Nintendo has taken a backseat in the handheld and console games division lately, trailing behind Sony’s Playstations and the Microsoft Xbox
in popularity and market exposure. The Nintendo Gamecube created a strong interest for avid Nintendo-fans, but a new development is on the horizon.
This fall and winter the debut of Nintendo Wii (pronounced ‘we’) is preparing to launch with an entirely new concept; this handheld device incorporates the versatility of a gaming ‘wand’ and a simple console that looks similar to a portable hard drive.
The inspiration comes from the world of virtual reality, with the handheld remote serving as a point-and-shoot device outfitted with motion sensors, detectors, and vibrating features. Games include ramped up versions of tennis, golf, Super Mario, and other Nintendo classics that will take on new forms as players learn to use the handheld device in place of any other game communication tool to date.
Nintendo Wii may be a much-needed ‘step back’ in sophistication and design in comparison to today’s thriving but growing video game market. With an increased emphasis on graphics and technological design, video games today have taken on the signature movie-like DVD-quality that game addicts have become accustomed to. Nintendo Wii hopes to capture some new game players, extending a basic, simple, and efficient design console perfect for families, younger players, and elderly.
The Nintendo Wii remote is composed of motion detectors, signals, and a vibrating feature to coincide with a variety of active games. Instead of using a mouse, joystick, or other navigational pad for the majority of games, players physically hold the remote as if it was a part of the game.
This means they can stand up, move around, and literally re-enact the movements of the game they are playing. Tennis will require the understanding of a backswing motion; golf will require a complete follow through on the tee-off, and even sword fighting on Zelda and Super Mario will take on a new form with players battling with characters on screen, from the living room.
Multi-player technology will allow multiple remote holders to play within a given setting, and the device will help create a team effort on battles and sports games. Nintendo Wii offers an additional ‘Nunchuck’ controller that plugs in for extra effects when dual interaction is required.
The wireless remote, however, looks to be the center point of the gaming experience. The Wii console has downloading capabilities, showcasing classic games from the Super Nintendo and even Sega in easily accessible files. Wireless connection to the internet will allow multi-user functionality, as each console is configured for a 802.11b wireless network.
It’s too soon to tell how popular the Nintendo Wii will be in today’s competitive video game landscape. The attractive wireless and internet functionalities will allow multi-player usage, which will be a well-received addition to today’s Internet-friendly users. The basic design of the remote sounds promising for older generations and the younger marektes, as it is limited in complexity and only consists of a few buttons.
The virtual reality component is one fo the first on the market, offering players the benefit of chaning the living room into a landscape of video game possibilities. It’s an exciting extension of ‘live’ games in operation today, and just might serve as a well-deserved alternative for back-to-the-basics gaming geared toward a variety of age groups and skill levels.