The six Bit.Trip titles were first released for Nintendo's WiiWare platform, where they received critical acclaim, but they failed to take off in the same way as a popular Xbox Live or PlayStation Network game. Nintendo has never been a company to fully support online offerings, so it's great that the games have been collected in both a Wii and 3DS package—called Bit.Trip Complete and Bit.Trip Saga, respectively—so you can buy them all at once without suffering through the Wii's online interface.

Each game plays differently, but the retro aesthetic and mixture of music and graphics brings them all together into a thematic whole. You may be running, playing a psychedelic version of Pong, or even just avoiding colored dots as a growing or shrinking blob, but each game is easy to understand and play. The music is always entrancing, and it syncs up with the action of the screen, making you feel like you're conducting a chiptunes orchestra as you play each game.

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Nintendo has finally confirmed what has long been rumored: the Nintendo Wii will drop in price to $149.99 on May 15, and the new package will allow gamers to choose between a black or white system that comes with Mario Kart Wii and a matching colored Wii Wheel accessory.

"From the day it launched, Wii has let players of all ages and experience levels have fun with one another," said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. "The new suggested retail pricing for both the hardware and select games will help create more of these magical moments for even greater numbers of people."

Nintendo is also dropping the price of a number of games, creating a budget line of $20 games, called Nintendo Selects. "The four must-own games in this collection are The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Animal Crossing: City Folk, Mario Super Sluggers and Wii Sports, which is available for the first time as a separate software purchase," Nintendo explained. "Parents and video game fans can now easily expand their library of fun, family-friendly Wii games."

With a new system set to be unveiled no later than this year's E3, Nintendo is in a good position to drop the price on the profitable Wii in order to give the system one last grand push at retail. $150, with some great $20 games, certainly makes this a solid value.

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The idea of Nintendo creating a compilation of Mario games to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. is exciting. Surely the company has vaults filled with memorabilia, fascinating documents and stories, and thoughts from the creators of the game. If Nintendo had the urge to create a true testament to how popular and enduring the Mario character has become, it would be an impressive thing.

Sadly, the company took the lazy way out with the Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary package for the Wii. The content included is limited and obvious, but to everyone's credit the price is low. Still, when you're trying to honor your most popular creation, thrift shouldn't be your biggest accomplishment.

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WiiWare releases have serious PR problems. With no demos to get people's interest, and no simple way for the company to send copies to the press without sending codes to redeem for generic credits, it's hard to get people talking. Nintendo has addressed one of those issues with free, playable demos of select WiiWare games.

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 TOP Nintendo Wii Games Trailers

Nintendo needs to get some momentum going in time for the holidays, and what better way to get people talking than new bundles and a new controller? Starting on November 7 you'll be able to pick up a Wii that includes New Super Mario Bros. and the Wiimote that has the Motion Plus attachment built-in. No more dongle.

Get ready for the marketing speak!

  • Red Wii Bundle: This limited-edition Wii hardware comes in beautiful red to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original Super Mario Bros. game. The bundle includes New Super Mario Bros. Wii and a new red Wii Remote Plus controller, in addition to all the other included items, like Wii Sports and a red Nunchuk controller. It will be available while supplies last at a suggested retail price of just $199.99.
  • Red Nintendo DSi XL Bundle: This special-edition Nintendo DSi XL bundle is also red in honor of the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. and features three iconic Super Mario Bros.-themed graphics. The bundle comes with Mario Kart DS, which looks gorgeous on the extra-large screen. That's in addition to the preloaded software of Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters, Brain Age Express: Math and Photo Clock. It will be available while supplies last at a suggested retail price of just $179.99.
  • Wii Remote Plus: This new controller combines the original, iconic Wii Remote controller with built-in Wii MotionPlus functionality. The compact Wii Remote Plus controller offers players precision motion controls all in one unit. It becomes the new standard Wii controller, and will be available from now on in all Wii hardware packages and bundles, as well as sold separately at a suggested retail price of $39.99.
  • FlingSmash Bundle: The new Wii game combines the hands-on fun of tennis with the nonstop action and instant gratification of pinball. It requires use of the Wii MotionPlus accessory, so it seemed natural to bundle it with the new Wii Remote Plus controller. For a suggested retail price of $49.99, shoppers get to enjoy both the game and the controller in one package.

These are all good deals for the gamer that doesn't have a Wii yet, and may even help to spoil sales of Microsoft's casual-friendly Kinect. An extra game and Motion Plus in the Wii bundle with a price that's still under $200 is going to be a powerful weapon at Christmas.

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Wii Party is one of those games where you have to ask yourself a few questions before you can decide whether to buy it. Do you have four Wiimotes? Small children in the house? Frequent family get-togethers? Okay, this is going to be a game you enjoy. Wii Party is made up of 80 minigames, arranged under the guise of different board-game-style frames. The games can be explained quickly and picked up by people with no prior video game experience.

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It becomes clear just how anachronistic the Wii's online service remains when you're sent a game's demo... in the mail. On a disc. Apparently that still happens. I was pleasantly surprised to find a demo for Hudson's Lost in Shadow on my doorstep a few days ago—codes and digital downloads are more common—and dug right in.

In the game you are a shadow, split from your physical body, and you must adventure up the many levels of a grand tower in order to reunite with your corporeal form. This is a platformer with some elements of a puzzler; you interact with the "real" objects' shadows in order to find a number of items in each level, unlocking the shadowy barrier that keeps you from moving forward.

A video!
Lost in Shadow

It's tricky to get used to looking past the objects in the foreground to the shadows behind them, but this leads to some interesting mechanics. Using the remote as a pointer, you can grab certain parts of the architecture, moving it this way and that to clear the way forward, and you'll be able to adjust the placement of certain light sources to change the shape of the shadows. You gain "weight" by reading hints in the levels, and this acts as your health, although there is no real penalty for dying. The challenge comes from maneuvering your way through the environment, not from the threat of enemies or death.

The problem is that even in the demo I felt like there were only a few ways to solve each puzzle. Move the cursor around the screen to see if there is anything you can move? Adjust a light source to change the shape of the shadows? Find the mechanism that allows you to spin the entire level? It began to feel rather procedural, and after playing Echochrome II with the PlayStation Move I feel like that game nailed the shadow mechanic much better.

The game's aesthetics seem inspired by Ico, and that's a good thing. After playing the demo, I'm left with mixed feelings, but the full game may improve as the puzzles progress. Lost in Shadow is coming to the Nintendo Wii on January 4, 2011.

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Nyko's Wand+ controller isn't reinventing the wheel, it's simply doing what the wheel does for a little less money and without two pieces. In fact... let's get away from this metaphor before I hurt myself.

The Wand+ is Nyko's take on the Wiimote, albeit with the Motion Plus technology built-in. There is no dongle, there is no extension on the controller—it's just one standard-sized Wiimote that does everything the Motion Plus does. We tested the controller by playing Wii Sports Resort and it worked flawlessly, just as well as the official controllers. Isn't that the mark of greatness when it comes to third-party accessories? Even after switching back and forth between the Wand+ and the first-party controller we couldn't feel a difference in accuracy or responsiveness.

It does feature a few design eccentricities: the power button is now on the right hand side of the controller, the A-button is square and a little larger, and the plastic has a smoother feel than the standard controller. To my hand all these things are actually advantages over the official controller, but that's more preference than fact. This is simply a comfortable, attractive Wiimote.

At $39.99 MSRP it's even $10 cheaper than the standard Wiimote with a Motion Plus dongle at most retailers. If you're tired of losing your Motion Plus attachment, or you don't like the added length of the dongle, this is a good alternative. It's neither flashy nor an amazing leap forward. It simply does everything as advertised. There's nothing wrong with that.

Verdict: Buy

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Batman is an always an interesting character, but the most recent takes on the Caped Crusader have been almost oppressively dark. Go back and read the comics that took place before Year One and you'll find a Batman that sometimes smiles, is much more at peace with himself, and gets the job done with a sort of sly humor. That Batman is on full display in this Wii game, an adaptation of the titular cartoon.

The game is rendered in a beautiful hand-drawn animation style, with bright colors, interesting camera angles, and above all, a sense of fun. This may be aimed squarely at younger gamers, but adults are going to find much to like.

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