The Wii is finally about to hit stores in the UK and soon you'll have Nintendo's latest, with it's motion-sensitive controller, its many interface options and, if you're hardcore, you'll have probably played at least ten hours into Zelda, too.
But there's so much more to look forward to with Wii other than Zelda. You've got the small, sleek console itself, the motion-sensitive controller that has the whole games industry abuzz with intrigue and excitement, and the feature-packed Wii Channels that aim to take over your life.
It's time to get excited about the coming of this fantastic console, so read on to get the low-down on the Wii hardware, the innovations of the controller and all of the Wii Channels. Good times are ahead.
The small and near-silent Wii is, as you will know, a clean and stylish-looking piece of kit, with Nintendo having cleverly tucked its many ports and sockets away in hidden compartments. Here are all of it's main components, and if you want to know more about how it looks, feels and performs, and find out what's in the box you're your Wii, check out our detailed hardware feature.
DVD Drive: The Wii takes DVD-sized Wii games as well as the smaller GameCube discs with a smooth, self-loading drive. It won't play DVD movies but an enhanced Wii planned for release next year will, although no European release date has been announced.
Internal Memory: The Wii has 512Mb of internal memory where you will store everything from saved game files to downloaded data such a Virtual Console games or bonus game content.
SD memory cards: SD Cards slot into the front of the machine under a small flap and can used to expand on the Wii's internal memory. Although the internal memory should be enough, a 2GB SD card would sort you right out.
Two USB ports: The two USB ports, as you expect, offer the possibility of connecting the Wii with other electrical devices and expansions. Although the only use currently announced for the ports is a USB Ethernet Kit.
GameCube ports: Opening the flap on the top of the console reveals four GameCube controller ports and the slots for two GameCube Memory Cards. You can use GameCube pads to play certain Virtual Console and Wii games, as well as GameCybe games. You cannot save Wii files on GameCube Memory Cards, and you cannot save GameCube files on Wii's internal memory.
Multi-out: Wii sends out all it's visual and audio signals through a single port, unlike the GameCube which has a separate Digital out for component and VGA signals.
The blue light: Everyone loves the blue light. Unfortunately, it doesn't stay on all the time, as Nintendo's dummy units and debug machines would have you believe. It comes on briefly when you turn the console on, and blinks on and off when your receive a message or update through WiiConnect 24
WiiConnect 24: The term used to describe Wii's always-on functionality. Even when in standby mode, the Wii remains partially on and contantly connected to the internet, receiving updates and game content even when you're not playing. Its power consumption in this mode has been compare to that of a small LED bulb.
The Wii Remote
The motion-sensitive Wii Remote is at the heart of the Wii's innovation. With the Wii Remote, developers are able to create games that are both more absorbing, engaging and interactive than ever before, and at the same time simplify games back to a level that allows even non-gamers to play - just like the old days.