“Create Something Unique” – Does the Wii U Live Up to Nintendo’s Mantra?
If you didn’t catch the Nintendo Direct live feed of the company’s pre-E3 conference, you’re a click away from not being able to say that. Unlike similar pre-conferences of this ilk, Nintendo decided to stow all of its software announcements for the actual expo this week. Instead, Satoru Iwata (commander in chief at Nintendo) decided to give us a full on presentation of their latest buzzed about hardware, the Wii U (ayuh, they stuck with the name).
Like any publicly displayed conference, some parts impressed, some were intriguing, and, of course, some things got fucking weird (“Call me Grandpa!”). If a detailed analysis of the conference is what you crave, you can find an excellently crafted one hereabouts. If, however, you’re searching for briefer initial impressions of a considerably lower quality, stick around, partner.
- The Wii U’s controller – now dubbed the GamePad – serves as a veritable gaming Swiss army knife. A bevy of functions are worked into the design including a built-in universal remote, the ability to web browse, and backwards compatibility with the first Wii’s host of wands and nunchuks.
- Alternatively, Iwata introduced a Pro Controller that makes up for its shocking lack of innovation through its accessibility and familiarity. An enticing buy if your optimal level of gaming doesn’t come from using a plastic iPad.
- A new bid at on-the-fly social networking was also touched upon, which Iwata referred to as the Miiverse. In and out of game communication (as well as hand drawn messaging) has evolved to feature cross-platform interaction and competition. Sure, the company is essentially playing catch-up with the likes of Xbox Live and PSN, but its served in a distinctive Nintendo flavor (with plans for expansion and improvement.)
- The option of a Pro Controller is a nice touch (not the additional cost part, mind you) but its very existence both serves as an all too obvious draw-in for the “hardcore” crowd as well as a sign that Nintendo’s aware right out of the gate that players may find the GamePad too cumbersome to use with certain titles…
- …Which brings me to a bigger concern: third-party developers under-utilizing the tablet. A current example would be the DS and 3DS; first-party titles use the touchscreen and 3D functionality stupendously while on the flip side, there’s a trend where devs relegate the second screen to menu and map management. I see this happening to the Wii U especially with ports.
- No official mention of cost was brought up. I understand Nintendo wants the system’s laurels to be the deciding factor and not the price point, but I still prefer companies to be upfront with me when trying to earn a sale.
- I hope “Non-Specific Action Figure” and his awkward, over-emotional owner are the last inadvertent horrors to be spawned through Wii U marketing. My heart, unfortunately, tells me this is just the tip of the iceberg.
More Wii U announcements, including software reveals, are coming at you this week during E3 and The Red Herb will be right here for you, in the midst of it (from afar), covering the action with a pile of words.