The Wii is Nintendo's latest console, following up (in reverse order) the Gamecube, N64, SNES and NES. Unlike other manufacturers like Sony and Microsoft, with the Wii Nintendo wanted to move away from chasing the latest technology and graphics. Their focus is on family friendly controls and gameplay.
The Wii console is unique because of its controller shaped like a TV remote and commonly called a Wii-mote. This, together with the Nun-chuck secondary joystick provides control through gestures, pointing and buttons. Wii Games can be played with gesture alone, like the excellent Wii-Sports bowling, tennis, golf and boxing - each of which were played with the Wii-mote mimicking the real life motion.
Continuing their focus on gameplay rather than horsepower, Nintendo are developing the Wii with new peripherals. Wii-Fit provided a balance board controller that enabled players to partake in various fitness, skill and strength balance games. They look to answer criticisms of the Wii-mote's limited response to gestures by releasing the MotionPlus add on block that enables games to match real world movement in true one-to-one fashion.
The Wii is weakest in the graphics and sound department, which are more akin to the Gamecube than the PS3 and 360. It also suffers from a lack of development of its online features. There is no standard online platform for developers to use, so where games provide these they tend to be hit and miss. This is compounded by the Wii's lack of large storage device. Internal memory and external SD Cards enable players to download games and store save files but are quite slow and limited in capacity.
Most of these negatives are not an issue with Nintendo's own games (such as Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime, The Legend of Zelda: Twightlight Princess or Mario Sluggers) as they have investment to ensure the quality of experience. Third party games though, although strong examples exist (Boom Blox, Guinness World Records or Family Ski), are often lower quality and suffer from being ported from other platforms.
The Wii's biggest success, setting aside sales, is its ability to provide enjoyable experiences that cater for families and casual players who want to share some playtime in the same location. The low barrier to entry from the controller combines with the anyone can play gaming ethic to introduce a new audience to the fun of video gaming.
Here are the latest Wii games we have been playing:
Just Dance Kids takes all the best features from the older Just Dance games and wraps them up a younger demographic. Keeping the classic Just Dance play style by choosing songs that suit the younger player make this ideal for young families... read now
Just Dance Juniors takes all the best features from the older Just Dance games and wraps them up in both Nursery Rhythm and Classic Children's Pop. You have the option to see how age appropriate each song is and the dancers are all of the younger variety... read now
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is one of the most beloved Zelda games, but has perhaps been played by few. The good news is, it is getting an updated HD version for the Wii U, with a host of new features... read now
Skylanders Giants continues to be exciting and popular with its unique mix of console gameplay and real-world toys. This week, we present a trio of unboxing videos, featuring the characters Pop Fizz, Fright Rider and Chill... watch now
This week in the family gaming show Adam Rosser invited me to talk about family gaming at Christmas, Nintendo Land on the Wii U and Paper Mario Sticker Star on the 3DS XL. Also broadcast on Radio 5 Live... listen now
We all love Mario in our house. And on a rare occasion, we dig out the old Monopoly board for a round of tears and tantrums (and that's just me.) So the chance to play a game that's a mixture of the two was greeted with whoops of excitement... read now
Skylanders Giants is well and truly with us, but we discover that many people aren't aware of the new features, the new implications for figures they may already have and just what the buying options are... watch now
Skylanders: Giants has inspired a number of spin off toys and collectibles. In this edition of FamilyGamerTV, we look at a plush Spyro figure which lights and makes sounds, maybe suitable for younger Skylanders enthusiasts who are not yet old enough to appreciate the console games... watch now
With excitement building around Skylanders Giants for Christmas, Family Gamer TV secured a huge interview with the series' developer to find out as much information as we could about this and future plans... watch now
This week in the family gaming show Adam Rosser invited me to talk about the Wii U sales figures and how the Wii Mini (the new version of the original console without backwards comaptibility or Wi-Fi but with a nicer price) may affect this. Also broadcast on Radio 5 Live... listen now
Cartoon Network is a channel beloved by children, adults and stoners. With a huge variety of great shows to choose from, it was just a matter of time before someone tried bringing all these cool characters together in one game form... read now
With a range of new Skylanders figures set to storm our shores, Family Gamer TV takes a look at the hints available for new figures incoming and speculates what may appear in the future. We discuss new Giants, new Lightcore figures as well as whole new Skylanders characters and a range of re-posed figures for Skylanders series two... watch now
Zombi U harks back to the survival-horror genre and an ambitious attempt to push the Wii U gamepad's new features into a traditional adventure gaming experience. But will it alienate parents from the previously super-safe Wii brand?.. read now
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
What sort of gamer are you?
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: