Exciting Week for Wii Owners and Nintendo Fans

February 25, 2010

Nintendo held a media summit in San Francisco, CA on Wednesday, so this week’s blog will get you up to speed on the announcements Nintendo made and some of the exciting things they have in store for fans in the coming months.

The biggest news of the day was the announcement of release dates for two highly anticipated Wii games. First, Super Mario Galaxy 2 will be available Sunday, May 23! It had been highly speculated that this game wouldn’t be out until the big holiday shopping season, so if you are a Mario fan, the spring release date should come as good news and a pleasant surprise. To get an idea of what the game looks like, here is a screen shot:

In case you are not aware, Mario is Nintendo’s flagship mascot, and nearly every game in the Super Mario series is considered a classic. If you have not tried the first Super Mario Galaxy game, released for the Wii in 2007, you should definitely give it a shot because it is a fun and highly accessible game. Click here to learn more about that game.

The second release date announcement was for a game called Metroid: Other M, which will be available on Sunday, June 27. Though nowhere near the popularity of Nintendo’s more well known franchises such as Mario, the Metroid games definitely have a large and devoted set of fans, so the June 27 release date is fairly big news. Here is what the game looks like:

Those of you that grew up playing the original Nintendo Entertainment System in the ‘80s and ‘90s may remember the original Metroid game was launched on that system, so, as you can see, that series has been around for a long time!

The other big news of the day was the announcement of a North American release date for the Nintendo DSi XL, which is the newest iteration of Nintendo’s ultra-popular handheld gaming device. What makes the DSi XL different from the DSi? Well, as the “XL” name implies, the device’s dual screens are much larger than earlier versions of the DS. More specifically, the 4.2-inch screens are 93% larger than those on the DSi. This will make the onscreen action much easier to see, and it also opens up the possibility to market the DS as both a gaming device and an eReader. The DSi XL will be available in North America on Sunday, March 28, and it will cost $189.99. Click here to visit Nintendo’s site introducing the DSi XL.

Clearly, Nintendo has a lot of exciting stuff planned for the first half of 2010, so it’s definitely a good time to be a Wii owner and a Nintendo fan.

Until next time, this is a Wii Blog For You.

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Are you getting the most out of your Wii visually?

February 20, 2010

More and more people are making the leap from standard televisions to widescreen, high definition televisions (HDTV). Therefore, this week’s blog will be dedicated to making sure you have the optimal settings if you have your Wii connected to a widescreen HDTV.

You have most certainly noticed that your HDTV has a wider, more rectangle shaped screen compared to the more square-like shape of older standard definition televisions. What we are going to do is set your Wii to output widescreen images that match the shape of your HDTV. This will allow your Wii games to have a larger image with a wider field of view!

Here’s how to do it:

1. Turn on your Wii and click the Wii Options button in the bottom left corner of the screen.

2. You will then see a Data Management button and a Wii Settings button. Click the Wii Settings button, which looks like this:

If you have been following the blog from week-to-week, you may have noticed that these first two steps have been fairly consistent across all the things we have done. That is because the “Wii Settings” is where most of the “behind the scenes” Wii features are placed.

3. Your screen should now look like this:

Click the Screen button, which is marked by the red arrow in the screen shot above.

4. You will then be presented with 4 buttons: Screen Position, Widescreen Settings, TV Resolution, and Screen Burn-in Reduction. Click the Widescreen Settings button.

5. Your screen will now look like this:

The red brackets around the Standard (4:3) button indicate your Wii is currently set to output images in the old standard definition square-like shape. However, as we discussed above, your HDTV has a widescreen, so we need to set the Wii to match that. Click the Widescreen (16:9) button to move the red brackets over to that button.

6. Click the Confirm button in the lower right. Your Wii will then remind you to make sure your HDTV is set to produce widescreen images. This is because most HDTVs can be toggled to show images in various formats. Your HDTV is probably already set to widescreen, but consult your television’s instruction manual if you are unsure.

Now you are gaming in widescreen. Put in your copy of Mario Kart Wii or New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and you will immediately see the difference!


Making Sure Your Wii is Up To Date

February 12, 2010

Welcome back to another edition of Wii Blog For You. In previous entries, this blog showed you how to get your Wii up and running online with either a wired or wireless connection. Now it’s time to take advantage of the online functionality by making sure your Wii has all of the most recent features. We will do this through what is called a “Wii System Update.” Without getting too technical, what this will do is download some data directly from Nintendo, which will improve the Wii’s functionality and add whatever new features may be available. For example, depending on when you purchased your Wii, if you have never performed a system update, you are missing out on the ability to purchase and download WiiWare games. These are inexpensive games, which are not available in stores and can only be downloaded from the Wii Shop Channel.

Luckily, performing a Wii System Update is a relatively straightforward procedure. Here is what you need to do:

1. Once you have turned your Wii on, click on the Wii Options button in the bottom left corner of the screen.

2. You will then be presented with a Data Management Button and a Wii Settings Button. Click the Wii Settings Button, which looks like this:

3. The next screen you will see will look like this:

In the upper right corner of the screen, you will see which version of the System Update your Wii currently has. For example, in the screen shot above, the Wii has Version 2.0U. As of February 12, 2010, the most recent version is 4.2U. So, if your Wii is showing 4.2U, you do not need to perform a system update at this time! If your Wii is showing anything less than that, however, proceed on to the steps below.

The screen we are currently looking at is the first “page” of Wii System Settings. There are three pages of system settings, and the button we need to perform the Wii System Update is on the third page. Therefore, to get to the third page, click the arrow that is on the right side of the screen two times. The arrow you need to click is circled in red in the screenshot above.

4. Your screen should now look like this:

Click the button that says Wii System Update.

5. The Wii will then ask you, “Connect to the Internet and perform a Wii system update?” Click the “Yes” button.

6. The Wii will then notify you that if your Wii has any unauthorized modifications, the system update will remove them and potentially render your console inoperable. The reason for this is that there is a small community of tech-savvy Wii users who “hack” into their system for various reasons, which are often illegal. Unless you are part of that community, you have nothing worry about! Therefore, click “I Accept” to begin the Wii System Update.

From there, the Wii takes care of itself. Depending on the size of the update available, it may take several minutes to complete.

And that’s all there is to it. You can now be assured your Wii is on the cutting edge of what it has to offer!


Consider Upgrading Your Wii’s Controller To Wii MotionPlus

February 7, 2010

When Nintendo released the Wii in November of 2006, the console’s unique motion-based controller changed videogames forever. Prior to the Wii, videogame consoles used complicated controllers that often contained upwards of eight buttons. The Wii, on the other hand, uses a much simpler scheme. It only has a few buttons, and it can sense motions, so a player’s gestures can also be used to control the actions within a game. This revolutionary style of game play has made video games accessible to a much wider audience, and it allows for levels of immersion that traditional controllers cannot match.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is true, the folks at Nintendo should feel pretty good about themselves because their primary competitors, Microsoft and Sony, will be releasing their own motion-based controllers in 2010. Not to be outdone, Nintendo has already taken steps to improve their current controllers with an accessory called the Wii MotionPlus.

The Wii MotionPlus enhances the controller’s motion sensitivity in startling and very satisfying ways. The best way to understand what this accessory does would be to think about playing a tennis videogame. Without the WiiMotion Plus, players gesture with their controllers as though they were swinging a tennis racquet and the characters on the screen respond.

Add the Wii MotionPlus, however, and the controller measures a player’s movement in a much more sensitive way. For example, instead of simply sensing the controller’s swinging motion, the controller also takes into account the position of the player’s arm and wrist. This means rather than just waving the controller and watching the onscreen character hit the ball, the player can now roll their wrist as they swing, causing their onscreen character roll their wrist, which will put spin on the ball, just like a real tennis racquet!

Another way to think about it would be to think of the Wii controller, without the Wii MotionPlus, as an “on-off switch.” The player makes a motion, the controller senses the motion, and the game responds. The game will not respond again until the player makes a deliberate motion. The controller with the Wii MotionPlus, on the other hand, allows the controller to just about mimic the player’s movement in a 1:1 manner. In other words, the controller continuously mimics exactly what the player is doing at the exact moment they are doing it.

Like the tennis example above illustrates, this controller enhancement will allow for an even higher level of immersion in the game. For a nice illustration of Wii MotionPlus in action, check out this video clip from when Nintendo originally announced the accessory at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2008: Wii MotionPlus Demo.

Here are some things to keep in mind about the Wii MotionPlus. First, there is no need to worry that it will render your current controller obsolete. Most games will continue to support controllers with or without the Wii MotionPlus. In other words, you will still be able to play the game, just without the added features the MotionPlus allows. Second, the Wii MotionPlus does not enhance games that don’t support the feature. So, you won’t be able to attach a Wii MotionPlus to your controller and expect your older games to play or control any differently. Games that support Wii MotionPlus will be clearly marked on the game’s box.

Wii MotionPlus can be purchased at your favorite Nintendo retailer, or you can buy from Amazon here: MotionPlus at Amazon. My recommendation would be to purchase the game called Wii Sports Resort. This game is the sequel to the wildly popular Wii Sports, and it comes packed with a Wii MotionPlus in the box.

Until next time, happy gaming!