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Nintendo Wii Bundle: Is It a Good Deal? (Winter 2008 UPDATE)


(UPDATED January 1, 2008)

It is a great system and exactly what the video game industry needed, a company interested in serving the needs of the mass market gamers. That’s not to say that Sony or Microsoft don’t serve an audience that is also large – rather the larger audience is the several generation of gamers who still love games but really don’t have 65 hours to spend just to know that left-left-B means you “duck down” when the log swings around … or that I just want to shoot that guy and not have to learn a 4-button combo to draw my weapon and fire … or if I want to return a tennis volley, how about I just swing my arm and not press a-up-right … Wii IS for people who just want to play games.

Yes, it came out a year ago and supplies were tight until Spring 2007 – they eased a bit until September and now unfortunately – we are back to square one or more accurately, square zero for holiday 2007 and winter 2008.

Obviously since the holidays are over – the pressure is slightly off to get one before the big day of opening presents so we are back to the strategies of last autumn.


Option A:

Buy a bundle online from one of the major sellers. While you are paying more upfront, they are pretty much what you would pay anyway for the same items – they are basically forcing you to buy it all at once and all from them.


For instance, WalMart.com has a bundle for $677 – while seemingly high out of pocket, you get $677 worth of items for $677. You might save 5% if you really shopped around on games or maybe $20? – so if you planned on buying the games anyway eventually, it’s about par for the course.

The math … Nintendo Wii ($249) plus an extra controller & extra Nunchuck ($58) + one accessory (the wireless bar or the charger are your best choices) – you would normally pay $20 + Mario Party 8 which is a great party/kids/family disc ($49) so you are at: $381 if you bought everything separately. Since you pretty much need at least 1 extra controller & Nunchuck and Mario Party 8 is a great, the only real extra that is optional is the wireless bar or a charger but again, you’d eventually probably buy it so why not just buy it now. Then the Walmart insists you pick 6 games which would pretty much normally cost you $45-$49 each or about $300 so the bundle is not necessarily a bad way to go since you are essentially paying what you would probably pay – just paying it all upfront. The Walmart bundle game choices are all pretty good to great so it’s not bad … I’m not sure if Walmart will let you return Walmart.com merchandise to its stores but if you don’t open the games, maybe you can exchange or get credit? You can call the stores and ask.

Now, it’s OUT OF STOCK but you can pre-order so if you just want to get it done, it’s a way to go though you do have to pay for shipping.


The Gamestop bundle of $605 is not as good of a deal as you get about $560 dollars of value for $605. Technically, it’s $595 but there’s a $10 handling fee … you get a 1 GB SD memory card which is probably where they hide the profit since you can buy one for $10 but I’m sure they are charging you $25 plus a little extra for the charger. You do not get a choice on the games – though they are nice games … GameStop has a second bundle for $10 less – again, a solid bundle – no crappy games but note – as GameStop tends to sell to more hardcore gamers, these are not casual Wii games – they require a little more work and other than the Disney HS Musical one, not really party/casual or young kids bundles … Also note, they’re not shipping until 1/31 and saying definitely NO BY CHRISTMAS DELIVERY …


Whatever you do, do NOT buy the ToysRUs bundle for $699. This maybe the worst bundle I have ever seen. They are basically charging $450 extra for 10 Wii games that may be the worst 10 games on the Wii. They are really just clearing out their warehouse of games that will not sell at $45 each. These games are probably okay at $10 each but not at $45 … Soulcalibur Legends is actually a decent game but the ratio of quality to what should be properly priced at $10 is HORRIBLE. DO NOT BUY!

Why even bother with bundles? Two reasons. A) Because retailers don’t make much off the Wii console itself – list price of $249 but it costs retailers about $235 to buy one so even in the best of times, they are only making a few bucks (really, nothing after shipping & stocking it), so by bundling it with a bunch of accessories and games, they hope to make some more margins. B) Another reason online stores just want to sell bundles is they know that on eBay, people are still getting a premium for it so they don’t want to sell something for $249 (and make practically nothing) only to have that guy turn it around and make hundreds off of it in a 1-day auction.

Wii Tracker/Locator

Hope this will help you sort through the bundling pricing. You can check the Wii Tracker though it’s not going to say much more than our recap here. Chris Lambert claims to be able to track Target’s inventory across the country – not sure how accurate it really is as the counts seem very high but punch in your zip code to see. Click on each pin, that store should pop up with a count next to it.


Look carefully at the Best Buy, Toys R Us, Target, Walmart or whatever other major electronics selling chain in your area and if they list the Wii console, they have have some on hand (it’s the law!) – it might be as few as 9 (as I’ve seen in a Best Buy circular) but they have to have some on hand the next morning – just be sure and be one of the first people in the stores that morning. Your BEST BET is if they are opening a new store – they might be open a day or so before the official opening, they will most certainly have some on hand. If you happen to be in NYC, there is a Nintendo store and the flagship TRU in NYC. They get shipments nearly everyday and you’re almost guaranteed to get one if you arrive early.

Nintendo is continuing to ship so it might be luck and or persistence – you should have better luck M-F as shipments arrive and unlike the rest of the year. It’s difficult to say if stores will stock as they get them or if they’re going to try and whip up more frenzy by holding them back and only releasing them on the weekends to create the hype of Black Friday morning again and again … and some managers of stores or departments don’t care what corporate wants to do so it never hurts to ask.

Also, unless you’re the type that gets up at 5 AM in the morning, spend the extra $1 and buy the Sunday paper on Saturday so you know if you need to be in line bright and early.


eBay. I don’t need to tell you it’s the law of the jungle. See below for some warnings and what to look for and what to take note of in the auctions … one thing to keep in mind, prices will tend to drop a few days before the 25th as people worry about whether they will get one in time so if you don’t need one until just slightly after … but make sure to read the eBay auction “tricks” to look out for below.

Amazon also carries them from 3rd party retailers – as we are approaching zero hour, I’ll list it – prices are high – @$600 but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. It’s probably spendier than eBay but at least if you click BUY, you are definitely getting one and Amazon’s customer service is way, way more trustworthy than eBay/Paypal’s.

Oh yes, I know, some people use Craigslist but unless you can meet in a large crowded area and you can open the box to see that it’s not just bricks inside … what’s your recourse if you show up at some sketchy place with $500 in cash?


When you buy the box in the U.S., you get:

The Wii Console
One Sensor Bar
One Wii Remote
One Nunchuk Controller
One composite AV cable with RCA connectors
One AC Wall adapter
One Wii Remote Jacket (plastic sleeve)
& ONE GAME – Wii Sports

Less important, you also get:
A stand (so you set the console upright if you choose)
A circular clear stabilizer for the main stand
instruction booklet
Two AA batteries

That is the $249 main console set.



You will probably want to buy at least one other Wii Remote controller (aka: Wiimote) – it usually retails for around $40 USD.

You will want to buy the Nunchuk controller which works in conjunction with the Wiimote. It costs around $20 USD. You don’t need it for every game but for the ones that do, it’s much, much harder to play without it.


In theory, in a perfect world – for about $309 USD will have you ready for two people to play head to head with the one included game, Wii Sports (Wii Sports is GREAT fun!)


Games included in the bundle are not necessarily a bad deal presuming it’s a game you want to play. Our reviews of casual games & accessories here.

You can check out Wii game reviews at GameSpot, GamerDad are reviews written for dads playing with kids, or reviews at CommonSense are listed by kids or by parents (and can also be sorted by age).

There is one thing to keep in mind with Wii game reviews – If you play games that require a lot of commitment such as Resident Evil 4, Metroid Prime, Mario Galaxy and Madden ’08, then any reviews from the major online sites or magazines is fine to judge if the game is for you but if you’re interested in party or casual gaming, then you have to be very careful with the reviews because most major review places downgrade Wii games such as Carnival Games or Cooking Mama: Cook Off. To these guys (and it is mostly guys), any game that you cannot spend 100 hours getting good at it and then playing for another 1,000 hours to get better and great is not worth your time. It would be like asking someone from Nepal to review THE FAMILY GUY – who is Alberto Gonzalez and why are the singers on stage being beaten by a British guy? Just the wrong frame of reference. So, in your interested in playing quick games or when you have friends over, or you want everyone in the family to have just as much fun – then just keep in mind when you read a review not to look at the overall scores but more specifically how they talk about gameplay or the “fun,” aspects because they will downgrade the final score ultimately as it’s not something THEY are willing to play alone for 10 hours. Personally, I can’t wait for EA’s Playground to kick some Mii Kickball a** 🙂

BTW, Amazon.com reader reviews are usually always on target so if you have any doubt, read through those – as long as there are more than 5-10 reviews, it should be trustworthy enough.

One of the more popular bundle choices is “Wii Play” which is @$50 and is 9 mini games along with a $40 controller. Are the 9 mini games worth $10 dollars, that’s a tough call as most of them are really game-like tests to teach you how to use and move the Wii controller – the mini shooting gallery is fun but frankly, I found the other “tests” more tedious than interesting. You are much better off buying Warioware: Smooth Moves which comes with 200 mini games or even better, Mario Party 8 – and then buy the $40 remote separately. Both the Wii Play and the controllers are NEVER in short supply so don’t pay a premium for either.

Most other games are $40 to $50 dollars so you can judge the bundle accordingly. If the bundle includes 4 games, figure you’d pay $160 to $200 anyway – just check to make sure they are games you’d want to play.


Here are some other official Nintendo accessories that may or may not part of your bundle – the “normal” retail price is listed below for you to compare.


If you are interested in playing NES & SNES games online at Nintendo’s site, for some games, you will need the “classic” controllers – about $20 USD each. If you still have GameCube controllers, you might not need these – test it out before buying these though Nintendo has vaguely said might sell another remote accessory down the line that wraps around these “classic” controllers so you can play them like Wii games – just by moving your arms about … but nothing firm.


In the Wii Shop, there is a Virtual Console section which allows you to play “classic” games – you can buy a card with points like this for around $20 which gives you 2000 points. NES games start at 500 points, SNES at 800, etc, etc. Here are the current games listed on the Nintendo Virtual Console site.


To save your Virtual Console games, you will need an SD card – the “official” Nintendo Wii one is around $35 for a 2-GB card. Any SD card will do but just so you know what the cost of the official card if it’s bundled. NOTE: If you are only playing casual games, you don’t really need a memory card just yet – only if you are saving lots of levels or games or “season” settings like Madden, you can actually get by without a card. You can buy an 1 GB card for around $9 if you really shop around.



There aren’t a lot of third parties accessories out just yet – one actual useful one is the wireless sensor bar. The sensor bar included with your Wii is basically a bar that sits in front or top of your TV set so the Wii can monitor and send signals to when you twist right, left or up/down. Depending on your TV setup, it might be awkward to try and run the Nintendo WIRED sensor bar out and around – this wireless version from Nyko might be better for your setup (@$20 USD).


This Nyko remote recharger is also great if it’s in your bundle or just to buy separately.

You might want to use different connectors to your TV set rather than the ones included. You can get Nintendo Wii to S-Video connectors or Nintendo Wii to HDMI HD connectors. The official Nintendo ones cost around $39 but you can buy just-as-good versions for $19.

As for most other accessories, do you really need a (different) stand or a carrying case? So look at the bundle carefully.

BTW, you can plug up to 4 Wiimote controllers at once for 4-player games so you can never have too many controllers.


Another bundle choice is a “sports pack” which are usually 3 to 4 different sports “equipment.” Basically, you get a mini tennis racket, mini golf club and mini bat or mini steering wheel where there is a slot for your wii controller (NOT INCLUDED) … so instead of swinging the wii controller, you now swing a mini tennis racket, etc, etc … these mini sporting gear things are probably fine if you have a 6 or 7 year-old (or younger) but for adults or older kids, it’s just mostly pointless because other than a mini tennis racket, the other mini gear doesn’t really make it seem more life-like – especially golf since instead of swinging a real club that’s weighted, swinging a Wii remote as your club or swinging a plastic 3″ stubby mini gold club is essentially the same. And personally, I wouldn’t want to use the “bat” one – how sturdy is the holder? Is my $40 Wii remote going to come flying out and hit my $2,000 TV?

Now the steering wheel is useful though still weird as you are essentially holding it in mid air. There are now Wii steering wheels that clamp to a table. Most of the “sports packs” sell for $18 to $50 dollars. For $20, they might be okay but if the bundle adds $50 for these stubby pieces of plastic, consider it carefully!

(THE ABOVE is just a sample photo – there are no official Nintendo ones – all from third parties).


One other caveat about current eBay auctions. A new popular quasi bundle is to include the Wii Play “game” (@$50 retail) which comes with a controller (normally $40) plus 9 mini games (this is all mentioned above) ALONG with the Wii Sports game disc which is included inside the box … AND list it as 14 games! No, you are NOT getting 14 FULL games which normally sell for about $700 – DON’T BE FOOLED.

Here is their math:

Nintendo Wii Console & Wii Sports Disc (5 Mini Games) (included with console) – $249
Wii Play (with controller & 9 Mini Games) – $50

That is where they are counting 14 games – sounds good in a listing and while the FIVE (5) Wii Sports disc included is great fun because EVERYONE can just jump in play tennis, bowling, golf … the other “9” games they count from the Wii Play disc are not really games but practice session for learning to use the wii controller. The shooting gallery is amusing but the others are really not much fun so the 9 here are of dubious claim to even call them games.

The value is $299 retail for these “14 games” + the console, you decide if it’s worth it. (The Wii Play game & controller set are NOT in short supply – there is hardly anyone who does NOT have it so do not overpay too much for it).

The Wii is clearly a huge international hit so supplies not going to look so good until after the holidays. Nintendo is continually shipping but the shelves are stripped bare quickly so either buy a bundle, try to race to your stores as they open or resort to eBay – good luck … which unfortunately you will need or to avoid having to count on luck, a large credit to buy a bundle …

Some of our favorite casual/party/games and some accessories to consider is HERE.


Also – Older Nintendo Wii owners, Nintendo is offering a free Wii Remote Jacket so the remore controller isn’t quite as slippery. It’s free with free shipping. Log in with your serial number to this website.

Your serial will look something like this on the side of your Wii.


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14 June 2007 Computing, Gadgets, Internet, Media, Toys, Video Games One Comment

One Comment

  • raza2009 says:

    Wii bundles is the way to go. However $600.00 is to much, if we search there is a chance we can find better deals online. Try 247OutletStore on the web, Ebay or other web sites for better prices. It is our money we must spend wisley. Good luck in finding a best wii bundle for yourself.

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