The Review (Giveaway at the bottom)

When my wife and I first let our son play Wii Music, he loved the fact that he could swing the controller and make his avatar play the piano. The controller, however, was towering out of his hands – and when I’d try to point to a button for him to press, he had to put down the nunchuk attachment and press the button with the other hand. Though he was just fine with the idea, I knew eventually, when he wasn’t just swinging his arms and making noise, he’d need either bigger hands or a smaller remote. My problem was then having to decide between expensive hand-transplant surgery for my son, or having to crack open a Wii remote and mod it to be shorter.

Or, I could just Google “mini wii remote”.

Sunflex had the answer: their snakebyte MiniMote, which is 25% smaller than Nintendo’s original remote. Sunflex’s remote can, according to their website, “be used by people with small hands and assures them the same control, comfort and game play as those with larger hands.” What a great idea – and thank god, I didn’t have to keep saving my pennies for my kid’s hand-transplant surgery.

This is a great accessory for fathers that want to play the Wii with their kids, and want to give their children “special” remotes to use. Maybe you play the Wii with your buddies and don’t want your kid banging your remotes up – or maybe you just sympathize with your kid and his undersized hands. Maybe you just want to reward your kid for a good report card. Whatever the reason, the snakebyte MiniMote is a great option for dads that want to buy a new Wii remote specifically for their kid.

The MiniMote is laid out almost the same as Nintendo’s full-sized one – with the exception of two major differences, aside from the shorter stature: the 1 and 2 buttons, which are normally positioned “vertically” on the remote’s face, are side-by-side on the MiniMote. Also, a “sync” button is on the top right face of the MiniMote, opposite the power button.

Having the sync button there for easy system-syncing is nice, but in-general, not necessary on the remote’s face, since you’ll typically be syncing the controller once to your system and never again. But for gamers that tend to bring their own Wii remotes to friends’ houses, this could be a slick function – not having to remove the battery door every time they’re around a new system. For that reason, the travel-factor for gamers of every hand-size is awesome. If your kid’s spending the night at his or her friends’ houses a lot and has asked to bring a Wii Remote with them, this is a perfect solution. And since the MiniMotes come in Red and Blue colors, you probably don’t need to write their initials on the inside of the battery compartment with permanent marker (you know you’ve done that before).

The performance of snakebyte’s MiniMote is of the same quality as Nintendo’s. The gyroscopes work the same, and every swing, twist and turn is accurately translated into on-screen movement. The only “problem” I had was with my own big, dumb hands and the placement of the 1 and 2 buttons; games that require me to hold the remote “classic style,” with the controller sideways (see gallery picture). In most cases, there was no problem, but in games that utilized Nintendo’s old control schemes – namely the games in Super Mario All-Stars – the alternate 1 and 2 button placement took some getting used to.

The MiniMote is fully compatible with Nintendo’s Wii Motion+, and they mention on the MiniMote site that the Motion+ is “broader” than the MiniMote, but I don’t see a real difference (see gallery for a comparison). With the WiiMotion+ attachment, the MiniMote is as long as the Nintendo Wiimote alone. The MiniMote takes 2 “AAA” batteries, and has an “ECO” mode to extend battery life. I have no evidence that the ECO mode is anything other than the remote going to sleep if it’s idle for a couple of minutes.

At $29.99 – the snakebyte MiniMote does seem a little overpriced. Original Nintendo Wii Remotes are being phased out in favor of ones with built-in Motion+ capability – and those run $39.99 retail. So, for $10 less, you’re getting a third-party product without out-of-the-box Motion+ capability. Somewhere in there is a small disparity. If Sunflex dropped the price to $24.99, these would feel more “value priced.” But at $29.99 – they’re still a great value for small-handed gamers, especially if you’ve got extra Motion+ attachments around.

This puppy’s getting four stars, docked only one for price and the other little things I’d mentioned. It gets a Kid Approval of five, since kids don’t care about price, and are a lot less picky than me about button placement.

Check out these pics of the Sunflex snakebyte MiniMote!

The GIVEAWAY!

Here’s the best part – Snakebyte was kind enough to send us a MiniMote (Blue) to give away to an 8BitDad reader! There’s now only ONE mandatory step to entering:

1) Leave a comment on this review, telling us what you like BEST about the snakebyte MiniMote!

For an EXTRA entry (no longer mandatory):

2) Tweet something about this contest, using @8BitDads and @snakebyteUSA in your tweet, as well as the shortlink to this review (http://wp.me/p12LqE-15G). If you’re creatively-challenged, feel free to use this: “I entered to win a kid-friendly Wii MiniMote from @8BitDads & @snakebyteUSA! You can enter too: http://wp.me/p12LqE-15G” Leave a link to your tweet in the comments section of this review! It’s easier than you think: right-click on the timestamp of your tweet, copy, and paste it in the comment field.

The winner will be chosen at random (with a combination of random.org and Microsoft Excel) on midnight PST, April 30th, 2011!

The nit-picky fine print: US & Canada only. Max of two entries per person, period. You’ve GOT to link to your tweet in your comment for the extra entry. You can feel free to say anything else in the comment too – agree with our review, disagree with our review, call us a-holes, etc., as long as it’s got a link to the tweet. You cannot just say “I tweeted from @yourtwittername” even if you follow that up by saying that you love us more than any other website.

Apologies to our loved-ones, 8BitDad employees and members of their families are NOT eligible to win.

And if you’re not feeling much like a winner, you can purchase the snakebyte MiniMote directly from the snakebyte site.