When the Wii Mini was announced last November, enthusiasm was tempered by Nintendo's seemingly arbitrary decision to sell it only in Canada. Why? Nobody knows to this day, but fortunately it doesn't matter any more, because the Wii Mini will arrive in the U.S. in just two weeks.
The Wii Mini isn't actually much smaller than the original Wii, which was already quite petite — in fact, the Mini is taller and wider, according to the official measurements. But it weighs about half as much, and packs the Wii system onto cheaper chips so it can be sold for less: $100. "Wii Lite" may have been a more accurate name.
It should play all Wii games more or less identically to its sibling, but there are some downsides. You can't connect it with component or S-video, only composite cables — meaning image quality will be of the '90s variety. And there's no SD card slot, so your storage is limited. Fortunately, it can't download games from the Internet, so those two problems cancel each other out in a way.
You may miss out on a few features, notably the excellent Virtual Console and bevy of old-school games, but you can play all the hits, and as a bonus, it comes with "Mario Kart Wii." Either way, it'll soon be the only way to get a truly new Wii console, since Nintendo stopped producing them. They've sensibly decided to put their efforts mainly behind the new, but poor-selling, Wii U.
You'll be able to pick up a Wii Mini for $100 starting on Nov. 17, though just what stores will be stocking them wasn't announced. Visit Nintendo's "Where to buy" page come the 17th for more information.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.
First published November 4 2013, 4:55 PM