Originally given the code name Nintendo “Revolution,” the Wii has changed the way we look at video games. No longer is gaming a passive activity, but an interactive pastime that includes friends and family.

Since it’s release in the winter of 2006, the Wii console has been almost impossible to obtain. Yet, Nintendo has still managed to sell more than 20 million units worldwide. Some have been just plain lucky to get their hands on the allusive system, but most needed to know someone that worked at a retail store, or have an inside track on shipment dates in order to buy a Wii. For more than a year the Wii’s popularity remained strong and for Christmas 2007 stores across the country were holding Wii lotteries, only distributing a handful at a time.

Placed in direct competition with the PS3 and Xbox 360, the Wii is considered part of the seventh generation of gaming consoles. However, Wii differs from the other consoles not only in design and concept, but also in performance and capabilities. The PS3 and Xbox 360 were designed to be all inclusive powerhouse consoles that closely resembled full media centers, with online communities, high-definition DVD players and high-definition picture output. Which also resulted in powerhouse prices, ranging from $275 to $499 respectively.

Wii took a simpler and perhaps cheaper approach. The Wii console does not play CDs or DVDs, it doesn’t have high-definition outputs and its online gaming is lack luster at best.   However, at $249, the Wii is also the most affordable console on the market. Wii’s  wireless motion sensor controllers, minimalist design, virtual console and backward compatibility with GameCube discs make it a great system for people of all ages.

The Wii is designed with a broad audience in mind. The most popular and best selling game is the Wii Sports, packaged with the Wii console in the United States. The game includes simple sporting events like bowling, tennis, baseball and boxing. What makes the game unique is that it utilizes the wireless controllers and instead of sitting on the couch playing sports, the players is almost forced to stand up and actually move. Wii has parents and grandparents playing video games with the children.

Because of its interactive design and wide appeal the Wii is getting praises from parents around the world. For once, a game is forcing children to move while they play and Nintendo is taking the ball and running with it. For the first time people were breaking a sweat, mostly from boxing, while playing video games.

In the future, Nintendo plans to capitalize on the fitness phenomena with Wii Fit. A motion sensitive board designed to get your whole body in motion. Activities include Yoga poses, step aerobics, push ups, hula hoop and more.

The Wii managed to take the passive activity of video gaming and turn it into an interactive juggernaut, and changed the way many of us play games.

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