone who has ever played a video game console in the past 20 years would recognize. Fortunately, most of the games require the pressing of very few of these buttons, if any at all. Tennis, for example, requires merely the ability to swing the controller like a tennis racket.

One of the greatest aspects about the Wii is that anyone can pick it up and play. My wife and I GAME TOGETHER! Something we never did before. Even better is that I can pack it up, take it to someone’s home, and we can all have a friendly game of bowling after dinner.

The Wii offers Wi-Fi connection ability and with that connection I can check the weather on the Wii Weather Network, check the latest news headlines on a News Channel, and even surf the Internet on a custom-built Opera browser for the Wii (Yes, I use it often).

Here are two reasons that my anger burns with the Wii…

Number one: It has these cool Internet capabilities that it rarely, if ever, takes advantage of as far as its games are concerned. My other friends and I who own Wiis can send messages to one another via the Wii and even transfer Miis (characters you make on the Wii) to one another’s console via the web; all within the Wii. Yet, we can’t play each other in Tennis, Bowling, Golf, or the other games included in the Wii. Sure, some games coming out will have this feature, but Nintendo made the games that come with the system and made the system. The least they can do is to try and keep up with Microsoft and Sony as far as interacting with friends over the Internet goes.

Number two: Its whopping 512 megabytes of storage space. Nah, I guess you’re right… who needs the 20GB to 120GB storage offered by Xbox, anyway?

Well, I DO!

Would it have killed Nintendo to just slap at least a 10 gig hard drive in the Wii? They aren’t that large. A laptop hard drive has the surface size of a credit card and is only as thick as maybe seven credit cards stacked together. Heck, go solid state and offer us three gigs of memory at least! USB pen drives do exist in that size today. Surely Nintendo had access to manufacturers that could have custom made some memory banks for their console.

The real problem with the 512MB memory comes in when you talk about downloadable content (DLC) for games. For example with the Xbox 360, you can download new songs for games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero by purchasing them with points you can buy online. Nintendo just decided that its customers would be happy playing the same songs, over and over and over, and never get tired of playing them. In fact, the announcement of the Wii Rock Band release for late June includes the disappointing news that there will be no DLC for the game – no one in the Wii community was surprised by that; but it still disappoints us.

Well, what about an external hard drive for the Wii to store data? Yeah right. So far, that hopes of this happening are in the rumor stage (If there is something that the Wii needs, rest assured that there is a rumor that it is coming out). No official word yet on an ugly, bulky, external hard drive for the Wii yet.

Well surely, since the Wii is merely a small computer, one could buy a standard USB external hard drive and hook it up to the Wii via the built in USB ports! Not a chance. Been tested and failed. In fact, Wii owners aren’t really even sure what the USB ports are for since they don’t support anything except a USB LAN adapter (In case you don’t have wireless in your home). You can upload photos to your Wii on the Wii photo channel, but don’t bother trying to via a USB pen drive into the USB ports. This fete of magnificence can only be done via an SD memory card slot. Luckily, I happen to have had a seldom-used 32 MB SD card in the house and uploaded a few photos of my son for some guests to see, rather than crowding them around my laptop.

I could have spent this time complaining about the graphics of the Wii; some titles look stunning, while others seem very low-grade. But the game play of the Wii is much more different than any other console; graphics seem secondary during game play. Besides, I’d rather have fun using a controller that I can master in three seconds than watch stunning graphics on an Xbox 360 only to spend the first half hour asking my friend “which button shoots?” or wondering which of the 32 buttons I should have my two thumbs on.

Still, a redesign for the Wii would be nice; one with a larger memory bank, and maybe graphics that are just a hair beefier. And for the love of everything that is sacred and holy, take advantage of the built in Internet connection! You can’t use it as a DVD player (like other consoles) and the absence of a standard headphone jack disappoints me (though I doubt anyone but me would use it, it’s the PC gamer in me.)

There are few things to complain about the Wii really. Most folks who have a Wii have it in addition to other consoles. Gamers love the Wii for its playability but they may buy an Xbox 360 for the game titles and graphics. Being that the Wii is my only console in the house, and I rarely get a chance to play Battlefield 2142 on my PC, I have more time to think of complaints.

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About Jamison BraIy

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Ken Edwards

    Oh man, I cannot wait to see the hate comments on this one, or how many Christopher will have to delete.

    Good article, pointed out many obvious things that Nintendo should be doing.

    You forgot to mention that you cannot run Virtual Console games from a SD card. Another baffling concept.

  • http://www.techtipsforparents.org Jamison

    Hate comments? Really? from Wii fans or other console fans? I actually adore my Wii almost as much as I love my Sony CyberShot DSC-P200 which I refer to as my family heirloom… Just a Wii fan trying to make sense of Nintendo’s baffling oversights.

  • PJDiddy

    There a couple more uses for the USB ports (not enough I though I grant you), can be used to charge up USB powered items eg rechargable batteries for the Wiimote but more importantly they can be used for a USB keyboard, as much as I love the Wiimote tapping away at the onscreen keyboard gets a little tiresome in Opera!

  • http://www.techtipsforparents.org Jamison

    Wow, I had no idea it supported a USB keyboard. I assume it would support a USB wireless transmitter for a wireless keyboard then as well? I remember looking that up and I seemed to have found only one specific wireless keybaord that would work with the Wii. Drivers issue and all… Well, if it is corded-only, anyone know of any USB keybaord with 20 foot long cables to reach my sofa? :)

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Gurg

    USB ports that do almost NOTHING!? Wow, I’m sorry.
    I had no idea how the Wii was so useless. Not too mention a DVD drive that won’t play DVD movies… And Nintendo’s too cheap to provide a reasonable amount of memory.

    My PS3 plays movies from a 320GB MyBook. Hundreds of movies. Or pictures. Or Music…etc. Your Wii is not a “small computer”. It’s a toy like that god awful Gamecube was.

    Memory constraints and untapped hardware potential are Nintendo Hallmarks. It’s how they stay profitable. It doesn’t always make sense that they disallow so much but I think it’s because they are so incredibly greedy.

    p.s. Real controllers aren’t actually that difficult to learn.

  • .nimrod

    “But the game play of the Wii is much more different than any other console;”

    Uhm, yeah…No.
    I haven’t seen a single Wii game, which couldn’t be played with usual controllers/Lightguns.

  • Anony

    FYI, the average N64 game is anywhere between 64 and 256mbit (8-32MB), not 150-300MB. Don’t get megabits mixed up with megabytes!

  • Scrubelicious

    But would that be the developers error not add download content in Rock Band and Guitar Hero 3?
    There where not even from Nintendo.
    We do see most Nintendo games that are coming now do have the WiFi logo.

    But again a drive would be easy and would be bought like sliced bread!

  • dog food

    Yeah, the Wii sucks.

  • JoH

    >The N64 games run anywhere from 150 megabytes to 350 megabytes, depending upon the game

    completely wrong!
    n64 games run anywhere from 64 megabits to 512 megabits
    8 megabits = 1 megabyte
    => gamesizes are between 8 and 64 megabytes
    there are like 3 or 4 512mbit n64 games, most of them are either 256mbit (32mbyte) or 128mbit (16mbyte)

    >So, you can hold maybe five N64 games on your Wii
    i have more than 5 n64 games on my wii

    please correct your article

  • gametaku

    Your complaints against the Wii are very valid and I agree with them, but some of the facts you used are off.

    The usb ports on the Wii can be used with LAN adaptors and usb keyboards. Depending on what types of Wii remote charger you use, you can also recharge your wii remotes via usb (mine are made to recharge this way). They can recharge while the sstem is on and playing games or in standby WiiConnect24 mode where you turn the system off, but it’s “no really” off. You can tell if it is in this mode if the Wii’s light if orange instead of red.

    I don’t know much the file size of N64 games have increased with the security features of the VC and decompression of a complete digital file, but normally N64 games are 16, 32, 64, or 128 megabytes in size. The latter of which was only used in a few N64 games with the 64 MB cart being the norm for most N64 games.

    Also, you liked th N64, a controller with one analog stick, one d-pad and 10 buttons that admittedly had them arranged and semi awkward way for many people (they worked perfectly for me), but the ergonomically constructed gamecube controller with with 2 analog sticks, one d-pad and 8 buttons would have been too much of a stretch for you? Many of the gamecube games worth playing use the controller greatly and easily. The face buttons are superior to the SNES’s and N64’s imho, the analog triggers are great and I miss them greatly on the Wii, and the second analog stick, the c-stick was incredibly easy to control and had simple to remember functions or button shortcuts mapped to it. In fact, the controller has the exact same amount of buttons on the SNES control pad, but has them placed imho in a superior fashion and adds two analog sticks to the formula. I’m sorry to say it, but you missed out on some great gaming on the gamecube. You missed out on Pikmin, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Soul Calibur II and dozens of other great titles. You have a Wii now and should go pick up some amazing games that are selling at sub-$10 levels!

  • http://gametaku.blogspot.com/ gametaku

    I also hate to double post, but I’ve added my url if you or anyone else would like to talk and I’d like to have nimrod look at both Trauma Center games. They’d play very poorly with analog sticks and regular controllers.

  • http://www.techtipsforparents.org Jamison

    ARG! If any of you writers out there have any doubt that people are reading your articles, make a mistake in one and you will see that everyone is reading it! LOL.

    Yes, thank you for pointing out the mistake within the article (JoH particularly). The N64 games are not as large as I wrote. My mistake. (Never-the-less, with such limited storage space on the Wii, at some point, you WILL have to start deleteing some older downloads.) I have set to have that portion removed. Thanks again JoH!

    I know the Wii has limitations, is poorly designed, and does not compare with the bigger gaming machines, but I love it! :)

    Gurg, the Wii is a small computer. Sorry, but my 11 years as an I.T. manager leads me to beleive that a system with a board, memory, processor, storage, external controls, the ability to process information, video, sound, text, etc. (not to mention the ability to surf the web) is a small computer. In fact, (And this is another article altogether) you can technically consider a modern washing machine a computer. Discuss…

    Gametaku, thanks for the useful info, and your comments on the controller.

    PS3 and XBox-only gamers commenting on how the Wii sucks is the equivalent of Macintosh users commenting on how crappy Windows is… :)

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Ken Edwards

    Just because there is a Wi-Fi logo on the box does not mean much. I mean, look at SSBB. The online is so sterilizing you don’t even know when you are playing humans or a CPU.

    Not to mention NWC had major issues keeping up with people trying to play SSBB online, and did the same thing when Wii Ware launched in Japan.

    I am guessing that the reason there is no DLC for GH3 or Rock Band is because the infrastructure just is not there for the Wii. Can you imagine the Wii Ware part of the store with hundreds of song packs on it? Also, where are you going to store it? Rock Band music takes up about 2 GB on my hard drive. I would have to check and see how much GH3 songs take up.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/mark_buckingham Mark Buckingham

    Good points, generally speaking. I’ve made do overall with a 2GB SD card for backing up or offloading rarely used save files and other content, which brings me to another problem I have with the Wii that dates back (at least) to the GameCube: COPY-PROTECTED SAVE FILES. What’s the point of this? Why can’t I move some of them to another storage medium? This infuriates me, and serves NO positive purpose that I can see.

    Some creative folks, through a bit of digital trickery, found a way to “force” the Wii to recognize and play video DVDs. So essentially the functionality is in there, but Nintendo decided to deliberately break it. Why?

    I like my Wii most of the time, but this habit of half-doing (internet play, teeny internal storage) or outright crippling features (DVD playback, immovable save games) is getting tiresome and needs addressed.

  • http://www.techtipsforparents.org Jamison

    Thanks for your comment. Yes, many of my Wii brothers have “modded” theirs. IN fact, they convinced me to buy a chip that does something I shan’t reveal here but you all know what it does. I have not had it installed and thankfully because I actually had to send my Wii in for warranty repairs. Sitting vertical it could not play games. They fixed it for free :) Had I installed the chip, they would not have.
    Though, I would like to mod it so that it plays DVD. The DVD player in the room with the Wii eats DVDs :(