August 12, 2012

Wii U: Not A University For Experienced Wii Players

A sneak peak of the latest console installment from Nintendo was the buzz of the gaming community last weekend in Atlanta, Georgia.

In an empty retail store in downtown Atlanta filled with eager pasty 30-something men, temporary walls, and 12 revolutionary gaming systems the Nintendo Wii U was unveiled. There was helpful staff surrounding the gamers, and strange props, such as oversized Mario and Luigi hats as well. 4 consoles were dedicated to Wii Fit U, 4 for other games, and 4 for VIP’s. I have no clue who made that list though.

A who’s who amongst Nintendo game titles, Ninja Gaiden, New Super Mario Bros U, Wario. Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, Zombi U, Just Dance 4, and SiNG were all in attendance. Wii Fit U titles, Project P-100, Rayman Legends, ZombiU and Pikmin also made appearances.

But it’s not the game titles that are the big buzz; many of these are just the latest installments of already nostalgic Nintendo titles. The buzz is all about the new controller.

It’s said to be an elegant marriage of an iPad, and a regular game controller. Something like a Nintendo DS on steroids, and the first of its kind.

The Wii U’s controller, known more affectionately as the Wii U GamePad, is kind of large for game controllers, but average for tablets, I suppose, and has a 6.2 inch touch screen smack dab in the middle of it. To the left is the D-pad we’re all accustomed to, and the game buttons are on the right, while the system buttons (home, on, etc) are lined up elegantly along the bottom. The GamePad is also equipped with two joysticks, a standard for controllers now since N64’s single joystick was the last controller of it’s kind.

Nintendo is the first of the console giants to make use of the growing availability and popularity of touch technology. This could be great for sales in the beginning, but something tells me in the long run they’ll only be hindered. When Xbox and PlayStation catch wind of it, (if they haven’t already) I’m sure they’ll study Nintendo and re-approach the drawing board with the mentality of “that’s awesome, but how can we do it better?” Anyhow, according to a few sources it’s a clunky and useless tool in certain games, but well worth its weight in salt for others. The reviews are mixed.

According to studies done by The Entertainment Software Association, the Wii’s demographic is mostly young boys between 6 and 11, and more experienced (not older) women between 25 and 34, the controller will surely be widely accepted amongst the young boys. After all, most young boys love gadgets. I’m curious as to how the women will receive it though. The demographic of women Wii users are generally using the console for the physically game Wii Fit, and the likes, according to statistics, so that leaves me scratching my head, but we’ll see.

Unfortunately for me, my daughter doesn’t care too much for video games though. Last year when we bought the Kinect for the Xbox 360 it was received well, but it lasted all of a day or two. It became just another shiny black dust collector amongst our toys. Yes I said our.

I’m not a hardcore gamer. To be quite honest I don’t have the time to invest in being a scoreboard leading, noob pwning, boss of all bosses, but I know my fair share. I believe the Wii U will receive a warm welcome, especially amongst its target audience.

At least Nintendo isn’t wasting it’s time, money, and marketing making a dozen different versions of the original Wii like the clowns over at Sony. Pfft.

Image Credit: Nintendo

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