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Indiana Daily Student

Wii Extra-game Features

If you managed to pick up a Nintendo Wii, chances are you've been playing through Zelda and bowling your ass off. But what else is there to do with your Wii? While Nintendo doesn't preach convergence to the extent of Bill Gates and Microsoft, the Wii does include some interesting features that help it transcend the role of traditional game consoles.\nThe Wii interface divides itself into several "channels"-- 48 of them to be exact. Out of the box, the vast majority of these are empty, but if you have a wireless Internet connection, new channels can be downloaded.\nThe shop channel allows users to browse downloadable content, the vast majority of which consists of "virtual console" titles, vintage games from previous consoles ranging from the TurboGrafx to the N64. \nThe Mii Channel allows users to create personalized avatars for use in certain Wii games. Although the choices are somewhat limited, the system is catchy and the personalized characters (known as Miis) definitely add some flavor to the games that support them. \nNintendo has also recently released news and weather channels. The functionality of each is slightly limited, but they both feature intuitive interfaces that prove fun to use.\nWhile there is a fairly useless photo channel for browsing pictures from an SD card, the Wii lacks any sort of CD or DVD playback capability.\nPerhaps the most interesting and useful of the channels is the Internet channel, which uses the Opera Web browser to grant access to the World Wide Web. Support for Flash paves the way for user-created games to make their way to the Wii, and if you've ever had the urge to watch people ghost ride the whip on the big screen, the Wii's your ticket, as it also works with YouTube. \nThe Wii can also send e-mail, though with no keyboard support and a four-line limit, this feature isn't that useful for now. Although the Wii has two USB slots, I can't really figure out any way to use them yet (however, I did successfully charge my iPod through one). \nWhile the extra features of the Wii have plenty of room for improvement -- and with potential of downloadable updates, improve they very well may -- the Internet channel and virtual console alone give Wii owners much to do without ever buying a Wii game disc.

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