Nintendo Unveils the Wii Mini

With the recent release of the Wii U, Nintendo got that always valuable head start in the next generation of console wars. While the jury is still out on the device from a critical standpoint, the sales figures are already showing that their strategy of releasing a fresh new system for the holiday madness is paying off in a big way, as people are begging, fighting, and in some cases employing good old fashioned bartering to get one.

Surprisingly though, it turns out that the Wii U isn’t Nintendo’s only console release this year. While rumored in small circles for months, they’ve recently, officially unveiled a redesigned, reduced size, and reduced price version of the Nintendo Wii in the Wii Mini.

Priced at a very handy $99, the Wii Mini isn’t exactly the Nintendo Wii you know and love, and that’s not just a comment on the incredibly attractive new design. While you do get an included Wii Remote Plus controller, this is otherwise a pretty bare bones model of the classic console as Nintendo has taken away the Wi-Fi capabilities (though it still may support online play through add-ons via the USB ports) as well as the backwards compatibility feature with the Gamecube (this includes removing the memory card slots and Gamecube controller ports), essentially reducing the system to its barest essentials.

Is this a good buy then? That’s difficult to say, as ideally this is for gamers on a budget, or those that prefer their 360 or PS3 and want the cheapest way to add the famed Nintendo system to their collection. However, considering how easy it is to find an actual Wii system at a reasonable price (in some cases with game bundles) it’s hard to support such a watered down version of a once proud console.

However, if you haven’t had the chance to play such classics as “Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword”, “Super Mario Galaxy 2”, or “Mario Kart Wii”, and refuse to spend any more than that spare Benjamin you’ve got laying around, consider this the golden opportunity to get in on the Wii craze way, way, too late.

Toys R Us Ad Shows $199.99 Wii

Toys R Us Wii ad.>Following months of speculation about price cuts for the other two consoles, it looks like Nintendo will follow suit. This pic from a Toys R Us ad shows the Wii at $199.99, a very attractive price point. Kotaku also reportedly got a look at a Walmart ad showing the same price.

This kind of deal could easily put the Wii back to the top of the sales charts. That puts the bundle, which actually includes Wii Sports, $100 cheaper than the PS3, which jumped to the top of the charts after Sony lowered its price to $299 and released a slim version.

With all of the price cuts coming so far ahead of the holiday season, it makes me wonder what sort of bundles we’ll see later this year. I’d like to think we’ll get some sort of surprise announcement about Natal, but that seems incredibly unlikely.

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