GameCore is a column by CBSNews.com's Chad Chamberlain that focuses on gamers and gaming.
Nintendo's Wii, formerly known as Nintendo Revolution, has stirred up quite a bit of noise in the industry because of its revolutionary (no pun intended) approach to gaming.
I'm talking about the motion-sensitive control system known as the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The Wii Remote resembles a standard TV remote but with far fewer buttons. Both controllers contain a three-axis motion sensor that translates movement directly onto the TV, using wireless Blue-tooth technology when standing within 10 meters of the console.
If you're playing a tennis or baseball game, you can swing the Wii controller like a tennis racket or like a bat. How cool is that?! The Wii Remote controller also includes a speaker, rumble feature and expansion port, and can be used as a pointer within 5 meters of the screen.
The Wii remote controller has a power switch, plus pad, A, B, minus, home, 1 and 2 buttons. The Nunchuk controller includes an analog control stick and C and Z buttons.
The console looks like a Mac mini, featuring a very compact and light design that sits in a cradle and can be placed vertically or horizontally.
It's completely backwards compatible with the GameCube (GC), with four ports to connect your GC controllers, stylishly hidden for convenience. You can play your GC games using the 8-centimeter Nintendo GameCube discs, and you can also use your old GC memory cards in the two memory card slots.
Don't expect to save a whole lot of things on your unit because it only comes with half a gig of internal flash memory. However, don't panic, they've provided a SD memory card bay to help give you more disc space to work with.
The unit also runs quietly. Don't think you can go around and warm your house with this baby because it practically runs cool, utilizing some very snazzy processing technologies that minimize power consumption.
This is always good news to a home owner especially if you've got some pretty intense gamers at home that like to play games into the Wii hours of the morning (pun intended), which could do wonders to one's electric bill.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the system, let's examine the pros and cons.
The internal storage is bleak at best with only a 512 internal flash memory — definitely not the hefty storage capacity of its competitors, PS3 and Xbox 360.
The graphics are not at the level of PS3 or Xbox 360, either, only pushing a moderately better video processor made by ATI than its predecessor, the Game Cube. Don't expect to see jaw-dropping graphics, incredible cell shading, bump mapping, or any of the graphic terminologies that give some credibility to consoles performance capabilities.
Nintendo has repeatedly expressed that its unit's main purpose is to bring gaming back to the masses. Playing games in high definition at 1080p, photo realistic environments, is just not something you will get out of the Wii.
The games themselves will certainly not have the kind of graphically stunning visuals that you would expect from a next gen platform either. Wii games are being built on double-layered, 12-centimeter optical discs that don't have the storage capacity of a Blue-Ray disc, or HD for that matter.
One of the major selling points of the Wii is the price. At a MSRP of $249 (plus tax), the Wii unit will not be as burdensome as PS3 or Xbox 360. You certainly won't need to take a second mortgage out in order to buy this system.
Wii is the first console in at least a decade that includes a pack-in game. For $249, not only do you get the console, but you're getting five games in one so you can start with the gaming goodness as soon as you hook up your system.
Wii sports titles aren't going to win any awards for graphic superiority but it will win for revolutionary game play, thanks in part to the Wii remote controller. By just holding what resembles a TV remote in your hand and then waving it around like a racket or swinging it like a baseball bat, anyone can pick it up and participate. I've actually tried this in the office. We set up the Wii, loaded up the Wii sports game and started off playing tennis.
My co-workers, who are anything but gamers, are often turned off by video games because of the complexity of the controller mainly. They were quickly drawn to the Wii sports games, and some even asked to play and were able to pick up and play with very little instruction.
The Wii remote controllers are certainly changing the way games are going to be played on the Wii. Gamers can now swing, punch, dodge, throw, point, pull, etc. simply by performing those exact motions with the Wii remote control in hand.
The console is completely backwards compatible with the Game Cube, allowing you to even connect up four GC controllers and memory cards as well. So, if you've traded in your GC for a Wii now you can play all your favorite GC games on the Wii system without a hitch.
WiiConnect24 mode allows your Wii, to remain connected to the internet either wirelessly using IEEE802.11, or with a Wii LAN Adapter, even if it's powered down. This allows for your Wii system to receive updates, game info, etc. The Wii console can also communicate wirelessly to Nintendo DS.
Through this service, Wii offers downloadable access to 20 years of fan-favorite titles originally released for Nintendo 64, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), or the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). You can also get Sega Genesis titles and games from the TUBRO GRAPHIX16 console, as well as indie games made by developers with huge imaginations but really low budgets.
By no means will you be blown away by graphics nor will you have the savvy online support that Xbox 360 has, but you the easy pick up and play mechanic of this system might turn a few heads maybe even yours.
To see photos from the New York release of Nintendo Wii, click here
By Chad Chamberlain
Copyright 2006 CBS. All rights reserved.