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I just bought a black, horizontal form factor Wii. According to this Wikipedia article, this model is called the Family Edition. According to this FAQ at Nintendo, the only functional difference between this model and the previous (vertical standing) one is the GameCube backward compatibility, and as a result, some Wii games/accessories are not compatible.

Are there more functional differences, other than the GameCube compatibility I should be aware of? If I don't have legacy games, should I be concerned by this limitation (i.e., how much does the Wii ecosystem rely on that GameCube support in general)?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

To my knowledge there's nothing for the Wii that requires the Gamecube subsystems. There are a few games that will take advantage of it (for instance, Sonic Colors will let you play using Gamecube controllers if they are present), but they all work fine without - often by allowing you to use the Classic Controller.

Remember that Nintendo keeps a pretty tight reign on the games released for their platforms, and they don't allow developers to get too strange with the system, as that tends to annoy the users.

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Do note that the left analog stick and the D-pad on the Gamecube controller are switched in position compared to the Classic Controller. –  alexanderpas Dec 22 '11 at 13:46
    
What about dance mats? They use the Gamecube ports. –  ire_and_curses Dec 22 '11 at 17:58
    
I think all the Wii dance games allow you to use a mat (via the gamecube port) OR to just hold the wiimote and nunchuck and dance that way. I'm not sure whether that's a better or worse way to play (I've never played a wii dance game), but its there. –  Michael Kohne Dec 22 '11 at 20:44

The most important difference, besides the Gamecube Games and Accessories support, is that it doesn't support using Gamecube controllers for the over 50 Wii Games that implement this function.

One notable example of such a game is Bomberman Blast, which can be played with 8 players at the time (4 on wiimotes + 4 on Gamecube controllers), but is limited to four players on the family edition.

Another thing is that people like to play some games with the GameCube controller, for example in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii, due to the position of the Left Analog stick as primary input (versus the d-pad on the classic controller), which allows for analog control of your character.

A full list of games that use the GameCube controller can be found on Wikipedia

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Thanks. Will those games work with the Wiimote? –  ysap Dec 23 '11 at 6:03
    
Yes, they do work with the wiimote (+ nunchuck if needed), but depending on the game, the actual controls can be completely different. –  alexanderpas Dec 23 '11 at 15:08
    
So, I can safely conclude that the lack of GameCube support is not a real limitation on the use of the new system. –  ysap Dec 23 '11 at 15:57

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