Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 6: Gifts For Geeks and Gamers

Game On: Nintendo Wii

Does the Wii have a great name? No comment. Is the processor next generation? Not really - the system is basically an overclocked Gamecube. Can it play HD DVDs? We don't think so, in fact the Wii can't even play regular DVDs. Is it high resolution then? Sorry, the Wii is 480p at best, while the Xbox 360 is capable of 1080i high definition.

Not convinced that buying the Wii is a good idea?

Well the reality is that the Wii has succeeded in enticing the hearts of gamers everywhere, in spite of its specifications. And the way Nintendo did this was brilliant: it took an approach that made all previous console benchmarks and features unimportant. Nintendo has wisely shifted the focus away from the numbers and towards what makes gamers out of regular people in the first place: interactivity and immersion.

It all comes down to a simple decision: if you want to have fun playing virtual tennis, would you prefer to do it by pressing buttons on an analog gamepad, or by swinging around a responsive virtual racquet? How about gamepad buttons versus a virtual bow for archery? Gamepad versus virtual lightsaber?

The motion sensitive wand controller is the console's key to success, and it's this simple premise that makes the Wii exciting and fresh. Forget the specifications; Nintendo's new console has a responsive and accurate control scheme that has excited the minds of game developers and players alike.

Oh, and there is one very positive specification about the Wii I forgot to mention: its MSRP is around $250. Also important to remember is that it shouldn't be impossible to find in retail for Christmas, since its release date is November 14th.

It looks a lot better for the underdog now, doesn't it?

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