Wavebird soars into GameSpot offices

We take Nintendo's new Wavebird for a test flight.

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The Wavebird, Nintendo's first-party wireless controller, was released earlier this week, and we've had a chance to check out the controller's features and give it a full test run. We were able to play games such as WrestleMania X8 from quite a distance away--well over the advertised 20-foot distance. The controller feels and functions identically to the standard GameCube controller, with the same feel to the triggers and buttons, as well as identically working analog sticks and directional pad.

The controller is slightly heavier than a standard controller, likely because of the twin AA batteries it requires, and the controller's lack of a rumble function may affect players' experiences with some vibration-sensitive games. At the bottom of the Wavebird controller is a dial that can be turned in order to switch to any of the 16 selectable frequencies, so when multiple sets of consoles and controllers are within range of each other, the signals don't cross. The RF-signal receiver plugged into the GameCube system smoothly and didn't obstruct access to the memory card port. We were quite impressed by how the controller could be used from behind obstacles, such as walls, pillars, and furniture, with no drop in input recognition and without necessitating line-of-sight to the receiver.

The Wavebird controller retails for $34.99 and should be available at most retail outlets.

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