Third-party accessories for the Wii Remote

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Since the release of Nintendo's Wii, many aesthetic, ergonomic and functional accessories have been developed for the Wii Remote by third parties.[1]

Examples[edit]

Since the release of the Wii console, people have been exploring different new ways in which to use the Wii Remote. Many third-party applications are currently in development through Wii homebrew.[2] One popular Windows program called GlovePIE allows the Wii Remote to be used on a personal computer to emulate a keyboard, mouse or joystick. Connecting the Wii Remote to a personal computer is done via a Bluetooth connection. The Bluetooth program BlueSoleil has been proven to successfully connect a Wii Remote to a PC. Still another program (like GlovePIE) is needed to utilize the Wii Remote's protocol and to use the data it offers.

The Wii Remote Bluetooth protocol can be implemented on other devices including cell phones, which often have poor usability with games. Two students have demonstrated this concept by creating a driver software that has the capability to connect the Wii Remote to a Symbian OS smartphone. The idea behind this driver is that a mobile phone with a TV-out port can replace the game console.[3]

Programmer Johnny Lee has posted video demos and sample code at his website related to the use of the Wii Remote for finger tracking, low-cost multipoint interactive whiteboards, and head tracking for desktop VR displays. This was the subject for his presentation at the prestigious TED conference, where he demonstrated several such applications. The WiimoteProject forum has become the discussion, support and sharing site for Lee's Wii Remote projects and other newer developments.

The Wii Remote is also used in fields outside of standard computing. The United States government has experimented with using it to control Packbot, a bomb disposal robot.[4] Studies have also been conducted to use the Wii Remote as a practice method to fine-tune surgeons' hand motions.[5] Utilizing DarwiinRemote, researchers at the University of Memphis have adapted the Wii Remote for data collection in cognitive psychology experiments.[6] Autodesk have released a plugin that allows the Wii Remote to control orientation of 3D models in Autodesk Design Review.[7]

Controller alternatives[edit]

It was not until a few years after the Wii was released that third party companies such as Nyko and Mad Catz began making cheaper alternatives to the Wii Remote, sometimes in a variety of colors. Nyko's Wand controller is one such controller, with another version, Wand+, announced to include built-in MotionPlus functionality without the need for changing attachments.[8] There have also been several third party Nunchuk controllers, some of which have wireless functionality.

Glove kits and grips[edit]

Nunchuk with the Grip-It accessory attached

Although Nintendo has released its own free Wii Remote Jacket that is shipped by request to existing Wii Remote owners, third-party glove kits to provide a better grip and cushioning (when compared to an un-jacketed remote) have been available for the controller since its launch. These have been produced in several colors, some of which glow in the dark or change hue depending on the heat of the player's hand. There are various themes as well, including The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Pokémon Battle Revolution.

The Grip-It is a rubber overlay for the analog sticks of the Nunchuk and Classic Controller. These items increase the overall thumb grip on the analog sticks and give them added cushioning.[9]

Steering wheels[edit]

Prior to Nintendo's own Wii Wheel, several third-party steering wheel accessories had been introduced for the Wii Remote. One released by Ubisoft, the Wii Steering Wheel, was developed by Thrustmaster. It is bundled with certain games, such as Monster 4x4 World Circuit and GT Pro Series.[10] The accessory, which is only for aesthetic/ergonomic enhancement, is meant for driving-style gameplay in which the Wii Remote would be held lengthwise in a two-handed gamepad orientation, steering the subject by tilting the controller. The Wii Steering Wheel is also sold separately. Since the Wii Steering Wheel was revealed, other similarly designed steering wheel accessories have been produced, including the Wii Racing Wheel by Intec.[11]

Sword and shield attachments[edit]

Sword and shield attachment sets have been released by various manufacturers, including ASiD Tech and Camy International. The accessories are simply shells, and do not provide any other functional purpose. The ASiD kit comes with a sword, a shield, and knife with a design resembling a scimitar, all molded from monotone plastic (white or black). The Hero Pack by Camy International consists of a sword and a shield, with colored designs very similar to the Master Sword and Hylian Shield from The Legend of Zelda series. The blade of the Hero Pack sword is made of soft foam for safety.[12][13]

With both sets, the Wii Remote is cradled in the handle of the sword or knife so that the face buttons are accessible, with clearings for the B button and pointer lens. The Nunchuk is clipped into the handle of the shield. The configurations correspond to the sword and shield controls for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

GameStop carries the Wii Dual Glow Sabers made by dreamGEAR.[14] There are also Wii Light Swords accessories customized for Star Wars Series games and other sword-fighting game, made by many companies, such as Thrustmaster, Intec, CTA Digital, on Amazon.com.

Sports packages[edit]

The Wii Sports pack was released by GameStop in the United States and Logic3 in Europe. It includes a baseball bat, a golf club, and a tennis racket. It is very similar to the sword accessory and attaches to the Wii Remote to allow a more realistic experience with Wii Sports.

Soon after GameStop released their pack, PDP (formally Pelican Accessories) released a Wii Nerf Sports Pack. It is identical to GameStop's pack however all the attachments are made out of Nerf foam material.

The boxing gloves are a separate accessory to the Wii Sports pack. With those, the player can put the Wii Remote and Nunchuk inside each glove underneath where one slips in hands. The Nunchuk is assigned to the left glove while the Wii Remote is right. In this way one can punch like an actual boxer instead of jabbing the controllers away from oneself.

The Wii Cue is a snooker cue extension for the Wii Remote. It is bundled with the game WSC REAL 08: World Snooker Championship, due for release on the Wii in May in the United Kingdom. The Wii Cue is in effect a large stick that comes out in front of the Wii Remote. The player holds the remote in one hand and rests the cue between the thumb and forefinger to simulate a cue for snooker or pool.

The Wii Rod is a fishing rod attachment for the Wii Remote. The remote slips into a plastic jacket that has a rod on the end. It also features a reel that the Nunchuk fits into, allowing the player to reel in the fish with the Nunchuk. The Wii Rod will be bundled with the game Rapala's Fishing Frenzy with Rod.[15]

Chargers[edit]

Nyko Charging Station (a.k.a. Nyko Charging Cradle)

While Nintendo does not currently offer any rechargeable options for the Wii Remote, recharging systems have been developed by various third-party peripheral companies. Nintendo has not released a rechargeable battery kit in regions outside Japan, but the Wii Remote and WaveBird controllers both use special battery contacts that are compatible with previously-released Game Boy Advance accessories (AGB-003 and AGB-004, battery and charger respectively).

Several manufacturers offer direct-charging systems, many of which involve an integrated battery pack/compartment cover with electrical contacts that connect to a charging cradle. Other available features include silicone-covered battery packs for added grip, nunchuk cradles, and compatibility with WaveBird and Game Boy Advance.[16][17][18]

After Nintendo introduced the protective Wii Remote Jacket as standard-issue for Wii Remotes, peripheral companies later released contactless direct-charging systems which utilize inductive charging, allowing a Wii Remote to be charged with a Wii Remote Jacket on. On August 25, 2008, Sanyo released its first Contactless Charger Set for Wii Remote in Japan, which features Sanyo's "eneloop" low self-discharge NiMH battery technology, and is marketed under the eneloop brand.[19] The Contactless Charger Set for Wii Remote is made under official license from Nintendo.[20] On May 11, 2009, Performance Designed Products released the Energizer Induction Charge System in the United States, which is compatible with the Wii MotionPlus.[21]

To better facilitate charging for both Wii Remotes and Wii Remotes with Wii MotionPlus, some newer inductive charging systems feature alternative designs which use magnets to align the controllers. Devices include the Energizer Flat Panel Induction Charger[22] and the Nyko Charge Base IC,[23] both released in late 2009.

The Psyclone- and React-branded Wii 4-Dock Recharge Station was made the subject of a product recall in August 2009, due to fire risk.[24]

The Joytech "Wii Power Station" charging kit was made the subject of a product recall in March 2010, also due to fire risk.[25]

Mad Catz also released a Sonic The Hedgehog collectable Wiimote charger in late 2010.[26]

Arcade joysticks[edit]

With the announcement of Neo Geo games being available on the Wii Virtual Console service, third-party game peripheral manufacturer Hori revealed the "Fighting Stick Wii" controller. An expansion of the Wii Remote, the Fighting Stick Wii is an arcade style controller with compatibility with the non-analog functionality of the Classic Controller (the L and R buttons have no analog functionality, and analog sticks are not included). In addition, the action buttons have turbo button functionality (approximately 20 presses per second). The controller was released in Japan on August 30, 2007, for JP¥5,280.[27] The Fighting Stick Wii was released on November 6, 2007 in the United States.[28]

SNK Playmore have also released a Wii-compatible version of the Neo Geo Stick 2, which resembles the first party controller of the Neo Geo console. Like the Hori Fighting Stick Wii, it has similar non-analog Classic Controller functionality. It was released in Japan on April 10, 2008.[29]

Overline Gaming has released an arcade joystick attachment, named The Shaft.[30]

In conjunction with the US Release of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars. Mad Catz released a joystick known as the Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom Arcade Fightstick, which not only works with Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom, but with most Virtual Console and Wii games which use the classic controllers (one exception though is Heavy Barrel on Data East Arcade Classics due to the use of the classic controller's right thumbstick for aiming purposes).

Gun peripherals[edit]

Despite an official Wii Zapper expansion released by Nintendo, some gun peripherals have been shown by third parties. The first of these appeared in early April, when video game retailer GameStop listed a "Wii Blaster" peripheral on its website, with a release date of May 1, 2007. Originally listed without a specified manufacturer, the Wii Blaster had been speculated to be the Zapper,[31] but has since been indicated to be produced by third party accessories manufacturer Core Gamer. According to GameStop on May 5, 2007, the Wii Blaster release date was changed to June 26, 2007 and is available for purchase.[32]

Musical instrument controllers[edit]

A Guitar Hero controller for the Wii

The Wii version of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is bundled with a white Gibson Les Paul style guitar controller. It includes a slot for the Wii Remote to fit into, though the Wii Remote Jacket must be removed first, and utilizes the wireless capabilities, accelerometer, rumble feature and speaker of the Wii Remote.[33] It also features an analog stick that can be used to navigate the Wii Menu. Like the PS3 and Xbox 360 guitar controllers, the Wii Les Paul can be customized with detachable faceplates. The Les Paul also comes with the special edition of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith which includes an Aerosmith faceplate. The Gibson Les Paul controller is also available for purchase separately from the game.

At the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show, Nyko revealed a similar guitar controller for the Wii, a replica of a butterscotch blonde Fender Telecaster. This marks the first third-party guitar controller for the console.[34] Other third-party guitar controllers have also since become available. In lieu of using guitar controllers, the Wii version of PopStar Guitar uses a Wii Remote controller shell called the AirG that allows players to play air guitar-style in conjunction with the Nunchuk.[35]

In addition to a revised guitar controller, Guitar Hero World Tour, the sequel to Guitar Hero III features a wireless drum kit controller which also has a slot for the Wii Remote.[36]

The Wii version of Taiko no Tatsujin features its own drum controller called the TaTaCon (styled as a miniature taiko drum) that plugs into the Wii Remote.[37]

The Wii version of Samba de Amigo features additional maraca shaped attachments for the Wii Remote and Nunchuk.[38]

And in 2009, the DJ Turntable was released to accompany DJ Hero.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Captain (2006-11-17). "Futuretronics unveils Wii Remote shell range". Aussie-Nintendo.com. Retrieved 2007-02-24. 
  2. ^ Jamin Brophy-Warren, Magic Wand: How Hackers Make Use Of Their Wii-motes, Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2007
  3. ^ "mobiPad project". 
  4. ^ "Engineers adapt Wiimote technology to control bomb disposal robot". qj.net. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  5. ^ "Engineers adapt Wiimote technology to control bomb disposal robot". qj.net. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  6. ^ Nintendo Wii With A New Mission: Wiimote As An Interface Bridging Mind And Body
  7. ^ "Autodesk Labs Autodesk Labs Graduates". Labs.autodesk.com. 
  8. ^ Nyko's Wand+ Has Wii Motion Plus Built Right In
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ Casamassina, Matt (2006-09-08). "Interview: GT Pro Series". IGN. Retrieved 2007-02-24. 
  11. ^ Gamestop.com - Buy Wii Racing Wheel - Wii
  12. ^ Camy Hero Pack
  13. ^ Gerry Block (August 6, 2007). "Camy Pro Gear Hero Pack Wii Hands On". IGN. Retrieved November 12, 2009. 
  14. ^ [2][dead link]
  15. ^ Wii Rod
  16. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander (2007-01-09). "Nyko's Wii-chargeable Station". Joystiq. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  17. ^ Stern, Zack (2006-12-19). "Rechargeable Wii Remote Batteries and Dock in 2007". Joystiq. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  18. ^ "Wii Rechargeable Battery & Charger Stand". Brando Workshop. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  19. ^ "SANYO Releases 'Contactless Charger Set for Wii Remote Control' under Nintendo License". Sanyo. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  20. ^ "SANYO Releases New 'Contactless Charger Set for Wii Remote'". Sanyo. 2009-11-12. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  21. ^ "PDP Makes Recharging Wii Remotes Easy". Performance Designed Products. 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2008-08-18. The new Energizer Induction Charge System allows gamers to charge up to two Wii remotes without having to remove remote sleeves, Wii Motion Plus or lanyards. 
  22. ^ "Energizer and PDP Bring Induction Technology Into Play". Performance Designed Products. 2009-10-20. Retrieved 2009-11-25. Gamers simply lay their Wii remote down on the charge pad. […] Magnets secure the Wii remotes in the perfect position on the charger. 
  23. ^ "Nyko's New Charge Base IC Ships to Stores". Nyko Technologies. 2009-11-24. Retrieved 2009-11-25. The Charge Base IC utilizes powerful magnets to suspend each controller in the charging cradle, holding your controllers artfully in your entertainment center. 
  24. ^ "Wii Battery Recharge Stations Recalled by Griffin International Due to Burn and Fire Hazards". U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  25. ^ "Product Safety Recall: Joytech Power Station". Joytech. 2010-03-18. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  26. ^ McElroy, Griffin (2010-12-28). "Mad Catz releases Sonic-branded inductive Wiimote charger". Joystiq. 
  27. ^ "Hori Fighting Stick Wii". 2007-08-23. 
  28. ^ "Hori Fighting Stick Wii". 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2007-07-11. 
  29. ^ "Neo Geo Stick 2 coming to Wii, Hori Fighting Stick forgotten". 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  30. ^ "The Shaft - For Nintendo Wii". Wiishaft.com. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  31. ^ Nintendojo ~ Nintendo News, Previews, Reviews, Analysis and Interaction
  32. ^ Gamestop.com - Buy Wii Blaster - Wii
  33. ^ Harris, Craig (2007-08-29). "Guitar Hero III for Wii Hands-on". IGN. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  34. ^ "Nyko's Front Man Wireless Guitar for the Wii Available in Stores Now". IGN. 2008-03-20. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  35. ^ XS Games Reveals AirG Peripheral for PopStar Guitar
  36. ^ Casamassina, Matt (2008-06-20). "Bringing Guitar Hero World Tour to Wii". IGN. pp.  2. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  37. ^ TGS 08: Taiko Drum Master Wii hands-on
  38. ^ America, Sega Of. "Wii Maracas: Video Games". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-04-05.