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The Circle is Now Complete: Wii News Channel Released

posted on February 1st, 2007 by matt

After being MIA since launch, Nintendo finally released the News Channel for the Wii last Friday. Using the Associated Press as its information provider, the Wii News Channel lets you read regional, national and even international news stories, all at the click of your Wii-mote.

Nintendo, in all their wisdom, even included the Globe feature from the recently released Forecast Channel. If users want, they can rotate a realistic-looking 3D globe (complete with topographical data from NASA), looking for news stories from any region on Earth, as well as brush up on their geography. It still amazes me that the Sahara Desert is really that big. The damn thing covers almost half of the African continent.

Anyway, after using the News Channel for almost a week now, I’ve gone from not caring about any news to feverishly wanting to fire up the channel every night after work. It’s a great interface, making the act of handling a newspaper feel like you’re disabled or something. And they even decided to include one of the Wii’s greatest assets: the cat from the Photo Channel! That guy really is too adorable. I call him Chester.

The one thing that took me awhile to figure out was actually getting to the Globe feature. It’s not an option that is immediately accessible like the Forecast Channel’s. You have to go through the main headlines, and hopefully it is a story that they deemed worthy of being put on the Globe. If you do find one (which will have a “globe” icon near the story’s headline), the Globe will show up on the right as you read the story, and you then get to mess around with it. I’m not sure why they did this, as it makes it more of an added bonus than a direct function of the channel.

Also, some stories are incorrectly placed on the map. There was an article yesterday about the Syracuse Orangemen placed in Syracuse, Sicily when it should be Syracuse, New York. I even saw a Ghent, WV story placed in the Ghent region of France. Hopefully, this is merely incorrect input data and not something with the actual service. God only knows when Nintendo would release a firmware update for the thing.

Even with these little mishaps, the fact that you can read AP news on your game console, with the inclusion of Chester the Cat, easily makes the Wii News Channel a great addition to the Wii’s repertoire. With all the features finally up and running, the Wii is becoming a powerhouse of mundane tasks. We have Internet, weather, and now news. I guess all we need now is a Porn Channel.

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  1. jay said on February 1, 2007:

    I’ve been doing the same thing to get to the globe view, which is stupid. They need to map the function to a single button press, or if they already have, do a better job at making me read the instructions page.

  2. pat said on February 1, 2007:

    is the pic you used for this post from a real news story? im interested in this talking cow, and very  interested in knowing who would "flock" to iowa to see such a thing.


  3. Matt said on February 1, 2007:

    I think this was a mock-up that Nintendo first used to show off their news service when the channel system was first announced. I believe it first surfaced on wii.com many moons ago. I could be wrong, though. It’s been so long since I last saw it. I don’t think people made a fuss about it because talking cows are a natural occurrence in Iowa.

  4. matt said on February 1, 2007:

    Cool thing to test out: go on the Globe and zoom all the way out. Then look at the pile of stories on America. Damn thing gives the Earth a huge boner.

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