This week I’m going to introduce a new segment on vl. Called “One Thing Right, One Thing Wrong,” I’m going to talk about about two things, one good, one bad, that a respective console maker has going for with their current generation console. And to start it all off, I decided to go with fanboy heaven, Nintendo and its Wii system.
Wii: next-gen home for Channel surfing.
First, the good news. In keeping with this whole “non-gamer” kick that Nintendo’s been on, they’ve implemented the now-famous Channel system with the Wii. Essentially, you have upwards of 48 “channels” that can be viewed on the Wii’s main menu, be it specialty programs like the “Everybody Votes” channel, or full-fledged games from the Virtual Console service. And with the ability to add new channels when they are released, the Wii is poised to give consumers new ways to have fun with their console.
This kind of system gives the Wii a huge helping of variety for the consumer. It’s not all about games anymore when you have channels like the Internet Channel, the Photo Channel, and the News Channel. At the click of a button, you can check out your bank statement, order a shiny new DS from Amazon, or check out the latest articles on videolamer. As well, you can check out the week’s weather forecast, or vote in a seemingly useless worldwide pole, asking you what you hate more, the heat or the cold.
And the simplicity is where Nintendo does it right; everything is right on the main page when you boot the system up. You don’t have to open up uber-nested menus, with most of them containing words only a system-admin would know about. All you have to do is point and click. Pure genius, and it’s one of the best things Nintendo has going for with their newest home console.
But with the advent of expandability comes a price. With the ability to add more channels, along with the fact that the Wii only has 48 slots to put them in, there will be problems in the future where people start maxing out their available storage. As of now, there are 75 titles on the NA Virtual Console service, 76 for the Europeans, and a whopping 102 titles on the Japanese VC. If you wanted to, you couldn’t buy them all with the Wii’s finite number of open channel slots.
You can store them on an SD card, but you can’t run them off of it. You have to upload them back onto the Wii, which isn’t the most intuitive (and logical) ways of handling the problem. Nintendo needs to either increase the storage amount with an add-on HDD, or let users play games from their SD cards. It may not be the biggest problem right now (I’m pretty sure no one likes all 102 games on the VC), but 2-3 years down the line, and you bet your sweet ass that Nintendo will get some heated blog entries on the Interweb about it.
And that’s it for the Nintendo Edition of “One Thing Right, One Thing Wrong.” Next time we’ll talk about Microsoft and its second-ever video game console, the Xbox 360. Hope to see you then:)