BigRedPimp no GameDev


Wii observations

Posted by bigredpimp on February 8, 2007

After having my Wii since launch day and that the holidays of greed are all over, the dust has settled and the wow factor is starting to get thin. This is not to say that I dislike my Wii as a whole, just some features of it. Luckily, we’re not stuck with these features as a firmware update or 2 could fix them. Nintendo, if you’re reading this, your users are calling for you. Time to listen.

Message Board image
The Wii message board is the first thing on my list of things to fix. While it’s a great feature, there’s quite a bit that it’s lacking. Firstly, the fact that only JPEG is allowed as message attachments needs to be taken care of. Granted, I know that JPEG is a standard for taking digital photos so it made sense to include this. However, there are formats out there that can easily be implemented. If you’re going to support Internet standard formats, add PNG/MNG (and to lesser extent, GIF). Also, it doesn’t make sense why pictures can be sent from Wii user to Wii user and from outside email to Wii users but not Wii users to outside email. If you’re going to allow pictures to be sent to others, excluding this is somewhat illogical.

While we’re on the Internet subject, just recently I received a message from NOA about the Wii Remote wrist straps. With me being the web development geek that I am, I noticed one flaw in this message. They had included the URL for their replacement strap page yet there was no way to spawn the browser from the message. This is counter-productive as it requires your users to either a) have a computer or b) write down the URL so they can use it in the Wii browser, if they have it. The more you integrate features, the more your users are willing to use them. If everything is disconnected, it’s no better than having to switch discs to use the separate functions.

Ok, so we’re still talking the message board here, although somewhat indirectly. The only game I’ve seen supporting this feature is Wii Sports: accomplishments. Having accomplishments posted to the message board, while a good start, is somewhat pointless. Why tell people how well they’ve done if they can’t share that with their friends. I’d like to brag about getting a 300 in bowling or making a hole in one in golf to people outside of my home. While I’m going to refrain from comparing to XBL, this is a major weak point in the system. What good are accomplishments if you can’t show them off? Hopefully this changes as more & more games go online.

Let’s move away from the message board as to break the monotony.

Wii Opera Browser image
The Internet Channel, a browser based on Opera but with forced limitations care of Nintendo. A big grief with the browser is that if Nintendo says “ok, this doesn’t get included”, Opera can’t included it, no matter how much better it’d make the browser. While I could go on & on about “include X” or “fix Y”, I’m just going to list interface problems here. The first is tabbed browsing. This was an Opera first, way before Firefox & IE decided to include it so it deserves to be there. It would solve the problem of necessary popups being shown as well as it won’t hijack the page you were just on to show it. Another is that the Favorites configuration could be a bit more polished. While showing thumbnails for page preview is nice, there are still some problems with editing & deleting of the bookmarks as well as sorting. I know this is meant to be a “casual” browser but at least allow the boys & girls over at Opera to do what they know best and let Nintendo stick to improving the rest of the Wii.

I’d rather not get into the lack of online-capable games so I’ll leave someone else to beat that dead horse. I know I’ll find other things to compla… err put thought into so you may see them in a later post.


2 Responses to “Wii observations”

  1. Rollin said

    Hmhm, good assessments. Didn’t know Opera was the first with tabs.

    The browser has a mess of problems, it’s just stupid that they have to restrict its features because it’s on Wii. Classic Nintendo.

    The channel system is great… until you see how disintegrated all the channels are. Why does it have to reboot everytime i wanna go back to the channel guide/dashboard? I don’t know, but it shouldn’t be that way. I guess you get what you pay for with that.

    The message board is less than half-assed. When you send a message, you lose it, only getting the reply if one comes. And when it does, it’s not dated so you can never tell when it was sent (or even received). By the time people reply to my messages, i’ve forgotten what i told them in the first place so i don’t know what they’re talking about. Just as irritating, you can’t message a group of people all at once. Being a “message board”, at least implement a public, WiiConnect24 message board service for everyone in your add book to see, like the town message board in Animal Crossing. Or any bulletin board anywhere.

    Wii (minus the games) would be perfect if it weren’t for these hindrances.

  2. […] by bigredpimp on March 14, 2008 It’s been a little over a year since my first analysis of the Wii feature set and I believe it’s time for me to take another look. We’ve seen […]

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