Hot Holiday Gadgets: The Nintendo Wii

If you're overwhelmed by all the coverage of the Nintendo Wii and need to figure out just what the hell the fuss is all about, let us lay down the important info for you. This week, as it marks the official kickoff of the holiday spending orgy, er, shopping season, I'll be highlighting a hot holiday gadget every afternoon and spelling out just what you need to know about it when you see it on your kid's Christmas list. First up, the Wii.

What it is: The new gaming console from Nintendo.
Why it's cool: The controller, affectionately dubbed the Wiimote, is motion sensing. That means you can control the action on the screen by waving your arms around like a crazy person. Because the console is made by Nintendo, look for familiar names such as Mario and Zelda to be headed its way. Furthermore, you can buy older games from past systems via the Virtual Console.
How much it costs: The list price is $250, but you'll probably want to get an extra Wiimote for it, which will cost you an extra $60 if you get it with the Nunchuck attachment (a joystick you hold in your other hand), and the games are $50 each as well, so a complete setup will set you back $400-$500, depending on how many games you get. If you can't find a Wii in your area, which is very possible due to the high demand, you'll probably pay $350-$400 on eBay for one. But be persistent! New shipments of the Wii are headed to stores all the time, so you should be able to get one if you put some effort in.