Buying a Wii - any tips?

I did a search and there are tons of threads in the past 6 months that mention the Wii, but none on buying one. And I bet it is different now from there very start - or is it still hard to find one?
My main questions:

  • Am I correct in assuming that it is pretty plug n’ play for a decently-savvy person to set up out of the box?
  • Buying online: any reason I should prefer an online dealer/website vs. eBay? Obviously I am referring to a reputable eBay seller offering a still-sealed box, full warranty/service, etc…
  • Some sellers offer packages that include an additional nunchuck and wireless remote - is it really important to have two each of these?
  • Anything else I should consider? I have read about them running hot, but that seems manageable.


No more or less so than any console. Take it out, plug it into the TV and the power outlet, and turn it on. It’ll guide you through set-up questions.

I’d actually recommend picking one up in a store if you can. Availability seems to vary by region, but the best luck is if you check the Sunday morning ads and head over to the store that’s advertising the Wii with a sales tag before it opens. (If the console doesn’t have a sales tag on it in the ad, they’re just hawking the games.) I wouldn’t consider online shopping to be too reliable for the Wii even now, although things might have changed. Either all you’ll find are bundles with games you may not want or systems that are priced high, especially on eBay.

If you intend to play with another person at all, you need another remote, minimum. Most games that support two players can be played with just the remote. Some do require the nunchuk. If you’re planning on playing by yourself, obviously you have no need for a second controller at all.

This is a problem related to the first production run of Wiis; if you buy a new one now, you shouldn’t have any issues with it. Just keep it well-ventilated like you would with any computer box.

All great advice - thanks! Regarding buying online - I am not sure I follow your comment about reliability. If I find on at a website or on eBay from a reputable Power Seller, it’s there, right? What other reliability issues might I face?


In theory, yes. But if you hit a Target on a Sunday morning on which it was advertised, the unit is right in front of you no questions asked. Everyone I know who tried the Sunday morning strategy got one within a couple of weeks of looking.

I would also recommend you get a second remote - for some games (particularly “Wii Sports”), it makes a world of difference and is a lot more fun. I got a second one by buying the game “Wii Play”, which pretty much sucks, but the package for that game a remote was $40, while a new remote alone was $30. I suppose the game was $10 worth of fun.

I’ve had mine since May and have never run into any reliability issues whatsoever.

You forgot the sensor bar. You need to hook up the sensor bar and calibrate it also.

D’oh! My mistake. That’s easy, though, and Nintendo provides decent instruction.

WordMan, what I meant about online reliability is that from what I’ve seen, Wiis offered online come in two flavors:
Bundles – Retailers offer a Wii + 3 or 4 games of a certain theme, like sports, action, kid-friendly, etc., along with an extra remote+chuk and SD card. Not necessarily a bad deal, since the bundle price isn’t more than the cost of all those items, but only if you want all the games offered and are willing to pay $500 or so upfront.
Overpriced – If you go to eBay, you will most likely not be able to find a Wii for retail price. Just glancing at the listings, the cheapest one I see with shipping is $295, and that’s used. Everything else is $300-700. If you can get one at a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll pay the straight $250 retail price (okay, yeah, and sales tax, but that makes it $270, still a better deal).

It’s possible you may be able to find a Wii online at retail price with reasonable shipping, but the chances are slimmer than if you go to a brick-and-mortar store that’s advertising the Wii on a Sunday.

They are still tough to find in stores - at least they were as of May/June when we were looking. That’s regional though - I posted an SOS to a bunch of online friends and one of them found stacks of them at her nearby Wal-Mart the next day. She told me they did have limits on purchases - she was only allowed to buy one. Even with paying shipping, that was cheaper than going to an online seller.

Re ease of setting up: We spent maybe an hour. It was certainly made easier by the fact that Dweezil, who was eager for the thing, was out of town at camp that week so was unable to “help” :wink:

One thing they don’t tell you is that it uses the same TV input plugs as your DVD player, and there’s no way of routing one through the other, so you have to alternate. In theory you could plug in the desired device when you need it but that looked to be a pain in the neck. We spend maybe 20 bucks on a switch box - both the DVD and the Wii plug into that, then the kids press button A vs. button B depending on which machine they wish to use.

Again thanks for all the good advice.

**MZ **- can you provide a link to the type of switch box you got? Thanks!

Not sure about buying online vs. in store. Most of the ones I’ve sene online have actually been more expensive because of all the sold out stores.

Set-up is relatively easy (except for what Mama Zappa mentioned- switching between the Wii and the DVD player is annoying), under an hour. You don’t necessarily have to connect the Wii to the Internet, either, just to play with friends.

You should DEFINITELY get a second controller and nunchuck package, assuming it’s cheaper than buying them individually. Playing alone can get boring.

Oh, and Super Monkey Ball sucks six ways from Sunday.

WordMan if your TV has multiple inputs you won’t be needing a switch box. My DVD player and Wii coexist just fine without one.

Got it - I can check. But it will be good to have the switch box info in my back pocket…

Get one in lilac!!.

I found my Wii just yesterday, just happening to walk in a small store and asking if they had any. It was the last one in stock. I’d suggest you call around to some of the smaller stores and ask if they have any in stock.

I got one at my local Best Buy 2 weeks ago. Just called up and asked if they had any and they said “Yep.” So I drove over a couple hours later and picked it up. I asked and they said a truck with about 20 arrived that day - I was the first person to pick one up. It was a weekday, btw.

I would definitely recommend a second controller, assuming you are not a hermit. :slight_smile:

A two-port AV switcher can be had at Radio Shack for $5-$10. And as others have said, your TV may have enough ports that you don’t need it. The TV I bought last year came with 4 standard AV ports, two Component ports and an HDMI port. Everything plays nice with that setup without a switcher.

A Component cable is also available for the Wii if you want to get 480p visuals out of it, but that is obviously a separate purchase.

Here’s a link to the video switch we got. I didn’t get it from that company, I got it from my local Wal Mart. I could not find it on Wal Mart’s or Phillips’ web sites. The link I posted happened to be the first one that came up in Google for the Part Number (PH61148). It was just over $20 at Wally World. OK, you have to get up and go across the room and [gasp!] press a button to switch inputs. Not a problem for us.

I also took a permanent marker and wrote “DVD” and “Wii” next to the first two switches, so we’d know which switch was which.[sup]1[/sup] A more expensive switch might have come with labels or something. Did mention this one was $20?

[sup]1[/sup]That’s quite a tongue twister!

Don’t get the Pirates of the Caribbean game, it really sucks. Three generations of game players agree.

The “running hot” issue only occurs when you leave WiiConnect24 (the wireless internet option) on standby…the console connects to the internet every 3 minutes or so, even when off, and heats up rather quickly. This can burn out the graphics card. (Note that this has not yet been recognized as an official problem by Nintendo, but such damage is covered by the warranty.) Otherwise, it seems to run fine.

I can’t believe that Wii is still hard to find, but apparently it is. We stumbled on a pile of them at Costco last month. I picked one up for my mom to give to my nephews for Christmas. At the time we were debating whether it was silly to be buying Christmas presents so soon (That and it was a bundle: console, controller, one game), but I’m glad we did. Last week Costco didn’t have any and this week I stumbled on this article:
Wii shortage
So I guess if you’re looking to get one, start looking now.

[Off Topic]

I’m a little confused by the statement.

The TV side of the video cord is a standard Yellow/Red/White RCA connection. Pretty nearly any TV over 13" made this millenium is going to have at least two RCA inputs.

I don’t see why this would be Nintendo’s responsibility to inform you that they use a standard, widespread input method that is usually redundant with two or three of that input being on a TV.
[/O T]

I’d recommend buying from a brick and mortar store only because the vast majority of online sellers are (a) retailers who offer “bundles” that are going to run you $350-$500 (or more. Walmart routinely has a bundle that’s at least $525 because they include everything and the kitchen sink) and probably include stuff you really don’t need, or (b) schlubs on eBay who are going to jack up the price because there is still demand for the console. If you go into the store, you can buy just what you want, and do so at retail price.

Some of the biggest bundle ripoffs are the SD memory and “warranties” that are included to jack up the price. Nintendo’s warranty on the system is pretty comprehensive and customer friendly, so the store’s is redundant. And Wii works with any SD memory card (well, just about. Any major brand, in reasonable consumer friendly sizes) that you can get on one cutthroat sale or another for a quarter of the price of what the official Wii-branded one runs.