Wii U Unveiled

Anyone reading this blog likely knows by now what the Wii U is and have maybe even seen much of the content and features of it. I wanted to give my take as a Nintendo Fanboy. I am certainly overall excited about the new system, but I certainly have my reservations about it as well. First off, the name. The name is terrible. I realize many people said the Wii was terrible too, but it was different. I personally wasn’t fond of naming it the Wii 2… naming it the Wii something else that doesn’t make sense is even worse. I think I would have liked it better had they gone with Wiiyu (which is how it is pronounced) or WU which is generally what I’ve been calling it.

The controller is really what they were showcasing at E3. A lot has been made about how the graphics are being rendered using PS3s or X-Box 360s, but to me, this isn’t a huge deal because that is not what they are showing off entirely. They are showing off a controller.

They are also saying that it is going to have much better graphics, but I don’t feel that’s what they are showing here. I feel that was pretty clear if you watched the WU E3 presentation at all. However, I know that if you are used to other system all they ever care about is what it looks like. So it seems natural to only look at the graphics, but Nintendo only cares about how you play, so they are right now only showing you how you will play.

The controller itself is interesting. I am conflicted. I was hoping for an advancement to the Wii’s motion control, but in reality it doesn’t even seem like they are advancing it a little. They basically are using the same controllers as before (Motion Plus only Yay), but now there is a new controller that does additional things. So it is essentially a new super peripheral for the Wii. For me this was a bit of a let down. I would have liked to see them release at the very least a controller that is even more accurate than the Wii Motion Plus controller, I think it is a much better controller than the original, but it is still not perfect. That being said, I still think the new controller looks awesome. I can imagine doing some pretty cool things with it, like they showed at the convention.

To me, the WU looks like it could potentially be a hub of the living room, which is a bit of an evolution to the Wii really. The Wii did have a bulliten board, news, weather, browser and other things to try to take you to the console just to see what is going on with friends and family. This seems like it takes it a step further. And I think it does, largely because it allows you to do these things without turning on the TV. To me the really cool thing about it is the fact that I can use the WU without using the TV (I know that the same as a portable but it is more advanced than a portable).

The secondary aspect of having a second screen for the console is cool, but not really what gets me excited. Nintendo has been trying to do this for some time so it wasn’t entirely surprising that they finally just decided to make it easier to accomplish. I think the best use of this in the past was the connectivity between the GBA & Gamecube with Legend of Zelda: Windwaker, or Animal Crossing on the GC. Both of these games used a second screen and it was cool. With the addition of touchpad, gyroscope, etc, I think the idea could be really awesome. Especially since more companies will actually use it. But I could also see a world where all games just throw inventory down there and I don’t think that would be that great. So the key here is that developers actually use the functionality.

Really, what I want to see out of the system is how else Nintendo plans to use it, not just in games, but everywhere. I feel like they gave us a taste, but I could see this WiiPad working really well. I know my brother keeps his iPad next to the couch, I think the WU concept can go far and beyond what the iPad currently does, largely because it attaches to your TV. I already think the format is perfect for something like Netflix, I am hoping they make other partnerships with say Hulu or other TV networks and/or studios to bring as much content to the TV through the console as possible. I also like the Weather app even more now, and of course there is the Video Phone feature that they are touting. I also hope they open up an app store that isn’t just games, even if that is the focus. I mean they not only have the tablet, they have the wii remote, the balance board, and the TV to work with, people should be able to come up with way better apps than the iPad can.

I obviously can’t talk about graphics as they haven’t revealed those yet. But I am happy that it will finally be full HD, and I hope that the graphical prowess of the thing turns out to be more powerful than the PS3. Anything less I think would be disappointing at this stage in console development. I also hope that they finally support DVD, this format screams kick ass remote control, but I don’t think they will. I also don’t think they will support Blu-Ray obviously, but I kind of wish they did that as well. Too bad HD-DVD is dead.

I am really interested to see what else the WU can do really. What are the internet capabilities? Will they finally fix them and make them good? I hope so. Will they advance Miis to not only look better but give more options and allow for different bodies and clothes? What about 2 controllers. They are already confirming that you can’t buy a second controller, but what if you want to make a serious game that uses the controller? Why not? What if you don’t want to use the Wiimote for the second player? Will they launch a stand-alone controller for additional players?

E3 really put out more questions than answers really. Unfortunately for us, it is unlikely that we hear anything more about it until the Tokyo Game Show later this year.

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