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Wii

Praise for the Wii Menu

by Jonathan Metts - September 16, 2008, 9:08 pm PDT
Total comments: 25

Firstly, Nintendo wrote some very catchy, very enjoyable music for their system. I can get excited for new channels just because I want to hear the accompanying music. My favorite has to be the Shop Channel music, but Everybody Votes also sounds fantastic.

In terms of control, the Wii Menu shows other developers how to design good menus for the Wii Remote. Buttons are large, the pointer accurately responds to twisting, and the very subtle rumble effect lets you know when you've passed over a button. In all seriousness, a blind person could probably navigate these menus with minimal trial and error.

I also love all the weird little touches found in the channels. Most people know about the News Channel's cat and the delightful download progress indicator in the Shop Channel. If you've downloaded enough games, you might have seen Fire Mario collecting the coins. (You can press a button to throw fireballs!) Just today, I was shocked to witness a download animation that I've never seen before. Mario and Luigi both swam across the screen while the famous water world music from Super Mario Bros. played in the background. Maybe this scene was triggered by the unusual case of there being two Remotes connected when I downloaded the game? Regardless, I was pleasantly shocked to see something new on a channel that I've been using weekly for almost two years.

My point is that Nintendo deserves some credit for going above and beyond with the aesthetics of their system menus and utility channels. I think you can take Microsoft's upcoming redesign of the Xbox 360 dashboard as a nod to the success of Wii and its user-friendly interface. Now if only Nintendo would make the menus faster and more useful...

Talkback

shammackSeptember 17, 2008

They talked about that download animation in an old Iwata Asks interview.  I can't figure out where they hide those now, but as I recall, it doesn't happen based on any special conditions; it's just a really low probability.

I also like the way the Miis struggle when you pick them up.

ShyGuySeptember 17, 2008

Yeah, there are a lot of nice little touches in the menu system. My only gripe is the inconsistency of the UI. Each channel has a different theme, layout, and button placement.

If it isn't triggered by something special it must be an incredibly low probability, as my signature points out I've downloaded over 70 games, plus other channels and some games I've downloaded multiple times, and I've never seen it.

StogiSeptember 17, 2008

They need to take a page out of UncleBob's book and make a FC channel.

vuduSeptember 17, 2008

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Just today, I was shocked to witness a download animation that I've never seen before.

So what did you download?

shammackSeptember 17, 2008

Ah, I found the thing where they talked about the swimming animation.

Quote:

Mizuki: In developing the Wii Shop Channel, we focused on making everything as clear as possible, so we really weren't able to put a lot of playfulness into it. So the one area that we were able to really put in a whole lot of the fun factor was in the download screen, where Mario appears.

Haruhana: It seems like it's now widely known that Fire Mario will fire Fireballs when you press the A Button while he's on the screen...

Mizuki: But there's a VERY small chance that an animation will appear of Mario and Luigi swimming together. I think only a very small number of people knows about this. If I don't take this opportunity to talk about it, it just might get buried away, so there you have it! (laughs)

Haruhana: I'm thinking that there are people who have seen it, but I think they just looked at it without realizing how rare it is, thinking "ah...they're swimming"! (laughs) Maybe it was too rare...?

Quote from: vudu

So what did you download?

Mega Man 2

vuduSeptember 17, 2008

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Mega Man 2

Good man.  ;)

Also, that animation must have lasted like five seconds.  My fire Mario didn't even make it through two laps before my MM2 download was complete.

DAaaMan64September 17, 2008

Problems with the Wii Menu:

No Primary Mii on the frontpage tell you about your new messages.
More things need to happen in the background, there is to big of a disconnect between what happens in the channels and what happens in the menu. 
Rather than making it feel like I have to go seeking out common features like new movies and demos, they should be readily viewable within only a couple of moves and almost no waiting.

I'll just say it, MORE LIKE THE DASHBOARD.

NinGurl69 *hugglesSeptember 17, 2008

Get Windows Vista.

Caffeinated CheeseSeptember 17, 2008

I do like the Wii's interface, I prefer it to what I've seen of the 360, and anything else I've seen before that.

That said, a few changes could help.  Mentioned above is a friend code channel.  Imagine a channel you could use to send and receive all of the friend codes of common games you and other Wii owners have, after only sharing the console number?  Wouldn't that be something nice?  To be honest, I think a lot of us expected this feature, which was only partially satisfied with Mario Kart, sort of.

After that, I'd like to have a grid of channel pages, just to allow more.  a 3x3 section would be nice, I've filled mine with VC games, and I'd (naturally) like more space.  Alternatively, if there were channels based on consoles, that would work, as well.

A feature I enjoy is that channels can actively update what information they show when you're connected to the net.  Take a look at the channel for weather, or My Nintendo Channel, or whatever they may be called.  That's a nifty thing to have if I've known one.

Quote from: vudu

Also, that animation must have lasted like five seconds.  My fire Mario didn't even make it through two laps before my MM2 download was complete.

It lasted about a full minute, because my connection has been oddly slow the past few days.  The PURE demo on 360 is taking me a couple of hours to download, but then it's over a gig.  Still, it shouldn't take nearly that long.  I may call Comcast tomorrow if things don't improve.

DAaaMan64September 17, 2008

Quote from: NinGurl69

Get Windows Vista.

When I say in the background, I mean:

- I wanna know when my friends sign into their Wii's
- I wanna get demo's and such while doing other things
- I wanna chat/talk with my friends while doing other things.

This isn't difficult stuff and I think it would really help the Wii community out and really serve the purpose of the Mii's better.

PlugabugzSeptember 18, 2008

I doubt the Wii has enough capacity or processing power to handle a demo download while you're pushing me off Rainbow Road online.

KDR_11kSeptember 18, 2008

I doubt the Wii was designed for that either, MS and Sony AFAIK reserved a part of the system's CPU for OS tasks, Nintendo didn't and if they'd add them now the games that assume they have the CPU for themselves would lag.

StogiSeptember 18, 2008

Meh...

Those features are nice, but I can wait another 4 years for the SuperWii to hit the shelves.

Quote from: Plugabugz

I doubt the Wii has enough capacity or processing power to handle a demo download while you're pushing me off Rainbow Road online.

That's not possible on 360 either.  Your downloads are paused while you play an online game.

DAaaMan64September 18, 2008

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Quote from: Plugabugz

I doubt the Wii has enough capacity or processing power to handle a demo download while you're pushing me off Rainbow Road online.

That's not possible on 360 either.  Your downloads are paused while you play an online game.

Well I meant more when I'm just moving around the menu and talking to my friends online about the game I'm downloading.

But yes that would be optimum and I understand the Wii can't do it now.

I want the current time to be shown when you're in a game and hit the Home button.  I don't believe the time is shown when you do that.

DAaaMan64September 18, 2008

Yes that too. Pretty much every game should have had that on DS and GC too since it was built into the system. It also would have provided better incentive for people to actually keep the clock accurate.

Quote from: Silks

I want the current time to be shown when you're in a game and hit the Home button.  I don't believe the time is shown when you do that.

This has been discussed before and, while it would be nice, it's not possible because that menu is individually programmed into each game. New games could be made to do it and VC and WiiWare games could be updated, but without some kind of elaborate and wildly unnecessary disc replacement program older games are stuck the way they are.

Quote from: insanolord

This has been discussed before and, while it would be nice, it's not possible because that menu is individually programmed into each game. New games could be made to do it and VC and WiiWare games could be updated, but without some kind of elaborate and wildly unnecessary disc replacement program older games are stuck the way they are.

Really?  Wow, that's DUMB.  But the menu is the same for every game.  I can't believe they'd have something like that put in on a game-by-game basis.

DAaaMan64September 18, 2008

Quote from: Silks

Quote from: insanolord

This has been discussed before and, while it would be nice, it's not possible because that menu is individually programmed into each game. New games could be made to do it and VC and WiiWare games could be updated, but without some kind of elaborate and wildly unnecessary disc replacement program older games are stuck the way they are.

Really?  Wow, that's DUMB.  But the menu is the same for every game.  I can't believe they'd have something like that put in on a game-by-game basis.

Yes that is true. I guess NST support really has a hell of a time dealing with it too. Some games have to go back 3-4 times before they pass that test.  If I remember right, Umbrella Chronicles has a real f-ed up menu too.

PlugabugzSeptember 19, 2008

That would make sense, coz some games have a transparent image to the game "underneath" it while others just black it out entirely.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorSeptember 23, 2008

Swimming Mario & Luigi is rare?

I've only downloaded a few titles (enough to fill up my HD though)... and I've seen it twice... Wow.

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