Buyer beware! New Wii won’t play DDR, Active Life or other mat games

This new Wii - note the horizontal Wii logo - has no ports for plugging in your mat

The Wii is still a hot item for the sixth holiday season running, and in the past, your biggest problem in selecting a Wii console was fighting off the pepper-spray-wielding Ebay resellers.  Unlike Xbox 360 or PS3, you didn’t have to worry about different models with different features; you just snatched that white box with “Wii” in big letters and you were good to play any Wii game, or any Gamecube game for that matter.

Well, Nintendo thought you buyers just had it too easy, and set out to change that.  Now there is a new Wii appearing on store shelves and at Amazon, and at first glance, it looks like the only difference is a lowered MSRP and a horizontal rather than vertical stance.  And you may have read on game sites that it no longer plays Gamecube games, which is no biggie for most people.

But what many upset buyers are finding out after the fact, is that they got rid of the four Gamecube ports, which means that if you want to play DDR, Active Life Explorer (or other Active Life game) or Walk It Out using a foot mat, you’re screwed.

Original Wii console: note the vertical Wii logo (this console can be either vertical or horizontal) and the Gamecube ports on the left

These mat games may be last century tech, but they’re still around – a new Active Life game, Magical Carnival, was just released.  And the newest Wii DDR game, DanceDanceRevolution II, is being hailed as a return to classic DDR with no hands, gimmicks or balance board, and doubles play for the first time on Wii.  Yet the new console won’t let you plug in even one mat, let alone two!

There are wireless third-party DDR mats, but they’re pricy and haven’t gotten good reviews.  My beef is that a “Wii game” should play on a Wii, not only certain models of Wii.  Nintendo really dropped the ball with this decontented box, and does a disservice to consumers by not making it clear that you can’t use the controllers that came with the DDR or Active Life bundle.

Pass up this no-bargain console, and look for the older Wii models (which are getting harder to find, and more expensive) or buy one used.  Otherwise you’ll have to miss out on some great active games.


Posted on November 30, 2011, in Buyer beware, Console games, Game consoles, Just sayin' and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. I can’t beleive that! Thanks so much for sending out the warning.

  2. Thanks for the heads up, Sue! I had no idea they de-featured the “new” cheaper consoles I’ve noticed lately. I wasn’t planning to buy one, but its good to know in case I do. 🙂

  3. i just bought a wii on black friday and i bought ddr today. i found the sad truth the hard way. this makes no sense.

  4. Have not had a console since my Son was young but wanted to get fit by dancing and at first using the balance board. Now purchased the dance mat and read your bog. Appears i have been stung at £225 i am not interested in gaming but can not use the mat. Devastated to be honest. How dare they decide to usurp buyers by making products that do not fit universally into all Wii consoles.
    Will stick to the PS and XBox products i know and trust next time.

    • I’m sorry people are getting burned by this new Wii. If you can’t exchange it, at least there are lots of other good fitness and dance games that don’t require a mat – the Just Dance games, Walk It Out (using the remote + nunchuk or the balance board), Exerbeat, Gold’s Gym Dance Workout and Cardio Workout, just to name a few (see the Active & Fitness Games page for more suggestions).

  5. Brought myself this bundle a couple of weeks ago, and received DDR II as a gift for Christmas. Found out after I opened the game that it is not compatible with this newer console. Very dissapointed. They do not have it advertised on the game that it will not be able to plug in to the newer model. Will be making a complaint to both Nintendo and Konami. They need to make one compatable with both types of Wii’s.

  6. I had exactly the same thing: new wii and ddr mat. Dxxn it, how could nintendo do this??

  7. Just bought DDR dance revolution as it was a great price and seemed fun. Now I discover it can’t plug into black wii. I read some wii’s have the game cube slots hidden. Good thing I didn’t wreck my wii looking for them – they aren’t there. I nearly tried prying the sides of the unit as some said the ports are well hidden. Is the DDR game somewhat playable without this big mat-like controller?

    • unfortunately, no. I had to return my ddr mat and game. Unless if you want to play ddr game using your wii controller, otherwise there is no way to play it.

  8. What a bummer….bought this for my kids at such a good price now i find out it can’t use the mat…Cmon…

  9. fuck Wii , fund that out today, just sucks (n)

  10. Same problem here, called Nintendo, and they sent out a new console that had the needed ports. I was still annoyed that the whole thing happened, but at least they sent me another one without any cost to me.

  11. William Ryan Kus

    This sort of thing goes on all the time and the consumer gets screwed. The only way to stop this is to boycott companies that do this sort of stuff.

    Nintendo should have known better. They have to OK everything that happens and they are either completely incompetent or purposefully did this.

    Either way, I decided to spend around $300 for a brand new Wii and some games, choosing it over the Ps3 or Xbox.

    I bought it specifically so I could be active and the main activity I was looking forward to was the ability to play using a dance pad.

    I know to a lot of people $300 dollars is a joke to them but for me, I haven’t bought a new system in many years because I can’t even find a job that pays more than $200 a month.

    • jimbotherisenclown

      Boycotting is only a good idea when the company knows that they’re being boycotted and why. Try calling Nintendo and Konami first, as a few other commenters have done or suggested. Ask to trade in your model, perhaps.

      Also, if you’re having trouble finding jobs that pay well, and you’re willing to move, I’d suggest They’ve got a lot of seasonal positions, and you’ll usually find someone hiring right away. Best of luck to you, Mr. Kus.

  12. Yes, I found out the hard way. Why would you sell something advertising the name and it not be comparable with the other products.

  13. I was so excited to finally get a Wii and at an affordable price. The biggest reason for my purchase was to play the Dance games. I searched online and found that the port was hidden on the side so I cut my finger and nearly broke the game trying to get the “hidden port” open. Turns out there isn’t one. Sooo wish I had read this blog before doing that and before my purchase. I am returning it today.

  14. At lest im not the only one that found out the hard way that i can’t use the mat and controls that my wife and I have spent a lot of money on she always wanted a WII so i bought the black WII to match the TV and decor she has went all out buying games for us and the kids just to find out that when i goggled how to hook up the WII dance mat we ran a cross a YouTube video showing how to hook it up i stated to pry on the side to get the compartment open luckily my mother in law came in with a black WII that see just bought and so we googled it a gain using black WII and came across this site….i just want to say think you for your intervention … knw may be my wife well let me get a PS3 now….but i will try and call Nintendo tomorrow and see if they can make good on there product. but thanks for not letting me destroy my wife system.

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