What is Wii?

At the most basic level Wii (pronounced "we") is just Nintendo's gaming system. But that simple description doesn't do justice to what is one of the most innovative entertainment inventions of the past several years.

It isn't just that each part of the system is superb, though it is. It is that the Wii rises above that level and becomes more than the sum of its parts. It creates an outstanding gaming Experience, with a definite capital 'E'.

The console itself is small, lightweight, and durable. That might not seem so important for a game box that is intended to sit in the corner and be forgotten. But given how gamers actually use their systems, it's a big help. It means the Wii is portable and will stand up to the inevitable abuse that comes from moving it around. Sometimes unintentionally, when someone playing Wii Sports gets a little carried away.

One of the many innovative features gets all the good press it deserves: the Wii Remote or, Wiimote as it's known to many. It's completely unlike a classic gaming control, the type with a joystick and festooned with buttons.

Instead, Wii offers a hand-held 'TV/DVD Remote Control'-style device. Here, however, no remote control device ever offered this kind of functionality. Incorporating highly sophisticated motion control sensors, players become part of the game itself, handling a tennis racket, swinging a sword, and more. It's as close to virtual reality without a helmet as any gaming system has come yet.

For those who still want that traditional-style control, Nintendo sells a Classic Controller that, even in this more usual form, offers incredible control over many games and the gaming experience. Gamers will not find themselves wishing for much that isn't already onboard.

The Wii hardware system is sharp and innovative, certainly. But Nintendo didn't create great gear and then sit back in the chair to admire it. They put together a team of some of the best designers in the business to provide thousands of games for every conceivable interest.

Nintendo wasn't just being generous. Their stated goal is to reach beyond the standard group of gaming geeks to get everyone interested. They succeeded with puzzle games, strategy games, adventures, and more. They've even marketed something called Wii Fit, which allows someone to use the system to lose weight and get in shape. That's not the usual goal of the stereotype gamer who is seen (inaccurately) as cousin to the couch potato.

Providing local and Internet multi-player hardware and software features, Wii isn't just for those who want to shut out the real world and live in a fantasy one, either. Equally oriented toward families, social networking friends, and more, Wii can offer something for everyone.

If you've never checked out a gaming system before, or if you thought you knew what they were all about, prepare to be pleasantly surprised when you embrace the wonderful world of Wii. That, in the end, is Wii.

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