Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wii menu 3.1

I love it when I get up in the morning and the blue disc slot of our Wii is glowing blue - it means there's a "Wii-mail" waiting, and usually that means Daniel's left us a message. This morning however, after I got over the disappointment of, "Oh, it's just a message from Nintendo", and we realized there were three messages, not the normal one, I started to pay attention.

Wii menu version 3.1 apparently was released last night, and includes some hope-inducing updates, at least for me. I don't know if the functionality or look of the menu changed at all, as I haven't played with it yet, but here's the line in their message I was excited to see:

You can now use a USB keyboard on the Wii menu

What...really? People have been looking for hacks to do this for a year now, and you're just making it work!!? Awesome!

The reason it gives me hope is this: I've been hoping that they could make devices work on the built-in USB ports just with a system update, because I'm pulling for some kind of additional storage for the Wii's hard drive. I've got a number of classic games from the Wii shop, and I'm almost out of room! I can move games to an SD card, but you can't PLAY them from there - you have to copy them back to the Wii's internal memory before you can play them - a ridiculously time-consuming process. I'd love it if they allowed external storage - even if it was only by having to buy a Wii-branded jump drive that could actually bolster the Wii's memory. I'm not talking about doing it transparently like extending the Wii memory's partition onto the jump drive - you'd need to have three different memory spaces (Wii, SD and External), but when you plugged the jump drive in, it would scan for and display games contained on the drive right on the Wii menu, allowing you to play them right from the jump drive.

Obviously, I don't know the technical ins and outs of this, but since they're suddenly enabling USB keyboards, I have hope it might be coming...

One of the other messages from Nintendo this morning told users that we need to update the Everybody Votes! channel to work with the new menu, but when I went to the store after updating the menu, I noticed the Internet channel also has an updated version. Makes sense, if you want to use a keyboard on the Internet channel, right? Well, I don't know, because I had to leave for work this morning before it was done downloading (and before I could even look around the 'new' Wii menu, since I rushed right into the Store channel once it was updated), but when I chose to download it, I was informed through the usual message that,

The Internet channel only works with the Wii remote

Interesting. Maybe that's a left-over notice, or applies to controllers only (classic, nunchuck, etc), and not to keyboards, but if I can't use the keyboard on the Internet channel, what's the point? I can only use it when composing Wii-mails? Lame. But as I said, I don't know. I'll update this when I find out. Now I need to figure out if wireless USB keyboards will work, otherwise (again), what's the point? The Wii is all about wireless; I don't want to have to be attached through the keyboard!

On a side note - I had around 400 blocks of memory left yesterday, but the Internet channel was around 360, leaving me almost nothing - probably not even enough for the new Everybody Votes! channel download. I'm hoping that it will delete the old Internet channel, freeing up the space it was taking, and giving me back my memory, otherwise my classic gaming is done!

Update: I found a page on Nintendo's website that talks in greater (though not great) detail about this upgrade - it seems that USB keyboards will be useable on the new Internet Channel, as well as when composing messages. I can't find for sure if wireless keyboards will work, however. The update to the Everybody Votes! channel is just an 'improved display for National results by region'.