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Wavebird Wireless Controller Review
game: Wavebird Wireless Controller
five star
posted by: Jason Frank
publisher: Nintendo
date posted: 09:10 AM Fri Aug 30th, 2002
last revision: 05:59 AM Fri Sep 23rd, 2005

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My relationship with my video game controller has always been a functional one and emotionless one. I regard the grip and button placement in a completely utilitarian fashion. In my mind a controller is simply an extension of myself and should be thought of no more than one thinks of breathing. Things have completely changed with the WaveBird. It\'s disrupted my life and my game playing. During the mid-summer video game drought of \'02, I found myself looking for games to play over just to have a little time with this wonder. It didn\'t matter that I had played SSX Tricky till my finger bled with my old controller. I needed to experience the game all over again without wires.

Nintendo promises at least fifty hours on a set of AA batteries. I don\'t know how long I\'ve been playing, but there seems to be no end in sight. The range is said to be somewhere around 20 feet, but my house just isn\'t big enough to put any type of strain on the transmitter. There are sixteen selectable channels, so there\'s no problem hooking up four wireless controllers simultaneously.

Some might bemoan the absence of a rumble function, but it was a distraction that I never really cared for. I remember when Star Fox came out for the Nintendo 64 with the rumble pack included. I thought that it was kind of a neat but useless addition to the system. A slight rumble in the palm of my hand did little to simulate what it must feel like to have a space ship shot down. And I can\'t imagine that the rumble was all that good for my wrists.

The hardest thing about playing with the WaveBird is forgetting that there isn\'t a cable. The cable conditions us to play sitting up and relatively close to the TV. The cable conditions us to yell at people who cross our line of sight to the TV because we\'re worried they accidentally trip and disconnect the controller.

Super Monkey Ball has to be the critical test game. There is no room for any type of controller delay, but even when I slipped off the edge, I could find no fault with the controller. There is no perceptible lag with this thing. Any game I could pop into the console was a joy to play. I\'ll be really surprised if the next generation of consoles doesn\'t have wireless controllers incorporated into the system right out of the box.

A few weeks ago I caved in and picked up an X-Box (I\'m still not sure why I felt the need to supplement my Gamecube). When my editor found out that I had the console, the first thing that he asked me was, \"What do you think of those extra long cords for the controllers? Aren\'t they great?\" I was a little less enthusiastic than my friend because a cord, no matter how long, binds and tethers you fast to the earth. With the WaveBird you feel like gravity has no claim on you.