Nintendo Wii ROMs (ISOs)

Console History: Nintendo Wii

When the Nintendo Wii was first announced in 2006, gamers greeted it with a great deal of skepticism, mostly based on the unusual name. In the months that followed, however, skepticism quickly morphed into hot anticipation as the Wii's revolutionary features were gradually announced: motion controls, internet connectivity beyond anything yet seen in a console, backwards compatibility with the Gamecube, and the ability to download titles from older Nintendo consoles and handhelds through the Virtual Console.

In the end, the name didn't matter at all. It certainly didn't hurt the launch, which would be Nintendo's most successful until the Switch debuted over a decade later. Nintendo's early marketing campaign for the console was highly effective, enticing many casual and first-time gamers with the innovative Wii Remote.

There is some debate among gamers as to how successful the Wii was in a historical context, however. While it certainly had one of the hottest starts of any console, Nintendo largely failed to capture the long-term attention of those newer and more casual gamers who jumped on the initial bandwagon. As the newness wore off, and as the PS3 and Xbox 360 debuted their own more advanced motion control systems, Wii sales sharply tapered off. The debut of the Kinect in 2010 was effectively the death blow for the system. Official production of and support for the Wii continued until 2013, but significant new releases for it had dried up by 2011.

Still, the powerful first few years were enough to make the Wii one of the best-selling consoles of all time, third behind the first two PlayStations, and fifth if you add in handheld systems (behind the Nintendo DS and Game Boy). There were worldwide shortages of the system from its launch in 2006 all the way into 2008, with players in the United States having a particularly tough time getting ahold of the system.

As was the pattern with a number of Nintendo's consoles and handhelds, the system was known more for amazing exclusive first-party releases than it was for third-party support. Nintendo's collection of games that made use of the Wii Remote (Sports, Fit, Play and Resort) were by far the console's biggest hits. The other top sellers for the system were mostly members of Nintendo's flagship franchises - the Super Mario Galaxy games, Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros., Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Party 8 just to name a few. A handful of third-party titles did find success on the system, however: the biggest were The Michael Jackson Experience, Deca Sports, Epic Mickey, Monster Hunter Tri, Rayman Raving Rabbids and Red Steel. The ports of Guitar Hero III, Resident Evil 4 and Rock Band also did very well. And though it didn't rack up massive sales, Monolith's Xenoblade Chronicles gave RPG fans a very strong Nintendo-exclusive title to enjoy.

Of course, there's also the Virtual Console to consider. In total, Nintendo made over 400 retro titles available spanning not just their own back catalog, but the platforms of some of their biggest rivals as well. You could download games for Sega's Master System and Genesis, the Turbografx, the Commodore 64 and even select arcade titles.

Two variants of the Wii were released. Both of these were more compact and had a lower retail price than the original console, but sacrificed certain features. The Wii Family Edition added the ability to stand the system up horizontally at the cost of the Gamecube compatibility and controller port. The Wii Mini was an ultra-compact version that moved the disc loader to the top of the unit, but dumped the majority of the connectivity features in addition to Gamecube support.

The Wii U largely rendered the Wii obsolete, given that it had backward compatibility with the previous console's physical media and digital download titles. The Wii does have the distinction of being the last console capable of running Gamecube games natively, though with some hacking it is also possible to get them running on the Wii U.