Now we come to what is the most important element of Wii: the Wii Remote. When it was first unveiled in 2005 reactions varied from shock, astonishment and denial and have since progressed to curiosity, acceptance and eventually to expectation. The idea will never please everyone but the remote does everything Nintendo promised it could do with great aplomb.
On first picking up the remote it feels perfectly natural, with your thumb and index finger hovering over the A button and B trigger located on the top and underside respectively. With batteries inserted the weight feels just right, providing perfect balance for careful manipulation and tilting. Much like the console as a whole the remote exudes superb build quality too, with satisfying button mechanisms and even high quality battery springs. Small details count for a lot, and these small details inspire confidence from the outset.
Going from the top to the bottom of the face side the remote features: a power button, D-pad, a large A button, minus, plus and home buttons, a speaker, 1 and 2 buttons and finally four lights that indicate which controller you are using. Meanwhile, the B trigger is nestled on the underside below and is nicely shaped to hold your index finger. When held horizontally this layout also doubles as a replica of the NES controller, making it perfect for playing Virtual Console games from that platform.
Moreover, one of the great strengths of the remote is how it can be held in a variety of different ways. Wii Sports itself demonstrates this superbly, and the eagerly anticipated WarioWare Smooth Moves takes this concept to an entirely new level. For racing games the remote can also be held horizontally; titling left and right to steer.
As with any new control system, it does take a short amount of time to get used to using the remote. This period of adjustment is, however, exceedingly short and just navigating the various menus and channels will help substantially. Intuitive is an oft used word in reference to the remote and it’s well justified – it just works and feels completely natural . Moreover, the level of sensitivity and accuracy of the pointing mechanism is a pleasant surprise. Very occasionally it does become jittery, though this is generally caused by pointing too far above or below the level of the Sensor Bar. Happily, this isn’t a problem in the horizontal plane and, though it isn’t the optimal position, it’s possible to use the pointing mechanism at a 45 degree angle from the TV.