25
Nov
06

Wiikend update

I’m sorry about all the Wii puns. They’re just too easy. What follows is some info on the controllers needed to use the Wii’s Virtual Console feature and info on playing GameCube games on the Wii, all of which I learned or experienced this weekend. If you’re a Wii owner or enthusiast, or if you’re considering buying a Wii, you should definitely read this.

One of the big selling points of the Wii for me is the Virtual Console and the ability it provides to play classic games for the NES, SNES, and N64 that you can download from the online Wii Shop. Unfortunately, in order to play SNES and N64 games, you need a controller with more buttons than the Wii remote. To accommodate this, Nintendo released the Wii Classic Controller, which has a directional pad, two analog sticks, A/B and X/Y buttons, and two sets of trigger buttons on the top. In addition, it has all the buttons necessary to operate the Wii menus. This controller can be used to play all games for NES, SNES, N64, Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx16, and GameCube. (See next post.) However, you can also play most games for those systems with the GameCube controller. (See here for a compatibility chart.)

In addition to the Virtual Console capabilities, the Wii is backward compatible with the GameCube. That is, it has the hardware necessary to support the functions of the GameCube. Thus, it has 4 ports for GameCube controllers, two slots for GameCube memory cards, and its disc drive can properly handle the smaller GameCube discs in addition to the normal-sized Wii discs. The great advantage of this backward compatibility is that it gives you immediate access to a library of hundreds of GameCube games as soon as you unpack your Wii. Since the GameCube is an older system, its games are cheaper to buy. Many GameCube games can be bought new for $20-$30. Plus, there is a large supply of used GameCube games available, meaning you can pick up games for as little as $10. You can use the Wii Classic Controller for your GameCube games or you can get GameCube controllers. If you’re interested in staying strictly wireless, you can get the wireless GameCube controller known as the Wavebird.

Having recently realized the significance of the Wii’s backward compatibility with the GameCube, my friend, Scott, and I headed over to Micro Center today to get some GameCube gear to augment the Wii experience. Scott picked up 2 Wavebird controllers, a GameCube memory card, and two GameCube games: Super Smash Bros. Melee and Lego Star Wars or Lego Star Wars II (I don’t remember which). This afternoon, after Scott got the Wavebirds set up and the memory card inserted, we tried out the Wii on GameCube games.

All in all, the experience was great. The wireless controllers didn’t have any lag and we didn’t have any sync problems. The games are great and the two of them together cost the same as a single new Wii game. The only issue we had came when we wanted to quit the GameCube games and go back to the Wii menu. Without the Wii Classic Controller, which has all the necessary buttons for navigating the Wii’s menu system, it seemed like we had to just turn off the Wii and turn it back on. Perhaps there’s some work-around involving the Wii remote, but we haven’t figure it out yet.

Anyway, the take-home message here is that the Wii is awesome and its awesome-ness is compounded by the fact that its backward compatibility to the GameCube gives owners access to a very large catalog of good, yet cheap, games.

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