Since the launch of the Nintendo Wii in late 2006, the level of interactivity with games had been taken to a whole new level. I mean, the Wiimote actually sensed your movements, for crying out loud. Wasn't it the most fascinating thing you'd ever seen? Back then, anyway. Initially the Wii by itself should have been enough to hook Nintendo's market this time- casual gamers. It wasn't enough, so Nintendo released a whole load of other accessories(some which were not really all that necessary) for the console to help it achieve its goal.
Revealed at Nintendo's E3 2007 presentation, this plastic gun-shell houses the Wiimote and Nunchuk comfortably in a shotgun-like-position. By this time there would already have been quite a few 3rd party gun-shells, but to be honest, Nintendo's offering feels much more ergonomical. That aside, it isn't completely necessary to play games, but it's just there to give you the feel of it. The Wii Zapper can be sold as a standalone, or packaged with Link's Crossbow Training, a target-shooting game based off Zelda: Twilight Princess. Precious few games have really made use of the Zapper.
Used in: Link's Crossbow Training, Resident Evil: The Umbrella/Darkside Chronicles
Future use: None planned
Together with the Wii Zapper, it was revealed at E3 2007, thereafter it was packaged with Mario Kart Wii. Technically speaking it's possible to play Mario Kart Wii without the wheel but it does give you a better grip on the B button while you're driving, and doing tricks and wheelies are much easier too. You can also use the Wii Wheel with most other driving games even if it's not needed, but, would you want to? Again, not much usage out of this.
Used in: Mario Kart Wii, Excitebots: Trick Racing
Future use: None planned
Wii Balance Board
Now here's an interesting one, and Nintendo's 2nd big way of appealing to new markets with new types of gameplay. Since the Wiimote and Nunchuk by themselves don't really work you out and make you fit, they made an accessory to do just that. Enter the Balance Board. You step on it and move your body around to play games. Bundled in together with Wii Fit, and Wii Fit Plus after that, it was a huge commercial success with Nintendo's target groups. It was finally an interesting method of doing yoga poses, workout routines, and minigames. Too bad there wasn't much substance in it for real gamers. Let's hope, shall we? Since the Balance Board is still receiving a steady amount of support, even for 3rd party developers, it's not Nintendo's worst one. But it is a battery-eating monster, requiring 4 AA's to function.
Used in: Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus, Rayman Raving Rabbids: TV Party, Tony Hawk's Ride, Family Ski/Snowboarding, etc.
Future use: Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll
Unveiled on the Wii's 'drought year', that was 2008. This is Nintendo's answer to online gaming voice chat. The first game that used the Wii Speak was Animal Crossing: City Folk, and came together with the game(limited edition) or without it. Also supported by quite a few games with online play, and still continues to be used today. It has a channel for voice chat all to itself, called the Wii Speak Channel.
Used in: Animal Crossing: City Folk, The Conduit, NBA 2K10, etc.
Future use: Endless Ocean 2: Adventure of the Deep
Wii Motion Plus
'What does MotionPlus do that the Wiimote doesn't already do?'
Motion Plus caused quite a stir and was pretty misunderstood when it was announced and showed at Nintendo's E3 2008 conference. It's a gyrosensor at the back of the Wiimote, so now the Wiimote can sense rotation from all angles, unlike the original setup. Why wasn't this done from the get-go? At the time of release, the technology was too expensive, and couldn't be done to a suitable size(in other words, if it was done when the Wii was released, we'd have Wiimotes the size of suitcases and as expensive as your mom's car...well, maybe not)(source-NGamer magazine). Anyway it allows for the 1:1 motion people thought the Wiimote could do on its own. Bundled together with Wii Sports Resort, it's slowly seeing some form of support, though it's still not much. 2010 could be a big year for Motion Plus, as Red Steel 2 and the new Legend of Zelda are considered to be its litmus test.
Used in: Wii Sports Resort, Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage, Grand Slam Tennis, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, etc.
Future use: Zelda Wii(working title), Red Steel 2
And that's all the accessories released up to now. What next for Nintendo? Oh, enough of these already, do you honestly think everyone could afford all of these? But here's one more for you to drool over!, says Nintendo.
Wii Vitality Sensor
According to Iwata, it allows for the detection of your heartbeat, stress levels and stuff. Quite how this will work out to play any sort of games is a mystery, and Iwata-san left us with very little details about the thing. Here's hoping it works out well.
Well, that's it for Nintendo Wii accessories. Be sure to check out our forum if you feel like saying something. Until next time!