I went to several local video game shops right before Chinese New Year. It had been long time since I’d bought or really played any console games, but the Wii was different enough and interesting enough that I decided to get one to play over my two week vacation. For new systems, here were the prices:

  • Standard Wii + 1 left controller + 1 right controller + localized version of Wii Sports: 7400NT
  • Wii with mod chip installed + 1 left controller + 1 right controller + localized version of Wii Sports: 8500NT
  • Extra left controller: 850NT
  • Extra right controller: 580NT
  • Wii Fit and balance board: 3600NT

To chip or not to chip

One thing that surprised me a bit is just how legit the Taiwanese video game market has gone. I have several friends, students and acquaintances who own Wii systems, and none of them have a modded system. The game store where my old coworker used to buy pirated PS2 games was shut down. People actually paying for the systems is the norm.

Of course modded systems aren’t nearly so underground here as they are in the US or Japan. There are a few normal stores that sell them discreetly if you know where to look. Cough, cough… maybe one of them is under the Main Station at the 台北地下街.

If you want to play any US Wii games, you’ll need a modded system. If you do go that route, I suggest you either wait a few months for the new mod chips or find a firmware-based solution. The current generation of mod chips works well enough, but most US games sold this year will contain an update that will completely disable your modded Wii.

All Japanese

Except for Wii Sports, which has been localized into Chinese, all the other games I’ve seen for sale here are the Japanese version. Taiwanese market isn’t big enough to warrant its own localized versions of most games, so Nintendo sells the Japanese version in Taiwan. It seems like this should be a big turn-off, but somehow it isn’t. Taiwanese gamers played enjoyed the Japanese versions of countless PS2 games, so buying a Japanese Wii is just natural. Several of my elementary aged students have students have told me they’ve learned all the hiragana and katakana just so they can play Wii games. Who said video games aren’t good for your education?

I’ve gotten interested in working on my Japanese again, and I’m enjoying the Japanese version of the Wii quite a bit. Super Mario Galaxy is far more fun than I had imagined it would be. It’s colorful, bright and creative and the complexity of the 3-D puzzles is far beyond that in SMB64. Oh yeah, and the Chiko stars talk to me in honorifics. How cool is that? I’m also hoping to try out Super Smash Bros and the new Zelda. My friend John in Shanghai has reported Super Paper Mario is worth checking out, too. If you’re interested in buying a Wii in China, check out his sister post.

Yeah, I’m pretty glad I picked up a Wii.