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November 2012 Retro Gaming Article


November 4, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nintendo seems to have dropped the "Family Edition" labeling which indicates no GameCube compatibility

Nintendo Wii Family Edition labeling When Nintendo released the Wii Family Edition in October 2011, they scaled it back and reduced the price. Part of the lower cost involved the removal of GameCube compatibility. As the Wii was aging, certainly the GameCube titles had became outdated as well. Many console manufacturers release scaled back models to boost sales when a newer model is on the horizon. Makes sense. After 6 years on retail shelves there are probably fewer Wii-consumers who require GameCube compatibility.

Where I have a problem is with the packaging - more specifically the description. For a while the boxes were marked "Family Edition" with the inclusion of various titles depending on the promo. This was the main indicator that the unit would not play GameCube games. Lately (not sure of the exact date), the "Family Edition" labeling disappeared on Wii packaging. White models, as well as the black and the blue colored versions, lack GameCube support - yet it isn't stated.

Perhaps Nintendo feels that the original Wii has been out of the primary sales channel long enough, to assume that all new Wii hardware is the scaled-back version lacking GameCube compatibility. Unfortunately, most retailers I've talked to don't know what "Family Edition" means and they wrongly assure me that the Wii is still GameCube compatible. Those retailers familiar with the Family Edition variants still assure me that only models stating "Family Edition" are the scaled back models. Not true!

I've wanted to get another Wii as a backup and it's particularly important that it supports GameCube. I love the GC games and the birth of the Wii was a rebirth in my interest in GameCube. I know there are still original Wii consoles out there, but the nondescript Wii packaging combined with retailer confusion makes it challenging for consumers.

The best way to tell is the orientation of the text on the console itself. The original was usually vertically oriented as were the "Power", "Reset" and "Eject" labels. On the new Family Edition models, the orientation is horizontal, as is the text labeling each button on the face of the console.

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