Futurelooks Holiday 2008 Guide to Third-Party Nintendo Wii Accessories

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Futurelooks Holiday 2008 Guide to Third-Party Nintendo Wii Accessories

It was nearly impossible to find a Nintendo Wii in stock during its launch in 2006. Last year, the holiday shopping season brought about yet another shortage of Nintendo's motion-sensing game machine. Even now, some 25 months after its initial release, the Wii is still in short supply. Clearly, the Nintendo Wii is doing very well for itself and this has really opened up the market for all sorts of fun video game accessories. You don't have to stick with Nintendo-branded products though.

Growing up, I usually stayed away from third-party video game accessories, because the quality of these items paled in comparison to their first-party counterparts. This was true on the Super Nintendo, the PlayStation, and even as recently as the GameCube. Third-party manufacturers are quickly catching up, however, offering a wide range of video game accessories that are more affordable than the Nintendo-branded stuff. We've collected an assortment of third-party Nintendo Wii gaming accessories and, by and large, they're pretty good.

Penguin United Dual Charge Station

Futurelooks Holiday 2008 Guide to Third-Party Nintendo Wii Accessories

With the advent of wireless controllers came the issue of keeping those batteries charged. We didn't have this problem back in the day of wired controllers, because no additional power source was required. Whether you're rocking a PS3, Xbox 360, or a Nintendo Wii, you'll want to load up on some sort of rechargeable solution for your controllers. This is especially true if you plan on hosting some holiday gaming parties.

The Penguin United Dual Charge Station is designed to work with the Wii Remote, providing slots for two of Nintendo's waggle-tastic controllers. Included in the package are the charging base itself, two rechargeable battery packs, and two replacement battery covers.

Futurelooks Holiday 2008 Guide to Third-Party Nintendo Wii Accessories

To get this apparatus to work, you remove the OEM battery cover and the regular AA batteries that you would normally find inside the Wii Remote. Slide one of the provided battery packs into the Remote and attach the modified battery cover. You'll notice that there are battery contacts on the outside of this cover. That's because you can slide your entire Wii Remote into the charging station.

The added advantage is that the rechargeable battery pack is actually lighter than a pair of AA batteries, so your arms won't get as tired as you swing wildly for Wii Sports: Tennis. I found the charging base to be a little finicky in terms of getting the battery contacts to align, but given the super affordable price, that's easily forgivable. If you need to charge more controllers, there's also a Quad Charging Station for a little more money.

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Michael Kwan is freelance writer and professional gadget geek. He's been reporting on the world of technology for years, playing countless console games along the way too. Be sure to check out his personal blog, Beyond the Rhetoric, for posts on freelance writing, personal development, entertainment, video games, and more. Follow him on Twitter too: @michaelkwan

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