Friday, May 30, 2008

Nintendo Channel

Wii owners will want to know that the Nintendo Channel just launched in Australia, and it's all kinds of awesome.

First up it's got streaming video of all the currently running Nintendo TV spots (Australian versions only in Australia, unfortunately), plus I can only assume that that feature can be used for other purposes like, say, Nintendo keynote addresses and suchlike. The connection's so good it makes you wonder why the Wii Shop Channel is so hideously slow.

Secondly you can download DS demos. Currently the Australian list is Mario Kart DS and the three "Training" games (Brain Training, Sight Training and Maths Training).

Thirdly you can offer feedback on any game you've played longer than an hour. The little mini-survey wants to know what gender enjoyed it most, the age of the person who enjoyed it most, how good you thought it was, and whether you think it's for gamers or non-gamers, casual or hardcore, and best enjoyed alone or with friends. They're exclusive propositions; left me a bit stumped for games like Excite Truck that are equally enjoyable but completely different whether played alone or with friends.

Finally you can view a list of all upcoming Wii and DS titles and see details such as a brief synopsis, how many players can play, and release dates. (Super Smash Bros Brawl is apparently finally appearing Down Under on 28 June, says Nintendo.)

It's pretty much the perfect implementation of a Nintendo information/advertising channel, and I'm fairly impressed. After the rubbishy Shop Channel and the sub-par internet browser I thought that Nintendo were just never going to master online content; apparently I stand corrected.

SIDE NOTE: Between this and Wiiware, you may notice your Wii memory getting a little strained. These little consoles have a pathetically tiny on-board memory, especially compared to the mighty XBox 360. It's unfortunate that some Wii games have ridiculously huge save files; in particular Super Smash Bros Brawl and Eledees. It's probably something to do with those games having level editors.

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