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CNET First Look
The Wii Mini offers up bare-bones Nintendo experienceNintendo's latest Wii comes with Mario Kart and a controller, but it can't go online: why the newest Wii is more stripped-down than you might realize.
Hi, there. I'm Scott Stein with CNET. And this year is the Wii Mini, not the Wii U. If you're shopping this holiday season and you see a little box like this and it says, "It's a Me, Wii Mini", now you're gonna know what it entails because while it seems like a potentially great holiday buy, it's $100 and it comes with Mario Kart Wii, comes with a Wii remote plus, comes with a Nunchuk and the system. Well, you add that up, the Mario Kart, and the remote and the Nunchuk actually sell for nearly $90 now in a lot of sites I have looked at. So, maybe that means that this is basically free or $10-- so that make sound like a great deal but consider this, the Wii Mini doesn't go online. I'm gonna let that sink in for a moment. It doesn't go online. No, there's no Wi-Fi connectivity, no Ethernet here. Maybe that's a parent's dream. But I'll tell you two reasons that's a big problem. One, you can't go online and play with friends. Now, maybe the Wii wasn't a great online experience but Mari Kart certainly is, in fact, it's the best online playable racing game that's out there and you can't do that with the Wii Mini. The second thing, and this is a really disappointing one, is that there are lot of great online downloadable games on the Wii Shop. There are virtual console games, all your cool NAS, Super NAS, almost all retro $5-games that you wanna play. A lot of indie games. Guess what? You can't download and play them on this system. What you can play are all the Wii disc games. Now there are really good selection of Wii disc games out there. There are a lot that you may not even realize were there and you can get them for a song and used game shops and, you know, you get all the Mario games and the Zelda games and Wii Sports, sure. But consider the fact that there are Wiis that are still out there that cost about as much as this and there are bundles that are just a few dollars more that include the online connectivity and still have games. Plus, if you wanna think about the fact that you're-- there's a new Wii U that's out there that has better graphics and can play Wii games and use this the Wii remotes so it's a backwards compatible system yes that cost a lot more and the Wii U is not really a perfect console yet but it's a tempting proposition to maybe take that money and put it towards one of those that has video services like Amazon and NetFlix because, again-- also you can't use NetFlix with this. So that's the third thing. You can't use any video streaming services. That's a lot of stuff that you're not getting in the package, no a family that might consider this the lack of online plus will then have added. If you're Wii died in a fire and you've got a lot of games and you wanna find a way that get play all those games. You don't wanna spend a lot and you don't have Mario Kart. You want an extra controller, well then, okay. But I consider that online is a huge downside and there's one other thing, this connects with a built-in RCA cable. RCA, the technology I am not seeing in a long time and it produces video quality like this, really, really fuzzy not the ideal way to play game. So you have to buy one of those cables too, which takes away from the value proposition in the Wii Mini. Now Nintendo did budget right with the Nintendo 2DS that thing packs all the features of the 3DS and costless. The Wii Mini is the same size pretty much as the Wii and has fewer features. That's not the way I go with the budget-gaming console. I'm Scott Stein and that's a look at the disappointing Wii Mini.