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Nintendo Wii Controller (Wii)
Member Name: jennikitten
Nintendo Wii Controller (Wii)
Advantages: See review
Disadvantages: See review
I was a pretty early Wii adopter, being lucky enough to get it for Christmas in 2006, and with my Wii came a Wiimote, the main controller for the Wii.
It was pretty revolutionary when it came out, seeing as all console game controllers up until that point had been fairly standard two-handed one-piece affairs, with Sony and Microsoft not really changing their controllers at all. I did wonder about how easy it was going to be to play games, but it turned out I needn't have worried because I found it surprisingly intuitive. I did at first try to play all games standing up as per the ads, but quickly got bored of it and found that 'traditional' game play wasn't that far off. In fact, with games like Super Mario Bros using the controller in a more traditional sideways manner, I'd say that it's versatile for game play. I'm not quite as bad as one of my friends who actually plays Wii bowling lying down though!
What does it look like?
The Wiimote looks like a remote, but is bigger and chunkier. It's smooth and the official one is well-made. The original colour was white, but it's now also available in black and red to match those 'limited edition' Wii colours. At the bottom you can attach the included wrist strap, which you then secure around your wrist to prevent throwing it accidentally (although to be honest this is unlikely to be an issue unless you're playing with children younger than about 4).
The Wiimote has pretty straightforward buttons, these are:
- Power button (located in the top left): this turns your Wii off/puts it on standby if you're too lazy to walk over there
- D pad (middle of the top): the direction pad, used to browse menus, move characters etc.
- A button (under the D pad): this is usually the confirmation button and also has a specific purpose in games, for example jumping, firing and so on
- Home button (small white button with blue house on it): this takes you back to the Wii's menu screen
- Plus and minus buttons (either side of the home button): these have functions in some games
- 1 and 2 (small round buttons near the bottom): again, various in-game functions
- B (on the back): primarily cancel, also has functionality in a lot of games for firing etc.
- Small squares/lights at the bottom: this signals what number remote you have, e.g. if the second square is lit up blue then you are player 2. This is decided in order of who activates their remote (mainly done by pressing A after turning the Wii on/starting a game). Up to 4 Wiimotes can be used with a Wii.
How do I use it?
This depends on what game you're playing, but you can simply follow the on-screen instructions if you're unsure. The main ways of holding it include: like a TV remote in one hand (with or without the nunchuck which will normally be held in your other hand), or sideways with both hands, with the D pad on the left hand side.
You sync the Wii remote to your Wii, but this only has to be done once and the Wiimote will switch itself off whilst not in use to preserve power. You can also pair a Wiimote with another Wii, for example if you want to take it to a friend's house.
As with most aspects of the Wii, the Wiimote controller can be used in conjunction with several other items, for example you can add on a nunchuk controller via the simple connector at the bottom (allowing you to have a control stick and also co-ordinate two-handed gameplay), and there's the Wii Motion Plus attachment (which improves sensitivity and realism) for some selected games. There are also various accessories available such as covers, coloured wrist straps, charging stands and so on - you could easily spend a fortune on accessories alone. I did buy some silicon covers for mine, but they quickly got abandoned because it was too much of a pain to replace the batteries.
- The Wiimote takes AA batteries, unless you have a certain type of charging stand (which may change it to AAA). Rechargeable batteries can be used.
- The Wiimote switches itself off when not used for a while to preserve battery life.
- To change the batteries, you simply remove the back section of the remote.
Although the Wiimote is extremely popular despite Nintendo's big risk (well, if it wasn't for them we'd all still be playing 2-player games consoles with massive hunks of plastic), the controller isn't for everyone. Although many of the games are designed for the Wii's motion technology, you can play lots of Wii games with a traditional controller.
You can plug in up to 4 regular controllers (either GameCube controllers or Wii Classic Controllers), and mix and match both types within games such as Mario Kart. This is really good for giving an advantage to younger gamers or players who aren't so good, because traditional controllers are easier to use.
Where to buy
I'd always recommend buying Wiimotes online, because they are far cheaper than in the shops. Even second hand ones are more expensive in Game and Gamestation than they are brand new online. Amazon are currently selling official Wiimotes for around £20-25, although you can get deals when buying with nunchucks. Always be careful to buy official controllers, because I'm yet to see a third party one accurate enough or of good enough quality.
I still have my original Wiimote (plus some more), and considering it's going to be five years old in just a few weeks, it still looks brand new and works just as well. I fully recommend this product, Nintendo have yet to disappoint me and although the costs can start stacking up, it's a great controller which has paved the way for more revolutionary gaming.
Summary: Bring it on