Nintendo announced today on their website that they will be releasing a Black Wii Holiday Bundle on October 23. This bundle will come with New Super Mario Bros. Wii and a copy of the Super Mario Galaxy soundtrack, which has never been officially released in North America prior to this.
The Wii itself echoes the redesign slated for release in Europe, with the console’s sitting horizontally as opposed to vertically. The original vertical design for the Wii will still be on sale in white and black packaged with copies of Mario Kart Wii.
GameCube support has been removed from this design of the Wii, however. The new iteration of the console cannot play GameCube games, nor can consumers use GameCube controllers to play various Wii games that have support for them, such as Mario Kart Wii and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The console will still have all the other features of the original design, including built-in Wi-Fi.
Analysis: After the announcement of the redesign in Europe, it was almost inevitable that it would find itself released in the States. The design of the console very much echoes the Wii U, so this redesign is either functioning as a intermediary between the Wii and the Wii U, or Nintendo is just trying to cut costs.
The removal of GameCube support is evidence of that, though it doesn’t seem like a very good plan, at least to me. Half the benefit of the Wii—at least to me—is the ability to play GameCube and Wii games on the same console. Backwards compatibility has been one of Nintendo’s mainstays, going back to the Game Boy Color. For example, the allure of the GameBoy Advance wasn’t only the prospect of close-to-16-bit gaming on a portable console, but also how all the Game Boy games you had bought up to that point would still be playable on the same console. A similar allure was one of the selling points of the PlayStation 2 when it was released and of the original “backwards compatible” PlayStation 3.
Nintendo’s sure to alienate at least a small amount of their userbase with this removal. However, considering there hasn’t been a game that supports the GameCube controller released in the past year and the Virtual Console has been slowly dying down—not to mention the release of the Classic Controller Pro—it seems that there is little use for the accessories of the little cube that could.