The Wii console's user interface is one of the most unique in the history of videogames, and for the most part, it works brilliantly.
Its original channel system presents an easy-to-access layout for a console with so many options and features. But hiding in the undergrowth are some rather annoying restrictions and design shortcomings that plague the various parts of the interface.
None are disastrous to the point where it makes using Wii any less fun or intuitive, but, given half a chance, we'd have Nintendo change them in a future update.
Slow Shop Channel
For a console that's supposed to be connected to the internet 24/7, we were greatly disappointed with how slow the navigation of the online Shop Channel is.
If the Wii is constantly connected to the internet, we wonder why it takes 30-or-so seconds to 'connect' to the Wii Shop channel. Surely this should be as instantaneous as getting into the Xbox Live Marketplace on the Xbox 360?
Then navigating through the different sections of the shop and browsing the games sees tedious three-second delays between each page. It's okay now but it'll be a nightmare when there're hundreds of games on the Virtual Console to browse through.
No list option for VC games
The channel system is great, but the way they handle downloaded Virtual Console games is not ideal. Each and every VC game you download is given its own channel thumbnail. Again, while there are only a few games available to download, it's not a big problem.
But we plan to download dozens and dozens of games in the near future. How will we keep track of them all? How easily locatable will they be? What happens when we fill all 48 channels with VC games - do we have to start backing them up?
We'd rather have one channel per console format. So a channel each for NES, SNES, N64, Megadrive and Turbografx, with corresponding games listed within each. Sort this out, Nintendo.
Photo Channel restrictions
You can put an SD card into your Wii and look at or edit them on your TV. Great. You can even send them to other Wii consoles.
The bad points are that you can't save your edited pictures on the SD card and put them onto your PC. And although you can send emails to a PC from your Wii, you can't send photos.
The pictures also seem to undergo some serious quality-downgrading compression before they reach your TV screen, but we guess that's to reduce read times from the SD card. Still, it's not a desirable trait.
Tight email restrictions
Just a small one - being able to send emails to any email account from your Wii is a nice bonus feature but messages are restricted to four lines.
Obviously, the lack of a real keyboard means typing messages on the Wii is much slower than normal (although faster than a control-pad-operated system) and you won't ever want to spend an hour writing 800-word emails, but it would be nice to have the option. Or at least a less-restrictive limit than just four lines.
Mii editing is too basic
We appreciate Nintendo's notion of simplicity with Wii, being a console designed to appeal to new gamers. But when it comes to the Mii Channel, this simplicity amounts to overly basic system that's hardly ever flexible enough to create the person you want to.
The main problem is the body profile settings. Even on the fattest setting, your Mii will boast nothing more than a slight bulk so it's impossible to make a fat person. Hair styles are not at all adaptive, there aren't enough facial feature options to make suitable look-alikes, there are only three types of facial hair, and absolutely no clothing options. The colour of your Mii's top changes with the favourite colour you select for them, but that's it.