“The Website Previously Known as Legendary Pokémon.”

Legacy, News

The Wii Browser has arrived!

by Arty2

I just downloaded the Wii browser and I can say that I am content with it. A few things should be solved but it’s okay. Now it’s about time for a small technical review, from someone who has been using Opera for 6 years.

The browser itself is good. The lack of History or at least a URL cache is the only downside I can see, but I think I can live without them. The popups open in the same window and that might be quite annoying too.

The Opera based browser reports as Opera/9.00 (Nintendo Wii; U; ;1309-9; en) and returns the following headers (similar to the desktop version):

HTTP_ACCEPT:text/html, application/xml;q=0.9, application/xhtml+xml,
image/png, image/jpeg, image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, */*;q=0.1
HTTP_ACCEPT_CHARSET:iso-8859-1, utf-8, utf-16, *;q=0.1
HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING:deflate, gzip, x-gzip, identity, *;q=0

The browser’s native resolution appears to be 800×500 (SuperVGA minus 100 pixels for the menu bar) at 4:3 and 1024×500 at 16:9 but there is also the “Opera for handheld” mode if you hit 2 (similar to the F11 functionality in the desktop version) which strangely doesn’t report itself as “handheld” unlike the desktop version; maybe the Opera developers could shed some light into this and tell us how to handle this nice feature? Anyway, you can also zoom (×2) a page if you think the fonts are too small to read. Yet again, if you own a small television that might still be not enough.

Standards support seems fine, though I noticed some weird behaviour in some cases, the top menu of this site for example, which the desktop version of Opera displays without problems. The trial version does cannot display Java appelts (though it does understand them) but it does display Flash 7 compatible apps. Apparently YouTube works fine (without video rewinding as reported here a while ago). At this point I should also say that my Wii whited out when I tried rewinding and I had to unplug the power cable to reset it… Flash’s transparency doesn’t seem to work either. Some formats like .mpg are obviously not supported since they require a plugin (and it seems unlikely that such plugins will ever be available) and the Wii browser will just display them as bytes (and not as “scary japanese”). Javascript support is also excellent, everything runs smoothly and it has no problems at all with libraries such as jQuery (even Thickbox works; you can’t exit it, but that should be fairly easy to fix).

What’s more exciting though is that it is possible to use the Wiimote’s keys in Javascript or Flash games! Here follows a key -> unicode table of the Wii Remote’s keys. Have in mind that some of those keys are reserved though.

↑ 175
↓ 176
→ 177
← 178
A 13
B 171
- 170
+ 174
1 172
2 173

02:11:Apparently the content filters that were supposed to be included in the browser are either not working yet or missing; viewing nasty sites is still allowed… for now.

02:26:And an explanation for the black border which some people hate: non-flat screens apparently cut off the corners and a little bit of the sides as I noticed in the Photo Channel, you wouldn’t want that when viewing a site, would you?

12/29: It may not be possible to use those keys in Flash games after all; bugger. Sorry for any false hopes 🙁

About the author


Heracles is an Athens-based architect and designer.
He founded LegendaryPKMN in 2001.