Wii channels - where next?

authorChris | August 25, 2008

The channels system on Wii is easily the most straightforward and elegant menu interface on any console to date, especially when compared to the confusing tangle of menus and sub-menus on the Xbox dashboard or PS3’s cross media bar. Clicking in and out of channels and even re-arranging them to suit your own personal use of them is a breeze with the Wiimote. The problem, however, is that of the three systems, the Wii is most lacking when it comes to content. So here, I am going to go over some changes and additions we here at My Wii News would like to see. I only hope someone at Nintendo is reading.

First up, let’s look at the Photo Channel. While it can be good for showing off your holiday snaps, for most people it is probably one of the least used channels on the system. You are able to view slideshows of your photos with your own music from SD card, though Nintendo have made a strange choice with audio formats. The default format for the channel is, unsurprisingly, mp3. However, when Nintendo released an optional update to allow compatibility with the iTunes AAC format, we were forced to choose between the two formats, rather than have the update accommodate both.

With Nintendo’s vision of having the console as the centre of a family’s living room, the photo channel needs to be changed into a full multimedia channel. This could include the ability to play videos from disc or SD card, as well as playing music from CDs. If a hard drive is ever released, it could even include the ability to rip music from CD to the internal memory, a la Xbox 360. We know the Wii isn’t capable of playing DVDs, which is one way Nintendo were able to keep the cost of the console so low, but there have been rumours for a while now of a new version of the console with a built in DVD drive, which could be integrated into a multimedia channel.

Wii weather forcast - accuracy questionable

While the photo channel is rarely used by the average Wii user, the Weather Channel is probably never used. It suffers from one major problem - you can get a far more detailed and accurate report on TV or online, so who is going to bother to power up their Wii and load the channel, only to get a simplistic forecast for somewhere a few miles away from their actual location? One way the channel could be improved is to add access to Doppler radar information. There are already websites that give access to Doppler radar maps that give detailed weather information, which is updated very five to ten minutes. That way, rather than having to work out which city is closest to where you want a forecast for and seeing if it has a picture of the sun over it, you can find the exact location on the map and see exactly what is going on in the skies in near real time. The channel already has a 3D globe you can navigate to find reports, so Doppler images could be integrated as an overlay when you zoom in.

So many Miis, so little to do

No doubt the biggest addition to the Wii most users would like to see is some kind of community channel. The Mii is a fantastic way to represent people in games, but there is very little interactivity between them. Microsoft have copied the idea with their new avatar system, but they have promised they will be used as a tool to interact with your friends when you are chatting, sharing photos and playing games. Xbox Live really does feel like an online community, and should have been the blueprint Nintendo used when they were designing the online structure of the Wii. With USB keyboards and the newly unveiled Wii Speak, Wii users could have text and voice chat while their Miis interact and play games on screen. Even if it is only basic games like chess and tic-tac-toe, the ability to talk to your friends while you play will be a vast improvement to the so far faceless, empty feeling online community.

Other useful additions to the online infrastructure would be the ability to exchange friend codes for games automatically while you chat, so they will be waiting for you next time you play the game, and an easier way of seeing who is online playing what games. Currently you can only see if anyone is playing online by going into the friends list in the game, but finding people to play would be much easier if, like on Xbox 360, you could access a list of all your friends from the Wii menu to see who is online and what they are playing.

Speaking of online content, the Nintendo Channel is in need of some major new content. The ability to download demos to your DS is great, but until recently there were only the likes of Brain Training and Metroid Prime on there. Recently, Ninja Gaiden and Iron Man demos have been made available, but the channel needs more new games, preferably before they are released in shops. Demos of Wii games would also be a welcome addition, but that leads back to the lack of storage space on the console.

Finally, a request that anyone who uses a Gamecube controller to play Smash Brothers, Gamecube games or any Virtual Console titles will sympathise with. Please, Nintendo, let us use Gamecube pads to navigate the Wii menu. It may not sound like much, but having to use the Wii remote to load your game only to turn it off again and pick up your Gamecube pad before you play never gets any less irritating. It can’t take more than a simple firmware update to enable it, so who knows why Nintendo haven’t done it yet.

Wii Premium?

Wii Premium?

We can forgive Nintendo for limiting some of the features on Wii, particularly on the multimedia side of things, as it meant they could keep the cost of the console amazingly low. Over a year and a half later though, it’s time Nintendo upped the ante, perhaps by releasing a “premium” version of the console with a DVD player and hard drive. More likely from Nintendo though are cheaper, more immediate changes to channels which would take no more than a software update via a quick download.

The Wii remains a joy to use, we could just do with a few more things to use it for.

Meet the Canuck.

authorCanucklehead | August 23, 2008

How are Wii all doing today. I’m actually one of the original authors here at My Wii News, second only to Bucky. It was only when I saw Mike’s intro that I figured it was high time that I get around to doing a proper one myself. I’ve been only a semi-regular contributor here, owing in part to my hectic schedule and part to the fact that a lot (read:all) of my counterparts here are a lot better then digging up and reporting news than I. I tend to stick with the odd, strange and downright unneccesary.

A little bit about myself:

I am a Canadian (hence the name) father of two who has a long history with video games. As a older fellow, I can remember playing Pong, Commodore 64 games and Atari 2600 over at friends’ houses as a kid. My first system was the dreaded CollecoVision, followed by the IntelliVision, Nintendo NES, then the SNES - Playstation and now a Wii. I was actually a champion Pitfall player for a time and have the badges and trophies to prove it. On an only somewhat related note, I was also invited to the qualifier for Golden Tee (the golf game you see at bars) and only barely missed playing for the Canadian National team. (This was years ago.) I work full-time and split whatever time is left over between playing with my boys, attending university part-time evenings, drinking beer, playing Wii and working on my own site: Canucklehead.ca.

Having now finished Zelda long ago (the reason I got the Wii) I recently have been mostly playing Guitar Hero (topped out at medium), Lego Star Wars (losing interest fast) and Mario Kart (great game!), although I suspect a few sports game and in my future. The whole family plays and we really are a Wii family now. Look for more of my now famous collections in the future and feel free to send me any suggestions. I’m out for now - happy playing.



Guitar Hero: World Tour Preview

authorCanucklehead | August 21, 2008

Rock out with your sock out!

Rock out with your socks out!

I know many of you have already jumped on the RockBand wagon but ol’ Canucklehead here is sticking with Guitar Hero, mainly because I already own and that’s the way I roll. (read: cheap) Besides, it appears that with the newest incarnation coming out this fall, Guitar Hero will now have all the things that others told me made RockBand better - that being a drum and microphone. I think it goes without saying but just in case - all the instruments will in fact be wireless. I of course already own Guitar Hero for the Wii, but only ever had one guitar - as a result, I missed the true fun of playing with or against someone else. I mean, there was the day that Bucky handed my ass to me online - but really, that was not much fun at all. If only for the second guitar. I’ll probably pick this game up - once it no longer involves searching and hunting. (Finally got Wii Fit after searching for almost six hours last Sunday!)

The most interesting aspect of this new game will be that the musically inclined among you will in fact be able to create and share original music. Can you imagine a friend sending you a note like, “Hey man - check out this impossible song I just created!” I can already see the YouTube videos running through my head - that will be cool. Of course, I cannot read or play a note so I’m not going to be much help. While we still will NOT be able to download songs at this point Activision’s press release does promise “Delivering the largest on-disc set list in a music-rhythm game to-date, Guitar Hero World Tour is comprised entirely of master recordings from some of the greatest classic and modern rock bands of all-time including Van Halen, Linkin Park, The Eagles, Sublime and many more.” The final song list has not been confirmed at this time but speculation is rampant. A short time ago a full list came out which was dismissed as false by the game’s makers - a second and much smaller set list below has been released and confirmed by Activision of a taste of what we can expect - I’ve included it below. (The initial list appears to be a wishlist set up by fans and was actually really cool - you can see a copy HERE.)

There are alot more options and enhancements to the game which I’m sure will be seen by all the newer games going forward. Guitar Hero, and RockBand by association has not only revolutionized the gaming industry, but also the music industry. Anyway, I’m certain more information will be coming out shortly but I did want to draw your attention to one gameply mode that I think would be pretty awesome: Guitar Hero World Tour introduces Battle of the Bands mode which allows eight players to join online and challenge each other band-to-band to determine who is the best of the best! Now that my friends will be a hit at parties! Anyway, let’s get to the part you’ve all been waiting for - the setlist. Keep in mind that what appears below is only a partial list. I’ve already got my favorites picked out - what are yours and what songs are missing? Hit me in the comments section below. Keep on rockin’ and stay tuned to MyWiiNews for updates as they become available.

Guitar Hero: World Tour Set List

Airbourne: Too Much Too Young

Anouk: Good God

At the Drive-in: One Armed Scissor

Beastie Boys: No Sleep ’till Brooklyn

Beatsteaks: Hail to the Freaks

Billy Idol: Rebel Yell

Blink 182: Dammit

Blondie: One Way or Another

BLS: Stillborn

Bob Seger: Hollywood Nights

Bon Jovi: Livin’ on a prayer

BRMC: Weapon of Choice

CCR: Up Around The Bend

Coldplay: Shiver

Dino Jr: Feel the pain

(The) Doors: Love Me Two Times

(The) Eagles: Hotel California

(The) Enemy: Aggro

Fleetwood Mac: Go your own way

Foo Fighters: Everlong

(The) Guess Who: American Woman

Hush Puppies: You’re Gonna Say Yeah

Interpol: Obstacle1

Jimi Hendrix: Purple Haze Live

Jimi Hendrix: Wind Cries Mary

Kent: Vinternoll 2

Lenny Kravitz: Are You Gonna Go My Way

Linkin Park: What I’ve Done

Lost Prophets: Rooftops

Mars Volta: L’Via L’Viaquez

Metallica: Trapped under ice

Michael Jackson: Beat It

Modest Mouse: Float On

Negramaro: Nuvole

Nirvana: About a Girl

No Doubt: Spiderwebs

Oasis: Some Might Say

Ozzy Osbourne: Crazy Train

Ozzy Osbourne: Mr. Crowley

Paramore: Misery Business

Pat Benatar: Heartbreaker

Radio Futura: Escuela De Calor

Silversun Pickups: Lazy Eye

Stuck in the sound: Toy Boy

Sublime: Santeria

Survivor: Eye of the Tiger

System of a Down: BYOB

Tokio Hotel: Monsoon

Van Halen: Hot for Teacher

GameStop, Inc. GameStop, Inc.

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