December 13th, 2012, 00:22 Posted By: wraggster
It's Christmas, a time traditionally associated with joy, happiness and generosity of spirit. Currently available only in Canada, one might consider the Wii Mini something of a festive gift from Nintendo: a complete console package for just $99 CAD - that's around Ł63 GBP, or just over $100 in US dollars. Unfortunately, behind the attractive price-point we find a hardware proposition that reeks of the kind of spite and mean-spiritedness that Ebeneezer Scrooge would be proud of. This is a savagely compromised version of the original hardware that we can only recommend to the least discerning of gamers.
That said, we can imagine that this is exactly the audience Nintendo has in mind for the new revision of the console. With the console in hand, we find a machine designed with durability in mind: the plastics are rough to the touch with a matte finish that should defy scratching, giving the impression of a brick-like, weighty, child-proof piece of hardware. It's an impression backed up by Nintendo's chosen colour scheme - bright red on charcoal-black - making it look like a younger child's "my first games console".
Bundled in the box is everything you need to get going: the traditional Wii staples such as the sensor bar, power supply, AV cable and a rather spiffing, very Christmassy bright red Wiimote Plus (in matching rubber sleeve) with matching Nunchuk. Aside from the instruction manual, that's your lot, but it's all you need for the vast majority of the titles out there. Support is included for some additional Wii add-ons including the Balance Board, but beyond that, any semi-serious user is going to annoyed and frustrated by the sheer lack of functions and expandability offered by the new hardware.
We already know about the headline omissions of course: the slot-loading DVD drive has been removed in favour of a flip-top effort, while the legacy GameCube ports found on the original Wii hardware are gone, meaning that there's no chance of running vintage games on the new device (even though the optical drive can accommodate them easily enough). We would bemoan the resultant inability to use the brilliant GameCube pad for Virtual Console retro titles, but of course the Wii Mini has no VC or WiiWare support at all, owing to the removal of WiFi hardware. Nintendo presumably rationalised that it would not recoup the hardware cost of the board from eShop sales, so decided to omit it altogether in order to hit that $99 price-point - but it didn't stop there.
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