|The Nintendo Wii - formerly the Nintendo Revolution, was formally announced
at an E3 2006 press conference. Nintendo started their E3 conference by using
the new Nintendo Wii controller.
The display screen lit up to a Mario game, with Mario running around, and picking
up crates to throw at enemies. All pretty standard Nintendo faire, except, to
pick up the crate, the A button on the controller was pressed, but to throw
the controller was tossed in the player's hand like it was being thrown
- and the crate followed the same path onscreen.
Wii makes use of a controller with a built-in motion sensor. The key to the
whole experience, the Wii wireless sits in the hand and feels much like a TV
remote control, bearing not a little similarity to a Wanda VR pointer. The motion
sensor inside, allowing a full six degrees of movement - it detects travel along
the X, Y, and Z axis, pitch, roll and yaw. You hold it in your hand, and every
tiny movement of the controller itself, translates to action on-screen.
Driven by ST's Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology, the Wii
controller can respond to changes in direction, speed, and acceleration, down
to the most delicate movements.
Specifically, the controller uses embedded acceleration sensors to enable players'
wrist, arm, and hand movements to interact with the games. Tilt measurements
allow users to move characters by simply tipping the unit in the desired direction,
while the accurate three-axis acceleration sensing easily transforms the controller
into a virtual sword, gearshift, or musical instrument.
The controller has been designed to withstand temperature variations, so it
works as well playing in the freezer - why would you ever want to? - as it does
in a hot car. Pretty much immune to vibration, the controller is shock resistant
up to a weight of 10kg landing on it.
The controller even contains a small speaker assembly, allowing it to play
sounds of events happening in proximity to the player-character.
Nintendo is pushing the Wii's motion sensitivity, but, just in case people
are not ready for that yet, it ships with a backup nunchuk controller. Called
the Wii Classic Controller, it looks and feels like Nintendo's SNES controller
of yesteryear with an added analogue sticks.
The Wii does differ from the other major consoles -PS3, Xbox 360- in one major
point: it does not have an integrated hard drive. Instead, it relies on 512
MB of flash memory, and slots for additional SD memory cards, along with plenty
of USB ports. Whilst flash memory is far, far faster than a hard drive could
ever be, and uses less power, the small storage size, and lack of room to store
patches if the power dies does seem worrying.
Backup nunchuk controller for the unintrepid