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Wii cheap, but limited

November 15, 2006

Says the Detroit Free Press. Game writer Heather Graham has a few pros and cons for you if you’re outside of the loop (it’s the inside you need to be at) and buying it on a casual whim. Get informed:


• The Wii is the cheapest next-generation console on the market. Its competition, Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, are priced starting at $499 and $299, respectively.

• Its creative new controller design — a remote-control shaped gadget that you can wave in the air to make things happen onscreen, sometimes connected to a pod-shaped “nunchuk” for complex games — is surprisingly fun to play with. • It’s also the smallest console. Barely the size of a hardcover book, its svelte box would fit next to almost any television. It comes with a slim bar that records the movements of its controllers, but it’s barely the height and depth of two chopsticks put together, able to rest on the thinnest of TVs.

• The Wii is a huge advance over the previous-generation Nintendo Gamecube’s graphics, and it can go online — something that virtually no Gamecube game did. It will still play Gamecube games.


• The Wii is the least technologically advanced of the three next-generation consoles. Its graphics so far fall somewhere between the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 in terms of quality. Wii games are unlikely to get exponentially better looking to play and watch as developers adapt to its hardware.

• The Wii has no hard drive, though it includes internal flash memory. That means less space for saved or downloaded games, and more loading times for the games it plays.

• While the launch lineup for the Wii features a good variety of games, the current list of Wii-exclusive titles is slim compared to other consoles. Nintendo’s games are excellent, but the overall choices Wii owners have will be more limited.

The bit about developers not excelling with the hardware down the line is interesting. It’s true that, since Wii uses a modded Cube chipset, devs will push it early and probably won’t be able to squeeze out a God of War-like graphical leap 4 years from now. Also, the thing about flash memory. Help me on this, but doesn’t flash memory aid loading times? Maybe i’m going on some leftover Nintendo spin i swallowed at around E3 time, i dunno.

She nailed the part about launch game choices. Anything new for you here?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. frisby permalink
    November 15, 2006 1:53 pm

    I believe since you have to install files on your PS3 harddrive for games like Grand Turismo HD, flash memory load times will hurt in comparrison.

    Name a load time for Metroid Prime 1/2 or in Wind Waker. Load times have never been a big problem on the Game Cube (Not for Nitnendo 1st parties anyway). Load times on PS2 and in some cases XBox are almost too painful.

    I went to Gamestop yesterday and the Kiosk was set up but Nintendo did not send the controlers or the Demo game. I did talk the teenager employees into cracking the bad boy up and playing with the console. I made it to third base but since I didn have the wiimote i didnt get to go all the way.

    The PS3 has a spot set aside, but I don’t think they will get a Kiosk for a few months.

  2. November 15, 2006 4:18 pm

    Correct me if I’m wront, but from what I understand, the download speeds go like this, from faster to slowest:

    Internal drive > Flash card > Disc drive

    I might be wrong, but that has been my experience in different devices, although the way the system reads the memory makes a big difference. Just compare a save time in, say, Advance Wars in the GBA (which you can consider an “internal flash drive” within the game) vs. Advance Wars in the DS (which saves to the “flash card” for the game). The DS saves in twice the time!

    But remember that the Wii uses the card only to upload game data, and in some games, MP3 for the background music. So you shouldn’t see any loading screens within the game, just like you didn’t with the GameCube.

  3. November 15, 2006 5:00 pm

    They’re talking about the 512 mbs of internal flash, not SD cards.

    The way it’s set up, Wii can download games to the flash, but can’t use it like other consoles use their HDDs to speed up loads. Correct me on that.

    Either way, the Wii chips are designed to load games real fast, one of the advantages it has in comparison. The disc drives on 360/PS3 use the harddisk to speed it up, sometimes having to download a portion of the disc data. Wii has a leg up in the data transfer speed, believe it or not.

  4. November 15, 2006 8:04 pm

    About the memory, afaik, anything with moving mechanical parts (har drive) will be slower than a memory chip of any sort…or is it that anything with mechanical parts will eventually wear down…

    Nothing new, though I think the Wii won’t be as “huge” an advance in graphics as she says, and I’m sure developers will find ways to flex some Wii muscle down the line.

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