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Christmas Buying Guide: Wii

While technically not the oldest of the consoles on the market, Wii certainly is the hardware that is feeling its age the most this winter. With the latest Legend of Zelda title just out the door, we thought we'd take a look at why Nintendo's ageing hardware is worth your holiday cash.

System Benefits

Often accused of being a simple upgrade Gamecube with motion controls added to mix, Nintendo Wii does not sport the HD capabilities of its competition.

The Nintendo Wii is a pure gaming device, devoid of DVD playback and other features both Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 pride themselves on. With that said it features built-in motion detection with the sensor bar and the Wii-mote control, as well as several successful peripherals such as the Wii Balance Board and the steering wheel in which you stick your Wii-mote for well, an interesting experience with racing titles.

Nintendo's approach to online support and services has been different from both Microsoft and Sony, but there is no denying the appeal of retro classics on offer at the Virtual Console store. A huge selection of classics and fillers is available for a reasonable price, and as far as original content goes Wiiware has a few gems worthy of checking out even if the selection isn't as qualitative and wide as on PSN and XBLA.

Other channels of note in the Wii menu are WiiConnect24 that allows you constant connection with the Wii users even when your console is on standby, the Internet Channel that simply allows you to browse and the Mii Contest Channel that allow you to check out and share Miis with users around the world. There is also the BBC iPlayer Channel available for free download if you want to check out what public service has to offer on console.

The console launched with standard Wiimotes and nunchucks, but with the introduction of Wii Motion Plus these have gradually been replaced and even if most games work with both set ups, it is highly recommended you go with the more accurate Wii Remote Plus Controller. The rather peculiar set up of attaching controller add ons to the Remote, such as the nunchuck or the Classic controller leaves most Wii owners with a lot of peripherals and plastic lying around. While the Wiimote itself is wireless, there is a wire connecting it with your nunchuck or classic controller.

The Nintendo Wii is not as noisy as the Xbox 360 and looks rather snug standing tilted in its original hardware rendition. The newer model needs to lie down on its side, however, and is not backwards compatible with Gamecube titles.


You'll only hear her music on Wii...

As with any console manufactured by Nintendo the biggest draw is the wide selection of strong first party titles - and even with the disadvantage of inferior hardware throughout the generation Nintendo have managed to produce some of the strongest offerings as far as software goes.

After maintaining its launch price for what seemed like an eternity Nintendo finally decided to lower the price as sales slowed down and it is now the most affordable of the consoles on the market. There are also several bundles so keep a look out for one that suits your tastes.

The heritage of a Nintendo console and the strength of its handheld counterparts is also a strong point we need to mention. Virtual Console offers a piece of gaming history, and there is also some limited connectivity with the Nintendo DS and specific titles. Something of a glimpse of what Wii U may offer with its touch screen perhaps.

While Nintendo remains distinctly different compared to its competition, and in many ways inferior (online service, lack of HD graphics, aged processor), it still has enough unique appeal with its line up of software and the mixture of plenty of casual software (dance and fitness) along with a strong line up of great entertaining titles for all ages makes it a good first console for a family.

Read on for the cons of the console, must-play titles and the best deals for picking a Nintendo Wii up this winter.