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Wii Hates Christmas Trees!

Company: GameVortex.com
Product: Wii

This holiday season a lot of people will be receiving Wii consoles as a gift. Shortly thereafter, many of these people will be connecting their new Wii to the family TV, quite likely in close proximity to their Christmas trees or other festive seasonal lighted displays. They might be sadly surprised to find that their new Wii doesn't function properly. They may find that the control is erratic and jerky...

If this happens to you or someone you know, don't assume that the system is broken and rush back through the holiday traffic to return your newly acquired system; it might be perfectly fine. The Wii's sensor bar, which is to be situated above or below your television set, is used by the Wii-mote to help determine changes in the controller's position and orientation. Christmas lights or other light sources that are bright and emit infrared radiation can confuse the sensor in the Wii-mote. Often, this can easily be remedied by turning off these light sources that are responsible for causing the interference. This is mentioned in the online Wii trouble-shooting guide here.

The Wii-mote uses its view of two infra-red LEDs in the sensor bar to determine its own position and orientation. It can determine distance from the sensor bar via something called triangulation - basically, using the relative observed distance between the two LEDs to calculate the relative proximity of the Wii-mote to the sensor bar. The further apart the LEDs appear, the closer the Wii-mote is to the sensor bar, and vice versa. Playing too close to a Christmas tree introduces a large array of lights that essentially form a "cloud". They are at varying heights, distances from the Wii-mote and brightnesses. The programming used to determine position in the Wii-mote is not designed to handle the complex calculations that these new light sources introduce, so the game basically flips out and can become non-responsive.

If this happens to you, the first thing to check is whether there are light sources that could be causing this interference. Any bright lights or even reflections of bright lights could be the cause. If the lighting seems to be fine, there is a good trouble-shooting website at Nintendo's website. Just use the link provided below.

Hope this helps some of our newly Wii-wielding readers out there, and Wii wiish you a Merry Christmas!

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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