Farewell to the Wii: The Channels
A unique user interface that stood the test of time and provided some fresh ideas about content on a game console.
Now that we’re just waiting around for our Wii U pre-orders to be fulfilled, we’ve started thinking back on our Wii experience. There were great games and there were stupid, gimmicky games. There was the much maligned 480p output and the long wait for external storage. There were also the channels.
The Wii’s user interface is the only one of the current gen consoles that didn’t get a significant overhaul during its lifespan. Pretty amazing when you realize we’re now on the New New Xbox Experience. The original idea Nintendo installed in the factory on launch day still stands strong, and for good reason – it works great. In fact, the same basic layout is now in the 3DS.
To fill out the Wii interface’s grid of small TV screens, Nintendo sent forth non-game apps (before everyone was calling them apps) called channels. Downloaded games and non-game apps each take up a channel slot. The channels range from useful to fun with a few cobbled together oddities like game repair tools. As our Wiis get closer and closer to their Gamestop trade-ins, let’s look back at the Wii’s channels and see how they’re doing in their waning days.