Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Nintendo Wii Nunchuck Controller

Rating: 4 out of 5
Pros: Works well and packs a number of features into a small, light-weight package
Cons: Practically required for many Wii titles; not wireless

The official Nintendo Wii Nunchuk Controller is not a controller itself, but one of many different accessories that plug into the bottom of the primary Wii Remote for the Nintendo Wii. The Nunchuk features a three-axis accelerometer just like in the Wii Remote, so it has its own separate tilting and motion-sensing capabilities that work in conjunction with the ones in the primary Wii Remote. This is especially useful in sports and FPS games, where you can usually move around with the Nunchuk's joystick and still perform regular game actions with the Wii Remote's buttons and trigger.
The Nunchuk is approximately 4.5" long, 1.5" tall and weighs less than 2 ounces with its hard plastic body. It's about 1.5" wide in the front and tapers down to about 1" wide near the back where the cord attaches. The cord is about 3' long and plugs into the bottom of the Wii Remote, leaving you plenty of slack to hold the Wii Remote in one hand and the Nunchuk in the other. There is a clear plastic clip on the end of the cord near the plug that allows you to slide in the Wii Remote's wrist strap so that if it accidentally gets tossed it can't travel any further than the length of the cord.
It has a slightly C shaped contour where the front and back are both lower than the middle to make it comfortable to hold in your hand, and it works well for all size hands (as well as for both right and left handed people). The top of the Nunchuk features an analog joystick with a comfortable rubber coating to operate with your thumb, and there are two buttons on the very front that you can press easily with your index finger. The top one is a small round C button, and then there is a larger rectangular Z trigger button underneath it.
After so many years of standard controller use for gameplay, I usually use my Wii Classic Controller Pro for games that support it. For everything else the Nunchuk is a godsend though, and the control schemes seem to be very good in general. I do wish that the Nunchuk was wireless like the Wii Remote, but the 3' cord isn't too obstructive or intrusive since you're usually holding both devices simultaneously anyway. At least it's not getting tripped over or preventing you from sitting further from the Wii, so I really can't complain. As an added bonus, that means no batteries to replace since it draws power from the Wii Remote.
Not every game requires the Nunchuk, though a great many of them do. Even the games that don't explicitly require it will usually support it in one way or another, making the Nunchuk a truly must-have accessory for the Wii. For that reason I recommend that you pick one up for each and every Wii Remote that did not come with one out of the box.

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