Nintendo cautions gamers on Wii remote safety

A loosened grip or broke strap on the motion-sensing controller can send it flying into the TV or nearby computer.

Nintendo has some cautionary advice for players of its Wii video game console: when waving the controller, use the wrist strap, keep your palms dry and, whatever you do, don't let go.

The Wii has been pitched as a cheap alternative to pricier machines from Microsoft and Sony, but some gamers complain they are facing unexpected costs after and smashing their televisions and other appliances.

Wii games are played with a motion-sensing controller that is waved, swung and twisted to direct the on-screen action.

Although the controller comes with a wrist strap, reports of damage caused by snapping straps have been cropping up on video game Web sites.

Wii mishaps have been chronicled on CNET Networks' gadget blog Crave, and another site, Wiihaveaproblem.com, dedicated to chronicling tales of Wii-related carnage. On Wednesday, the site's damage toll included reports of 13 broken straps, 7 televisions and 2 laptop computers.

In an e-mail sent to Wii customers and posted on various Web sites on Wednesday, Nintendo said extreme motion could snap the strap by causing players to lose their grip on the remote.

Copies of the e-mail were posted on sites such as Joystiq.com, and a company spokesman confirmed it was authentic.

"Hold the remote securely and avoid excessive motion during game play. If your hands become moist, stop and dry your hands," the company recommended.

Nintendo also cautioned players to stay at least 3 feet away from the TV and to make sure people and objects were safely outside their range of motion.

Last week, Nintendo America chief Reggie Fils-Aime told Reuters that many gamers were using big, sweeping motions where smaller ones would do.

"We literally have consumers letting go of the remote like you do a bowling ball. You can't do that!" Fils-Aime said of a bowling game in its "Wii Sports" title.

Nintendo also gives tips on safe gameplay on its Web site.

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