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special >> 10 reasons for a 'revolution'

10 Reasons For A 'Revolution': Why We Should Be Excited For The Nintendo Wii

While Microsoft may have brought in the "next generation" with the Xbox 360 last year, the battle really doesn't begin until this fall, when Nintendo and Sony finally release their next gen consoles. While Microsoft is relying on a strong internet gaming communtity, and Sony is relying on taking over your home entertainment center, Nintendo is taking a radically different appraoch to next gen gaming. Rather than having the most powerful system, Nintendo plans on changing the way we play games in the future. Nintendo has proved that you can have an innovative system with the Nintendo DS, and seeing the overwhelmingly positive response from this year's E3 convention, the company's once crazy idea now seems like a good one. So good, even Sony decided to rip-off motion sensor technology for the PS3 controller (Sony, you can deny this all you want, but it's a bit odd that you decided to include this new feature a few weeks before E3, catching even your developers off-guard).

So here are 10 reasons to be excited over Nintendo's next-generation console, if you're not already.

Reason # 1:
The Controller

The biggest element to Nintendo's next gen console is the controller, which looks like a television remote control. Many have labeled this peripheral the "wii-mote", and the device is radically different from what Sony and Microsoft has developed. The wii-mote can be used many different ways: pointed forward, tilted on it's side, or used in combination with the analog stick accessory forming a nunchuck. The controller is both tilt and motion sensitive. It can proccess movement through your motion by pointing at the television, or by tilting the controller (or even both). The wii-mote is possible the best selling point of the console, because it radically changes the way we play games. Control is no longer defined to a control pad or analog sticks. Now you can control through open-space with more freedom than ever seen before. It's designed to be accessable to anyone, and it's designed to be fun.

Reason # 2:
Nintendo Is Finally Online

After missing the oppertunity to go online in this generation of consoles with the Gamecube, Nintendo finally realized that people actually DO play games online. Nintendo is taking a bit of a different approach to online gaming, though. From what it looks like, Nintendo will make the entire console online enabled, allowing web browsing through the console. While that aspect isn't really new (Sega was the last console to offer web browsing through a console with the Dreamcast), it is more than what Sony and Microsoft offers with their online programs. Nintendo plans on having online gameplay similar to what they have done with the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection on the Nintendo DS, but I can imagine that developers may use Gamespy for their online needs. Nintendo also has a plan called "Connect24", which will bring you new content at any time, and to allow players to interact with you even if you're not playing. It's an ambitious concept, and hopefully we'll hear more about it soon. The prospect of Nintendo finally embracing online play is something to be happy for in itself.

Reason # 3:
The Virtual Console

The Nintendo Wii will be the ultimate "backwards-compatible" console thanks to the Virtual Console service. The Virtual Console is something similar to the Gametap service created by Turner Broadcasting. The VC will offer games from the NES, Super NES, and N64 era, as well as games from the Sega Gensis and Turbo Graffix 16. Sure, Microsoft may have some retro arcade games in Xbox Live, but it's nothing compared to Nintendo's huge backlog of games. We're talking over 20 years of games for the offering, here. So even if there is a drought of Wii games (especially if it's similar to what we saw with the Xbox 360 after launch), you'll have many more games waiting for you in the Virtual Console. Pricing for games has been said to be between $5-10 a game (which is similar to Xbox Live downloads), but the price may change in the future. Also, seeing how the Wii does have on-board memory storage (512 MB, from what I know), there can be a possibillity of other consoles being supported in the future, including the SNK Neo-Geo and Sega Master System.

Reason # 4:
Gamecube Backwards Compatibility

It seems like the way to get the most value out of a console is to offer backwards compatibility. Sony did it with the PS2 and the upcoming PS3, and Nintendo did it with the GameBoy Advance and Nintendo DS. Microsoft made the mistake of not getting the rights to the Xbox chipsets, so backwards compatibility on that system is pretty spotty. Nintendo stuck with the same companies that built the Gamecube for the Wii, and hopefully every game will be backwards compatible, rather than relying on emulation. On top of that, Nintendo has designed a "classic" controller to work with Gamecube games, and can be used with Wii and Virtual Console titles.

Reason # 5:
A Solid Launch Lineup

One of the most important things you need for a launch is good games. While Nintendo had some decent ones on the Gamecube launch, nothing jumped out as the next Mario 64. This time, though, we have a new Metroid Prime title, as well as a Wii-version of the Legend Of Zelda. New franchises include Excite-Truck and Wii-Sports, and there is some decent third party support from Ubi-Soft (Red Steel), Activision (TH Downhill Jam) and EA (Madden 07). A new Mario game is on the works, but it may not hit the system untill a couple of months after launch. Still, the lauch seems pretty solid.

Reason # 6:
A Unique Experience

Third party companies who typically develop for all consoles release one version of a game for all systems. But since the Nintendo Wii has a different control setup (as well as graphic capabilites), multiplatform games will be a different experince on the console. Madden 07, for example, intends to deliver a different apporach to contorl as opposed to the other two consoles. On the Wii, you can simulate throws and passes, where on other consoles, you basically press buttons. Perhaps delivering a new way of playing, even if the graphics are not as detailed as other console versions, can give the Wii an edge. People who have played Madden for years may finally want to get into the game, feel like they're on the field physically, instead of just visually.

Reason # 7:
Nintendo DS Connectivity

Some really didn't like Nintendo's connectivity option between the Gamecube and GameBoy Advance, because it required a cable, and the connectivity options really didn't deliver anything great. But Nintendo is planning on connectivity with the Nintendo DS and the Wii (which will be wireless), and it may go beyond offering two screens of stats to go with your game. There's the posibillity of transfering what you download through the Virtual Console onto the Nintendo DS, where you can take the games you download with you. This would probably be limited to NES, Super NES, Genesis and Turbo Graffix 16 games, but the option doesn't seem too bad. At least this time you won't need special cables to connect to your system.

Reason # 8:
Expand Storage Within Your Means

Unlike the Xbox 360 and PS3, Nintendo will not have a hard-drive with the Wii. Instead, there will be SD-memory card slots for memory storage. This is a cheaper alternative to what the other two consoles offer, and you have more options of storage space than you do with standard memory cards. While it would be nice for the Wii to have a hard drive, a prospect of one may not be out of the picture. The Wii has USB ports, and that could lead to the possibility of external hard drive support. At least you won't have to be stuck with first-party offerings, anymore.

Reason # 9:
One Console, One Low Price

One thing I really don't like about what Sony and Microsoft hve done with their next generation consoles is offer two different packages. You either have the choice of a stripped down model and be forced to upgrade, or pay $100 more and get everything you need. At least Nintedo will offer one console for one price, so you won't have to worry about picking up a stripped down package because a store ran out of the "premuim" package. The price is much more pleasing this time around as well. While Nintendo had the cheapest console this generation (debuting $100 less than the other two systems), the price difference seems all the greater in the next generation. You may pay up to $400 for an Xbox 360, and if you want a PS3, you may pay upwards of $600. Nintendo has said that the Wii will be the cheapest console on the market, and many have speculated that the console will sell for $199-$249. Hopefully, Nintendo will take the $199 or less route, which would put the Wii at a $400 savings compared to the PS3. In fact, even someone at Microsoft has said that you could buy a Xbox 360 and a Nintendo Wii for the price of a PS3. Also, expect the cost of software to be $10-20 less than other consoles.

Reason # 10:
It's All Inclusive

Nintendo wants to make this a system for everyone. Sony has been shooting off their mouth again, stating that the Nintendo Wii is "a system for kids". Perhaps Sony is afraid of the fact that the Wii may actually get gamers the PlayStation brand can't get. Sony is more content on getting their Blu-Ray disc format on store shelves by using the PS3 as a trojan horse, just like how the PS2 was able to push the DVD format in Japan. But as far as game consoles go, the Nintendo Wii will be the console for everyone: kids and adults, regular gamers and non-gamers alike. Games can be designed that anyone can play them, but also provide a level of control that adds a new level of depth. The games and concepts of the Wii seem simple, but what seems simple can also be complex. There will be games that will appeal to everyone, even through the Virtual Console, and if Nintendo can get people to play games, then they've done their job.