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Coming this holiday…a gaming revolution

By Karl Seton Schaefer

Fort Wayne Reader

2006-09-01


There have been many revolutions in our Country’s past. The American Revolution. The Industrial Revolution. The Internet Revolution.

Perhaps you haven’t been paying attention, but there’s another (admittedly less important) revolution going on right now. It’s a gaming revolution and it’s coming from Nintendo this holiday.

In the next few months, Nintendo will be releasing its next generation of video game consoles and it is no less than revolutionary. It is a system targeted to adults as well as kids, abandons the traditional joystick, promises a truly interactive, non-passive experience, and will connect players from all over the world such has never been done before.

The new system is called the Wii (pronounced “We”). Instead of a joystick, the player must wave a remote control-looking device (the “Wiimote”) at the TV screen. The Wii uses sophisticated sensoring technology that can accurately determine where the “Wiimote” is in space, what degree it’s turned at, and what its depth is from the TV. In other words, the Wii knows where the “Wiimote” is at all times. It sounds gimmicky, but it’s real, it works and it could be the foundation for the future of interactive entertainment.

Imagine the possibilities. If you’re a golf fan, imagine swinging a virtual golf club. Or if you’re a tennis player, imagine swinging a virtual racket at a ball. Or if you’re someone already into gaming, imagine aiming and shooting a realistic gun at some creature in your favorite shoot ‘em up. What’s more, the “Wiimote” has a rumble feature and built-in speaker. This provides you tactile and audio feedback. So when you swing the racket, you can feel your hand make contact with the ball and you’ll hear it “pop” off your racket.

Everyone I’ve ever spoke with about this system has mentioned how perfect the Wii would be for a Star Wars title. It could provide a light-sabre experience like no other. Again…imagine the whoosh and buzz of a light-sabre as you swing it at your opponent. The possibilities for this are limitless.

This new way of playing games promises much more than just a new way to play games. It also promises new types of games to play. Already, the folks at Nintendo are preparing cooking games, diet and exercise games, and leisure activities like fishing. Of course, if you’re a hardcore gamer, there’s nothing to worry about. I’ve seen more innovative, must-have titles for the Wii than I’ve seen in a long time for any system. There will be plenty of titles for everyone, regardless of age.

The Wii will be multiplayer-ready right out of the box. This is a BIG DEAL as it means that you can play against your friends and family anywhere in the world through your wireless internet connection. Internet-enabled, multiplayer gaming is the hallmark of a modern console, and Nintendo is finally joining the club. Plus, the Wii will have a built-in web browser, just in case you need to do some surfing between re-runs of Seinfeld.

Additionally, the Wii has the potential of having the largest library of titles at launch. With its built-in Wi-Fi connection, Nintendo is making its past library of titles available from the NES, SNES, and N64 for a small fee, so if at one time you owned a Nintendo console and loved a particular game, you will have the opportunity to play that game again.

As of this writing Nintendo hasn’t said when the Wii’s release date and price are. But they have said that it will come out before the PS3 (November) and will retail for less than $250. My predictions for the Wii are that it comes out early October, retails for $175, and they announce a built-in microphone feature. That’ll be great for all you Karaoke lovers! Considering the price compared to its competition, its uniqueness, and its vast launch library, the Wii seems like the product to restore Nintendo as the king of the video game console once again.

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©2006 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.