What Accessories Are Needed to Play Wii Games?

How to play Wii games with the right peripherals

Wii remote with two hands

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The Nintendo Wii console comes with everything you need to play most Wii games, namely the Wii Remote and the Wii Nunchuk. However, there are some games that require the MotionPlus add-on or other Wii accessories like the Wii Balance Board.

Information in this article applies to all Nintendo Wii models. You can also play Wii games on the Nintendo Wii U.

The Wii Remote, Nunchuk, and Wii Classic Controller

The Wii Remote, which features a built-in motion detector, is the default controller for the Wii. The Wii Nunchuk is the joystick controller that attaches to the Remote via a cord. The Nunchuk is not used for all games, but the Wii Remote is always necessary. The Wii Classic Controller is an optional peripheral that resembles a traditional gamepad and can be used as a secondary controller.

Wii consoles made before 2011 can play Nintendo GameCube discs. To play GameCube titles, you must use a GameCube controller or a Wii Classic Controller.

How to Play Wii Games With Multiple Players

Many games allow up to four people to play simultaneously, so it’s a good idea to have at least one extra Remote and Nunchuk. Some games allow extra players to use a Nintendo GameCube controller or the Wii Classic Controller, but the first player must always use the Wii Remote. Other games require multiple motion controllers. For example, you need two remotes for Wii Tennis.

In addition to the official Nintendo controllers, there are also third-party controllers for the Wii. There are also different Wii Remote chargers available.

The Wii MotionPlus and Balance Board

Some games require more than just a Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The most commonly used Wii accessories are the Wii MotionPlus and the Wii Balance Board. The MotionPlus attaches to the bottom of the Wii Remote and enhances motion control sensitivity. It's primarily used in action-adventure games for Wii like Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The Balance Board tracks the player's foot movements and is used mainly for Wii workout games like Wii Fit Plus.

You should see a label on the front of the game box indicating the peripherals you need to play. For example, Wii games that require MotionPlus have a picture of the MotionPlus with a circle around it that says "Requires Wii MotionPlus." Some games, like Wii Sports and Wii Sports Plus, come packaged with the Wii Balance Board.

Other games will just say they're compatible with a peripheral. For example, Punch-Out! indicates that it is "Compatible with Wii Balance Board." This means that you can play with just the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, but using the Balance Board enables you to do extra things in the game. Check out reviews of such games to gauge how important these compatible accessories are before you invest your money.

MotionPlus games can be played with either the MotionPlus add-on attached to a Wii Remote or with the MotionPlus-capable Wii Remote Plus.

Optional Wii Controllers: Wii Wheel, Wii Zapper, and More

Some accessories, such as the Wii Wheel and the Wii Zapper, are always optional. The Wii Wheel is a wheel shell that encases the Wii Remote. Most racing games will have a notice on the front stating that they are compatible with the Wii Wheel. Wheels are never necessary to play a game, and they don't add much extra functionality, but they do give you the feeling that you're actually driving.

The Wii Zapper is a gun peripheral that holds the Wii Remote and is used in first-person shooting games such as Call of Duty: World at War and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. Like the Wii Wheel, the Wii Zapper is never required, but it can make gameplay feel more realistic.

There are also optional add-ons for Wii sports games. For instance, the Penguin United’s Active Motion Bundle for Wii Sports Resort comes with attachments to turn your remote into a golf club or a ping-pong paddle.

Game-Specific Wii Controllers

Some games have their own special controllers. Such titles include Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and Dance Dance Revolution. These games are usually bundled with their controllers, but not always.