The Wii (also known unofficially as Nintendo Wii) is a seventh generation video game console created by Nintendo, and a successor to Nintendo's previous console, the Nintendo GameCube. It is Nintendo's fifth major home console. It competed with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 during its lifetime.

The console was initially released on November 19, 2006 in North America, and was released shortly thereafter in other countries, and eventually became the leading console in the US, Europe, and Japan. In January 2008, the Wii outsold the GameCube's 21.74 million units. With over 101 million units shipped worldwide as of June 2013, it is Nintendo's second best-selling home console behind the Nintendo Switch, and the fourth best-selling home console of all time.

The console comes packaged with a Wii Remote and Nunchuk, the most prominent being the former. The Wii Remote is capable of detecting movement in three dimensions, and can be held with one hand. The Nunchuk can be connected to the Wii Remote via a long cord, allowing for more control. Motions made with the Nunchuk can also be registered through the Wii Remote.

Building off the basis of the Nintendo DS, Nintendo used what they refer to as the "blue ocean" strategy. It is a move to target not only the general gaming public, but also those who have never played games, or those who play very rarely. It has been designed with simplicity and familiarity in mind, which explains the Wii Remote and the Wii Channels.

The system is actually incredibly compact, lending itself to extreme portability. It is approximately the size of three Wii cases stacked on top of one another. It comes with a stand as well, so it can sit upright when in the vertical position. To insert a game, there is a large slot on the front of the system surrounded by a glowing blue neon light. The slot can accept the 8 cm discs used by the GameCube and Wii games on standard 12 cm discs. The system also comes with a sensor bar that emits IR signals picked up by the Wii Remote.

The Wii is the first console by Nintendo that has the ability to update its system software. With Wii Sports, it is also the first console since the SNES (Super Mario World) to be bundled with a game at launch. People in Japan, however, had to purchase the game separately.

Later on, cheaper revisions of the console were produced called the Wii Family Edition in 2011 and Wii Mini in 2012. Both lack GameCube backwards compatibility (with the Mini removing even more features such as Wi-Fi support, SD Card slot, and having only one USB port instead of two), but can still play Wii games, except those that use the GameCube controller. The original Wii and Wii Family Edition were discontinued on October 21, 2013, while the Wii Mini remained in production until November 13, 2017, though online services for the system continued for several years after. With the closure of the Wii Shop Channel on January 30, 2019, all of Nintendo's online services for the platform were shut down. Shakedown: Hawaii was the last game to be released for the system on July 9, 2020, making it Nintendo's longest-running console to still have games being released for it.

The Wii was succeeded by the Wii U in November 2012, which fully supports all Wii games and accessories.



Development of the Wii began right after the GameCube was launched. When developing the Wii, the creators asked themselves what kind of an impact flashier graphics and faster speed would make.


Nintendo revealed the final name of the console right before that year's E3. Prior to this, the console was simply known as the Nintendo Revolution. Nintendo stated in the beginning that the name was simply Wii, rather than the Nintendo Wii. The prefix "RVL" is used on the Wii and its peripherals.

The plural form of Wii is, according to Nintendo, not "Wiis" as some tend to believe, but rather should be "Wii consoles" or "systems". The two lowercased "i"'s in the name are supposed to represent two players enjoying the game together, or the Wii's unique controller.

Following the game's announcement, both developers and fans alike expressed their dislike towards the name, with both groups explaining how they felt the name displayed a sort of "kidiness" to it, and how they preferred the Revolution. Reggie Fils-Aime explained that the name Revolution was long and was hard to pronounce in some languages, while Wii would be pronounced the same in every country. However, he did acknowledge the negativity the new name aroused, by a line in an E3 press conference; "First up, the name. We want to thank every one of you who said good things about it day one. Both of you."


Original Wii (RVL-001)[]

The original Wii. Released in November 2006.

Wii Family Edition (RVL-101)[]


A blue Wii Family Edition.

Main article: Wii Family Edition

A revision of the Wii released at the end of the Wii's lifecycle (also called the RVL-101) was announced on August 17, 2011. This model is designed to only sit horizontally (with the buttons changed accordingly) and is incompatible with GameCube games and its accessories. This model was released in North America on October 23, 2011, in Europe on November 4, 2011, and in Australia on November 11, 2011. The Wii Family Edition includes a black console, the game New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and the Super Mario Galaxy: Original Soundtrack.

Wii Mini (RVL-201)[]

Wii Mini

A red Wii Mini.

Main article: Wii Mini

Another late-cycle revision of the Wii (also called the RVL-201) was announced on November 27, 2012. As its name suggests, it is the smallest model of the Wii. Like the Family Edition, it does not support GameCube games and its accessories. It also does not have online features and several built-in channels, such as the Photo Channel and the Weather Channel, similar to the Wii Mode on the Wii U. It also can only sit horizontally. The main feature is its notable redesign. Unlike the original previous models which are mostly white, the Wii Mini is black with a red framing. All the buttons are located on the top of the console and it lacks online support for Wii games. Additionally, the Wii Mini has a manually operated top-loading disc drive (similar to that of the GameCube) instead of the slots that the former models have. The console launched in Canada on December 7, 2012 for $99.99.[7] It was then released in Europe on March 15, 2013 at a cost of at least $79.99[8]. It was launched in UK on March 22, 2013 for $99.99.[9] It was finally launched in North America on November 17, 2013, bundled with a red Wii Remote Plus, a red Nunchuk for $99.99,[10] and Mario Kart Wii. The Wii Mini is the third home Nintendo console since the SNES and NES to receive a redesign right after its respective successors launched though the NES 101 model launched 2 years after the SNES launched. The N64 received no redesigns of any kind and the GameCube had a small revision which lacked the unused Serial Port 2 (though the cover still remains) and the unpopular Digital AV Out port.


Main article: List of Wii games

The Nintendo Wii was released with three launch titles; Wii Sports, Exite Truck, and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Other games conceptualized or released around the system's launch were Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and Sonic and the Secret Rings. As of March 31, 2014, there have been 895.22 million units of software sold.

Accessory Symbols[]

Unlike the other consoles, Wii games notably included symbols on the back of their box art that showed their functionality with accessories.

1 Remote 2 Remotes 4 Remotes Wii Speak Wii Wheel
Remote1 Remote2 Remote4 Speaklogo Wheellogo
Wii Zapper Nintendo DS Wii Balance Board Classic Controller Nunchuk
Zapperlogo DSWii Boardlogo Classiclogo Nunchuklogo
GameCube Controller


When compared to Nintendo's other consoles, the Wii is the smallest of them all (measurements: 44 mm (1.73 in) wide, 157 mm (6.18 in) tall), and certainly the smallest of the three seventh generation consoles (and lightest at 2.7 Ibs, 1.2 kg). It is even smaller than the Xbox 360/PS3 Slim. Similar to the two other consoles, the Wii can be placed on its side or vertically. Unlike the other two consoles, if placed vertically, then Nintendo suggests you use the gray colored stand that comes packaged with the Wii.

The disc loading drive on the front of the console has a neon blue light surrounding it, which is turned on to indicate that WiiConnect24 is in use or when a disc is either inserted or ejected (only if you've updated your firmware to version 3.0). It was thought early on that the light would remain on at all times, though this proved to be false upon the release of the console.

The drive itself will take discs made specifically for it and, through backward compatibility, GameCube discs. Next to the drive is an SD card slot which is covered. Above it are the power and reset buttons, while at the bottom (next to the Wii logo) is the eject button, which will cause the game within (if there is a game within) to be ejected from the console. During gameplay you should not eject the disc, though on the Wii Menu you are free to do so.

The Wii sensor bar, which comes included with the console, must be placed above or below the television you're playing on. If you change the placement of the sensor bar, it is required that you record where the sensor bar is placed for maximum performance.

The AV cable and power adapter also come included with the console.

Wii Remote[]

Wii nunstyle1

Wii Remote with a Nunchuk.

Main article: Wii Remote

The controller is truly what makes the system shine. Using integrated apparatuses (such as accelerometers and gyroscopes), the Wii Remote is able to sense movement in 3-D space. Using this, the Wii can simulate things such as having a sword fight, playing almost any sports game, solving puzzles, and much more. It closely resembles a television remote, designed this way on purpose in order to make it easy to relate to the familiarity of the TV remote. Its emphasis on motion sensing capabilities also help to make games less difficult and more natural, as to appeal to all groups of people.

It also has various attachments which are plugged into the expansion port at the bottom of the controller. One such attachment, referred to as the Nunchuk, adds two more buttons, an analog stick, and has its own built in accelerometer. The expansion port can also allow other attachments such as the Classic Controller.

The controller was formerly referred to as the Revmote by the gaming community. As the real name of the console was revealed, nowadays the controller is known as the "Wiimote", though the correct name according to Nintendo is simply "Wii Remote".

All the new Wii remotes come with a built in Wii MotionPlus. Games such as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword need the accessory to be played. The Motion Plus was first introduced and is bundled with Wii Sports Resort.


Wii Menu and Channels[]


The Wii Menu back in 2007

Wii screenshot 2

A Wii Menu in widescreen mode

Wii Nintendo GameCube Disc Channel

Nintendo GameCube logo in the disc channel

The Wii Menu is automatically launched when the player turns the Wii console on. The player will notice rectangles on the screen, each one containing a different application. The placement of the applications (channels) can be altered by pressing the A and B button at the same time while holding a cursor over one, then swapping it with another.

You cannot change the placement of the Disc Channel without modifications. There are various different games that the player can download through the Wii Shop Channel, though several are already pre-loaded such as the Disc Channel, and the Mii Channel. Some channels can only be obtained by purchasing retail games such as Wii Fit or accessories such as Wii Speak, while other channels are available exclusively to certain countries.

Through the Nintendo Channel, players can watch trailers of Nintendo and third party video games, download Nintendo DS demos, give surveys for games they've purchased, and watch developer videos for recently released titles. The videos that are available are different for each country.

On the Message Board, which isn't technically a channel, players can post messages, send messages, receive messages from others, receive messages from Nintendo or receive messages from a video game they're playing. For example, Nintendo may send you a message regarding a firmware update, or Bonsai Barber for WiiWare may send you a message, telling you that you've missed a scheduled appointment with one of the in game characters. The Message Board also records the player's playing history (except for GameCube games).

On June 27, 2013, the Forecast Channel, News Channel, Everybody Votes Channel, Nintendo Channel, and Check Mii Out Channel services were all discontinued, due to the discontinuation of WiiConnect24. These can be used today with a Homebrew mod called RiiConnect24.

Virtual Console[]


Classic Controller.

A built in feature of the Wii is the Wii Virtual Console. Games are available to be downloaded (for a price) from previous systems including the TurboGrafx-16, Sega Genesis, NES, SNES, and N64. The Wii Remote is designed so, when turned sideways, closely resembles an NES controller, most likely designed with the NES in mind. Most Virtual Console games cost between 500 and 1000 Wii Points ($5 to US$10). The Classic Controller, a controller similar to the SNES controller, has been designed to cover all the Virtual Console systems. The Classic Controller Pro has a sleeker design, and is similar to the DualShock 2 (the PS2 controller).


Main article: WiiWare

WiiWare is a service similar to the Virtual Console that allows users to download games made specifically for it, whereas the Virtual Console features previously made video games. WiiWare games, unlike Virtual Console titles, usually make use of the Wii's unique features and have more impressive graphics, though they usually take up more space. Both WiiWare and Virtual Console games can be placed on SD Cards and can be played from them (they must be temporarily copied to the Wii before playing them). This service was discontinued on March 31, 2017.

Backwards Compatibility[]

When it was launched, the Wii was fully compatible with every GameCube game, controller, and accessory (such as the Microphone and the DK Bongos), the only exception being the Game Boy Player accessory. It is possible to play any game from the GameCube library without issue, avoiding the compatibility issues that the competing Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 had. The GameCube discs are able to be placed into the Wii's disc slot and auto-adjust to the size of the GameCube disc. The Wii includes four controller ports and two memory slots to maintain complete compatibility with the GameCube. This feature makes the Wii the first Nintendo home console to have backwards compatibility with a previous console. However, the Wii Family Edition and Wii Mini, released in 2011 and 2012, respectively, removed backwards compatibility entirely as a cost-cutting measure.

Model No.[]



  • Wii Jacket
  • Operation Manual
  • Wii Remote
  • Wii Wheel (if bundled with Mario Kart)
  • Sensor Bar
  • Instruction Booklet (if bundled with games)
  • Nunchuk
  • Classic Controller (sold separately)
  • Wii MotionPlus+ (may be sold separately)
  • Wii Power Supply
  • Wii Console stand

Top Ten Best-Selling Wii Games[]

  1. Wii Sports (2006) - 82.83m
  2. Mario Kart Wii (2008) - 37.02m
  3. Wii Sports Resort (2009) - 33.06m
  4. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009) - 30.11m
  5. Wii Play (2007) - 28.02m
  6. Wii Fit (2007) - 22.67m
  7. Wii Fit Plus (2009) - 21.13m
  8. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008) - 13.25m
  9. Super Mario Galaxy (2007) - 12.76m
  10. Wii Party (2010) - 9.29 million

Prototype Differences[]


  • The disc drive is thinner
  • Disc drive light always on
  • No sensor bar port
  • The Reset button is below the SD card slot
  • POWER button label is a I/O
  • RESET button label is on the button itself
  • No "POWER" or "EJECT" text
  • Power light is below the POWER button
  • The Wii text is replaced by "REVOLUTIoN", but sometimes the Nintendo logo

Wii Remote[]

  • Power button is rectangular
  • - and + are Select and Start
  • Home button is a blue dot
  • No speaker
  • B button looks like a regular button
  • 1 and 2 are A and B, but in a commercial X and Y are shown instead
  • Player indicators are numbers
  • Wii text is the Nintendo logo
  • No Nintendo logo in the battery cover
  • Nunchuk port is thinner
  • No wrist strap port


3956 fw nextgen-revolution full colors

Five Wii consoles in white, red, black, and light green.

  • It was the first Nintendo home console system that did not launch with a Mario game.
  • This is the first Nintendo console to be released in North America before Japan.
  • The Wii's hardware is capable of DVD playback, but it was likely not supported due to licensing fees.

    Scrapped DVD menu.

  • It was the first Nintendo home console that was first released in a country outside of Japan.
  • Before the console's launch, leaked images had shown the Wii in a variety of different colours which were black, red, grey, and light green. The black and red colours were only released in the later years, whilst the latter two have never materialized.

References in other media[]

  • The Wii Remote made a cameo in the first episode of the "Nickelodeon" and "Netflix" animated series, Glitch Techs.
  • There is a Wii in The Simpsons Called “Zii” for copyright reasons.
  • In Series 7, Episode 4 of Doctor Who, The Doctor is seen playing tennis in Wii Sports Resort with the tennis racket extension.
    Black Wii with Wii Remote

    The black version of the Wii, along with a black Wii Remote.

  • In Despicable Me, the main villain, Vector Perkins, is seen playing on a Wii with a Wii MotionPlus remote in hand.
  • In Boj, Gavin's house included the console on a stand, along with the first generations of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

See also[]


External links[]