Navigating World News With a Wii

    by Dan Schultz
    October 30, 2007

    Most of you have probably heard of the Nintendo Wii, an increasingly popular video game system that features motion controls. Some of you may have even played it. Part of the reason I’m mentioning it here is because I’m a dedicated Nintendo fan, but the real motive is a very interesting (and free) feature that I haven’t heard much talk about: the News Channel.

    At first glance the program seems to be a fairly standard headline news browsing tool (it is constantly connected to a feed from the Associated Press as its content). Play with it for a little while longer, though, and you will discover a “Globe” interface, which lets users navigate around a 3D world and see news stories literally piled on top of the region that they pertain to. If you zoom in the stories will fly around to more specific regions, such as cities or towns. To read the stories in a stack you simply point and click with the “Wii-mote” on the pile that you want to explore.

    A screen shot from the Globe interface.The application lacks a lot of functionality and probably won’t solve all our problems any time soon – Nintendo’s focus is not on news – but it illustrates how even a small step in the right direction can add so much more to a story by showing where. It also demonstrates how this location information can be used to drastically improve the browsing experience.


    Sure, we don’t have motion sensing pointer devices at our disposal and must rely on Google Maps, but it is still well within our reach to move beyond list interfaces that let users A) pick from a list, or B) search and THEN pick from a list. With that, I would suggest you go try it out yourself; I’m sure someone nearby has a Wii.

    Tagged: locative browsing map interface wii news
    • Dan Burd

      I think it’s limiting to say that each news story is only pertains to one location. Many news stories are overviews of the relations between two or more countries. I’m guessing the AP thing would place them at whatever the city the reporter is reporting from. I think that’s a bit misleading.

    • Dan Schultz

      I agree completely.

      For something like this there needs to be a way to
      1) have multiple locations (What you just pointed out)
      2) have no location (Such as a breaking discovery in the field of biology that affects everyone, but right now would just be thrown in a pile near the discovering university/whatever)

    • News on the Wii shall soon be obsolete… SUPER SMASH BROTHERS IS COMING!!!!!!!

    • Really good news for people. You can get more current World News here.

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