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The Nintendo Wii has really taken the world of computer gaming by storm. In my opinion this is mainly the result of Nintendo looking at all aspects of gaming as we know it, and putting a completely different angle on it. The Nintendo Wii is not the first console to offer wireless controllers. However the way the user uses the controller and interacts with the games has pushed gaming in a new (albeit more physical) direction.
But it does not stop there, Nintendo have looked at old console games (now called classic games) and have made them available to be downloaded onto the Wii (you need to be able to access the internet through the Wii for this). For that real retro feel Nintendo have produced The Classic Controller, before I explain about this controller I think it will be prudent to explain a little about connecting to the internet, downloading games, The Wii remote and then the classic controller.
Wii and connecting to the Internet.
At home we have a wireless network, so for us it was easy to set up. We followed the on screen prompts and were connected in a matter of minutes. Thankfully if things did not work we still had the manual that gives full instructions.
The criteria for setting to the internet are as follows.
You need a high speed internet connection such as broadband or cable. Ideally you have a wireless network.
If you connect via a LAN (local area network) you will need to purchase a "Wii LAN Adapter".
If you want to connect it Via a PC (that is directly connected to a high speed internet connection), then you will need to purchase a "Nintendo WI-FI USB Connector No.NTR-010). As far as I am aware the operating system for the PC needs to be windows XP (I do not know if you can as yet use Vista or any other operating system).
To avoid the extra wires trailing around I think we have used the best option that being the wireless network.
For downloading classic games an internet connection to the Nintendo Wii is a must.
Wii Shop Channel
You will need Wii points to use this channel, you can either buy Wii points cards from most shops that sell the Nintendo Wii or you can use a credit card when in the Wii shop channel.
The channel gives you the opportunity to buy and download classic games from the NES, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Sega Mega Drive etc. The cost of these varies, but typically a game is between 500 and 1,000 Wii points per game.
Any games that are downloaded then get a channel of their own and can be accessed from the home menu on the Nintendo Wii
What is the Wii remote?
Briefly this is the main controller that you will use when playing games on the Nintendo Wii, it is a wireless controller that senses your movements (through built in sensors) and it interacts with the console (via infrared) through a sensor bar that is fitted just above or below the television. It also needs two AA batteries to power it (unless you buy a rechargeable battery pack and charging station). It has a built in speaker and a rumble function. At the rear of the Wii remote is a socket for plugging in add ons (Nunchuk or Classic Controller).
The Classic Controller.
It is white (in keeping with the Nintendo Wii colour scheme); probably the best way to describe it is a hybrid of two old Nintendo controllers (SNES and N64). The shape is harder to describe it is an oval that is a tiny bit squished in the middle, you hold it with both hands so that the longer parts of the oval are in both hands. So that the cable that joins it to the Wii remote is pointing down from the middle. Looking at the front just above the cable are two analog sticks (joy sticks for both thumbs). Above these are three buttons from left to right they are (-) select, Home, (+) Start. To the left of that is a “D” pad (directional controller). To the right are four button in a diamond shape marked (from top to bottom left to right) X,Y,A,B. On the top shoulder are five buttons, The two on the left are marked from the outside L and Zl The two on the right are marked from the outside R and Zr The button between these when clicked opens up two slots at the back of the controller, the use for these has not as yet been said (curious).
The lead that connects it to the Wii remote is just over a metre in length, it is permanently attached to the Classic Controller. At the other end of the lead is a connector that plugs into the corresponding part of the Nintendo Wii remote.
How good is it?
Obviously it depends on the downloaded game, in general though it has a kind of retro yet modern feel about it, the controller works very well. The cable length is ideal, it means you can place the Wii remote down (pointing roughly at the television screen) and still have enough cable to play games comfortably.
The best test was watching our six year old playing Sonic the Hedgehog on the Nintendo Wii using the Classic Controller. She found it easy to control the game and the smile told its own story.
Do you need one?
No is the short answer as you can use a GameCube controller, however this detracts from the retro experience.
Can it be used for only classic games?
Again this is No, some of the Wii games coming out can be played using the Classic Controller; look on the game for details.
What about injuries?
Personally I have not suffered any strains or sprains whilst using the Classic Controller. If anyone is really worried then maybe they should contact their doctor before playing. In general playing “Retro” games involves a lot less effort than the new Wii games.
It is also worth noting that because the Classic Controller relies upon the battery power coming from the Wii remote; it will mean that the life of the batteries in the Wii remote will be reduced.
All in all this is another wonderful addition to all things Wii that has come from Nintendo. We bought ours for around £15.