New Nintendo Wii Packs a Punch, Debuts at E3

Nintendo Wii (pronounced “we”) is the latest system from the video game giant and the new successor to the GameCube. Announced on April 27, the Wii officially debuted at the Los Angeles-based E3 game show in May. The system is expected to be released in late 2006.

This tiny new system (no larger than three DVD cases) packs a punch for Nintendo. The system integrates several innovative features for a totally new video gaming experience.

Instead of a traditional controller, the Wii game system uses a wireless motion-sensing remote. Up to four players can use Wii remotes during one game. According to independent testers the remote makes gaming easier, even for inexperienced gamers. The freedom of the wireless remote allows the player to become more engaged and involved in the action of the game. Traditional “rumble” features and standard controls are still included with the remote but new features, like built-in speakers are also included. An additional Nunchuck controller is available with other control features. Most GameCube peripherals are also compatible with Wii. The Wii features two GameCube Memory Card slots and four ports for GameCube controllers. The Wii also includes 512 MB of integrated memory.

The Wii system also allows for interactive play. Not only can multiple players use wireless remotes, players from near and far can communicate during networked play. The Wii system has internet connectivity, even when the power is turned off. The system connects wirelessly and communicates with Nintendo DS systems.

The Wii also features new parental controls. Once an age level is set on the system, games with ratings beyond that level will not play on the system without an override password. If the system rating is set at E, a game with a rating of T will not load without the correct password. Games released in North America will use the ESRB rating system.

Whether you’re a serious gamer or just a casual player, the games you play are key to your experience. Wii users will have the option of choosing from games developed by Sega and EA Games, among other gaming industry leaders. The real gaming innovation comes in the form of downloadable games. Wii users can access and download hundreds of games originally developed for other Nintendo game systems including Nintendo 64 and Super Nintendo.

Games available for the Wii (available for presale at Best Buy) include Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Red Steel, a first-person fight game. The Wii system will also play GameCube games. Nintendo Wii games are not yet rated. Pricing information for the system or games is not available. The Nintendo Wii and games are expected to be released in December.

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