The Wii Mini is making its way to the United States. The slimmed-down version of Nintendo's console will be available through retailers nationwide for $99.99 starting on November 18th.
The Wii Mini debuted in Canada last December. The model spread to Europe last March. Despite what the name suggests, it isn't all that much smaller than the Wii. It's about an inch or so shorter but roughly the same height and width. The normal Wii models weren't exactly huge to begin with so there's only so much Nintendo can do to trim it down. The Wii Mini still looks markedly different than other models, though, thanks to a matte black chassis with red trim. It comes with a red Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuk as well.
"Wii Mini offers the same fun experience as Wii, which has been enjoyed by millions of people around the world," said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. "And it comes packaged with Mario Kart Wii, a multiplayer Mario racing game that is one of the best-selling Wii games. At such a great price, it is an extraordinary value for shoppers this holiday season."
Wii Minis can play all Wii games on the market but that's about all they can do. There's no Wi-Fi support or ethernet cable port so you're unable to seek opponents or allies online. The lack of Internet also means you can't download Virtual Console or WiiWare games. You're giving up a lot for that shiny case.
You're better off buying the original Wii, to be honest. GameStop offers refurbished versions for about $70. The older models will get harder and harder to find from here on out, though. Nintendo has discontinued their production in Europe and Japan and it's only a matter of time before they disappear from the United States as well. Soon the Wii Mini will be your only option - unless you want to splurge on a Wii U.
While Sony and Microsoft prepare to launch their new consoles, Nintendo's trying to position itself as the provider of affordable gaming. Their other new hardware this fall is the 2DS, a tablet-shaped handheld that can play 3DS games but doesn't have stereoscopic 3D capabilities. The 2DS launched alongside Pokemon X and Y last month.