Time Saving Tuesday

Nintendo Wii Console/System BoxIt’s been about a week and a half since we became the proud owners of a Nintendo Wii. There was a lot that factored into the decision of us purchasing a Wii, and before you go thinking that we are Nintendo fanboys I’ll let you know that we own the original Playstation and the original Xbox. This is actually the first Nintendo product that I’ve owned since the original Gameboy, so I would hardly say that we are diehard Nintendo fans.

The big deciding factors in choosing the Wii was the low initial cost, exciting multi-player games geared for everyone in the family, and the games run about $10 cheaper than the Xbox 360 and PS3. Of course the graphics on the Wii are no match for the Xbox or PS3, but we were looking more for overall enjoyment rather than how real things look.

There are a lot of reviews out there regarding the Wii, and I don’t want this article to be like all of the others. So I’ll start off by telling you how we were able to get a Wii, and then I’ll point out some cool things that the system can do.

–Wii Locators and Trackers–

The journey to finding a Wii was a hectic one. It started by calling some stores in our surrounding area, all of which gave a prompt response of “we’re sold out” indicating that they receive these calls quite frequently. One store in particular even said that they hadn’t seen the Wii’s in over two-months, which gave me little hope that we were going to find one.

Wii Tracking

I started to check some stores online, but most of the ones I came across were all sold out. I then turned to some tracking services which monitor several different online stores to see if they have any of the Wii’s in stock. I found two of them that I really liked, and they even have RSS feeds available so that you can be notified quickly of places with the Wii in stock:

Each of those sites have logs available at the bottom of the pages, and looking at them reveals that most of the stores frequently post the console as both a standalone or as a bundle. The only thing is that they typically sell extremely fast so you have to be on top of your game (no pun intended).

So how did we end up getting one? Well, we had found and subscribed to the trackers listed above but that’s not how we got ours. A little later we decided to call some stores that were farther from us, but in a much larger city. A Best Buy store (which is an electronics reseller) happened to have 5 in stock that they had just received. We rushed down there and got one of the last two that they had. So if you want one really bad, it might pay to call around first.

–The Console–

Wii GlowThe console itself is among the smallest that I’ve ever seen, although the PSOne was pretty darn small. For comparison sake I would say the Wii is about the size of three DVD movie cases stacked on top of eachother. Its small size made it extremely easy for us to stick into a tight spot that we otherwise wouldn’t use.

Here are some things you might like to know about the Wii console:

  • It has a built-in wireless card with no protruding antenna. This makes it easy to connect the Wii to your router, and it was no trouble entering in a WEP key.
  • The Wii cannot play DVD’s, but there is supposed to be a version available later this year that can do this.
  • When there is a firmware update for the console, the DVD slot will notify you with a blue glowing effect. It sounds weird, I know, and when I saw this happen last week I didn’t know what was going on. You can kind of see this happening in the photo to the right.
  • You can view and send photos to your friends by using an SD memory card (view instructional video)

–The Remote and Nunchuk–

Wii Remote and NunchukThe Remote is obviously the shining point of the Nintendo Wii. It’s what lets people interact with the video games almost in the same way as a virtual reality system. The fact that you can turn the remote on the side to make it feel like a classic Nintendo controller is pure genious.

  • This is one of the coolest things about the remotes. You can actually use them to turn the system on, or to turn it off. If you turn off your remote it will not only turn the system off, but it will also turn off everyone else’s remotes!
  • While playing a game you can use the Home button (located in the middle of the Remote) to reset the system. No more getting out of your seat to do that!
  • There is actually a speaker located immediately below the Home button. Some of the games use this speaker to really make you feel like you’re in the game. For example, while playing tennis it will make a “swoosh” sound as your racquet glides through the air.
  • The four small square lights on the bottom of the Remote indicate which player you are, with player one being the leftmost light and player 4 being the rightmost light.
  • The nunchuk is a nice addition for some games, but from our experiences so far, you could easily get by without it. One Nunchuk comes with the system, but if you’re a little short on cash don’t worry about getting another one.


Wii Play & Wii Remote BundleThe Wii came with a game called Wii Sports, which is not only a good demonstration of how to use the remote, but is also an adventure to play. We wanted to have two Remotes for our system since Ashley and myself were both planning on playing it, so we purchased the Wii Play & Wii Remote bundle (pictured to the right) that was offered for $10 more than what a standalone remote costs. Below I’ve outlined the list of minigames that are included with Wii Sports and Wii Play along with what we think about each one.

Wii Sports (Nunchuk only used in Bowling):

  • Tennis – I think that this is the best game in Wii Sports. It is extremely easy to play since you don’t need to worry about moving yourself around the court…all you focus on is swinging the racquet. Be careful though, once you get going your arm will get sore. :)
  • Baseball – This isn’t bad, but you have no control over fielding the ball. We don’t play this one very much.
  • Golf – I like this because it is a little more subdued than the others. You have a lot of control over your swing, but it makes me a little better than I am in real life.
  • Bowling – This is a lot more realistic than I originally anticipated it to be. You can spin the ball, angle your throw, and change the speed all with the Remote. Since players take turns it is a great one to play with a group of people when you don’t have a Remote for each person.
  • Boxing – You’ll need the Nunchuk for this one, and believe me when I say it is quite a workout. You have to try and dodge punches while throwing some at your opponent. Make sure you focus because there is no time for laughing in this one. :)

Wii Play (Nunchuks aren’t required for any of the games, but they can be used in the Tanks game):

  • Table Tennis – I find this one a bit difficult to play because the distance the ball travels is so short.
  • Laser Hockey – Definitely one of the best games on Wii Play. I find it similar to playing air hockey, but it’s got a slight twist to it that really makes it unique.
  • Fishing – Nothing like areal fishing, but something younger kids might enjoy.
  • Find Mii – Basically “Where’s Waldo” on the Wii. You’ll try to find two characters with the same face, among other things. It sounds easy, but sometimes it can be pretty tough.
  • Pose Mii – You rotate characters so that they match the pose in a falling bubble. Yep, it’s as stupid as it sounds. ;)
  • Shooting Range – This is like the classic Duck Hunt game on the original Nintendo. Except now you have targets, cans, and flying saucers to shoot in addition to the birds.
  • Billiards – Nothing like a quick game of 9-ball. Definitely the most realistic of the 9 games on Wii Play, but it does take some getting used to having such a small stick to hold in your hands. :)
  • Charge! – You ride a rushing cow as it races down the tracks knocking over scarecrows. It’s not that exciting, but it’s definitely not the worst one.
  • Tanks! – You move around different levels trying to kill the enemy before the enemy kills you. It can be a bit frustrating because if you die you have to start over from the first level, and so it’s hard to complete all of the missions. Supposedly there are 20 missions for you to complete, but once you complete them and receive the gold medal there will be 80 more. I haven’t gotten very far in this yet, but it is actually fun.

Some people have said that Wii Play is a horrible game, but I don’t have anything to complain about since it only costs an extra $10 with the Remote bundle that I purchased. I would say that it is worth it for the Laser Hockey, Shooting Range, Billiards, and Tanks! games but the others you probably won’t play much.

We also picked up Mario Party 8, and have played that a limited number of times. I definitely haven’t tried it enough to give a full review since this is the first time I’ve ever played any version of Mario Party. Many of the minigames it includes are very unique and well thought out, and so far it has been an exciting game.


Wii InjuriesSo if you’re looking to get a Wii I would say that it is a great time, especially if you get a small group of people together to play it. Just make sure you use the strap that’s attached to the Remote, because injuries and accidents do happen. ;)

Let us know of any great Wii games you come across…especially the multiplayer ones!