Jun 09 2011

My Road to Damascus Moment with the WiiU

Published by at 12:00 pm under Editorials,Video Games

I wanted to write this post as I felt I needed to clarify my sentiments about the WiiU now that more information has been revealed about it in the aftermath of Nintendo’s E3 announcement. I have to say that I was only upset with Nintendo’s horrendously planned reveal, which had the entire world wondering just what exactly had been premiered. In showcasing the new controller, they forgot to mention at the time that yes, this was actually an entirely new console. Naming it the WiiU certainly didn’t help, as at first it appeared to be a new sort of peripheral for the existing Wii, and it took some time to figure out that wasn’t the case.

My dislike of the name is still firmly in place, as it hardly rolls off the tongue. I’m still not a fan of the “Wii” which is still kind of an inherently ridiculous name for a console, but one we’ve simply gotten used to over time. But to make it even more awkward with WiiU? Ugh. Nintendo would have been better off with a brand new monkier altogether, as in addition to the strange sound, it would have been more easy to bring the hardcore crowd back on board who associate that system with toddlers and their grandparents.

But speaking as one of the hardcore, the information I’ve learned about the system SINCE its reveal has me thinking that the WiiU is actually a pretty stellar idea. Increased graphical capability, full third party support and a new way to play that could actually be useful, and doesn’t exist solely as a gimmick, and they just might have the potential to bring someone like me back into the fold.

One thing I’ve learned that Nintendo isn’t making explicitly clear is that this new console should, in fact, end up being more powerful than the 360 and PS3. Clearly the system wasn’t all the way there yet, which is why we only got a tech demo and little light was shed on the box itself, but after I learned that all the demo footage being shown is just that, demo footage, not rendered with the system’s graphics engine, and thus I don’t think we’ve seen the true potential of the WiiU yet. If that damn bird video is any indication, the graphics could indeed trump the current competition.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYbng0gKxAo

Even if the new system is merely on par with its present rivals, think about a Nintendo console with full third party support. Practically ALL of the best titles these days are from third parties and cross platform. Call of Duty, Battlefield, Borderlands, Assassin’s Creed, Bioshock, Dead Space, Arkham, Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, the list is practically endless. Not all of these developers are for-sure on board, but if the WiiU can run their games, it would be foolish of them not to partner with Nintendo, particularly if this console sells well. The only reason most of them haven’t previously is because their games could literally not run on Nintendo’s underpowered system. But give them that ability, and combine all those franchises with Nintendo’s stable of Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Pikmin, Pokemon and more, and it’s easy to see how they could vastly outpace Microsoft’s Halo and Gears of War or Sony’s Uncharted and Killzone. It would certainly make me think twice about my current console of choice.

Nintendo wanted to focus mainly on the controller this year as the full system wasn’t ready to be shown yet. I don’t blame them for this, it’s just that they could have made that a little more clear. We got a glimpse of what was shown in the demo video, but when you stop and think about it, it really could change games as we know them, for both casual AND hardcore players. Casuals can put the screen on the ground for WiiU golf and things of that nature, but actual gamers? This odd giant controller could be exceptionally useful.

The most immediate thing that comes the mind is the elimination of needing to go into a menu to check something. In a  game like Fallout, your Pip-Boy would literally be in your hands. In a game like Elder Scrolls, your stats and inventory would already be open and in front of you. It’s actually hard to see a type of game that COULDN’T use this application.

I was worried that the controller would be cumbersome, as let’s be honest, the thing is an elephant, but I’m being told it’s incredibly light weight, and this new picture of the rear puts my mind at ease that it would seem to be more ergonomic than it initially appears. Plus, there are trigger buttons!

Another brilliant thing they’ve done is preemptively make Sony look unoriginal. Sony showed that the Vita can take its games and play them on the big screen. Nintendo showed that the WiiU can do it the other way around. If Sony DOES figure out some way to get a lower-res version of a PS3 title to be transferrable and playable on the Vita, even if it’s a brilliant technological wonderment, they’re absolutely going to look like copycats.

They may have botched the reveal, but once we’re able to see the full potential of this thing, I think it’s going to turn a lot of heads, and once again Nintendo will be ahead of the curve with others playing catch-up once again.





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16 responses so far

  • Schiapu

    Actually, the Wii U name is more of a strategic choice. It associates the Wii name that casual gamers know with the new console. Hardcore gamers won’t care, as we still are going to call it the Nintendo console. That way they can try and get they’re newfound Wii audience to tag along with a new more powerful console and boost initial sales.

  • some guy

    finally someone has said what i have been thinking…nintendo has made xbox and ps3 look like fools once again. “o motion controls, yea forget that. how about a new way to truly enhance your gaming experience.” nintendo wins hands down by at least showing the future of what things will be able to do.

  • Chooch

    So, by copying what the Dreamcast did with the VMU over a decade ago, Nintendo is original?

    Showing that Vita is compatible with PS3 beats Nintendo to the punch, not the other way around. Paul isn’t the only person who was completely lost on whether or not the Tablet Controller was the console itself or a Wii 1.5 upgrade accessory for $200+.

    Nintendo has positioned themselves horribly; Sony and MS pushing off next-gen talk is just PR to cover themselves. Nintendo has their console positioned now for 2012, giving Sony and MS ample time to come out with a true next gen machine the year after, if that is even necessary. Nintendo is creating something to compete with PS3 and Xbox360 instead of coming out with something as future-proof as possible.

  • http://www.lightdarkandshadow.com Greg Close

    The WiiU looks absolutely just as gimmicky as Kinect, but potentially far less revolutionairy. Both are really cool concepts, but without a fantastic GAME to utilize them, who will care?

    Frankly, out of all this crap at E3, the voice command function of Kinect for ME3 was the only thing that looked like there’d be usable functionality that adds to the fun of a game.

    In short, I’m not going to buy a WiiU just to have a “neato” inventory gimmick for an RPG. I might just drop some cash for a Kinect if voice commands and 3D interaction with a game environment (which is what that tech demo really showed us – not drawing with your finger) is for real.

    Proof will be in the puddin’. If Nintendo shows that the new system delivers – cool beans! Kinect starts delivering on it’s promises – cool beans! Bottom line: I don’t care which company wins, I care when the GAMER WINS! :)

  • Tim

    Sony can’t really end up looking like a copy-cat if they make it to the market first. IGN has a good article about how the PS Vita will do most of the functionality of the WiiU controller with the added benefit of being a dedicated, amazingly-built handheld. It seems to me that Sony’s 10 year plan for the PS3 is panning out, it’s just that no one in the market trusts them/listens to them. And without the customer base, it doesn’t matter if you’re right/ technologically superior to your competitors. Money talks… apparently louder than any forward-thinking, long-term ideas do.

  • Rob J

    I just have one major quarrel with the WiiU that pissing me off and I really hope they change it for the final version…how are you suppose to use the damn sticks if they way above the face buttons and the D-pad? It looks awkward as hell!

  • http://www.unrealitymag.com Paul Tassi

    @Tim

    That’s what I’m saying. If they manage to give the PS Vita WiiU type functionality and say, show that at next year’s E3, even if they did have the idea first, it’s still going to look like they’re copying.

  • Jared

    The Nintendo WU (fixed, and more fun to say). Woo!

  • ChrisP

    It all still seems pretty gimmicky to me…

  • Guy Incognito

    @Paul What Tim is saying is that it would be hard to be called a copycat when your product does it first. WiiU is scheduled to come out in 2012, my bet would be October or November since that’s when all major consoles are released. The Vita is coming out this year. That gives Sony a full year to do it first and it seems like all it would take is a firmware upgrade.

  • Tim

    @Guy Incognito — You are correct, that is what I was trying to say.

    But, at the same time I totally see Paul’s point, Nintendo being the first to reveal the idea will make people call Sony the copycat.

  • Anonymous

    I kinda like the name. If you repeat it over and over, you sound like a siren.

    Wii U Wii U Wii U

  • Draugr

    Surprise to find this out, but it seems like there is only one touchpad per console.

    http://www.gamepro.com/article/news/220292/e3-2011-only-one-touchscreen-controller-per-wii-u/

  • pbittner

    Not to mention that Nintendo already had their handheld player connect to their console years ago. Sony is reusing an idea that Nintendo had already used 1 generation ago.

  • Buddy Lee

    @Draugr

    I was wondering about that, as a budget gamer i am rarely ever am the early adopter but all i could think was holy hell how much is it going to cost to try and get two to four of those bad boy controllers for group playing. lol the thought of that cost was the biggest turn off for me.

  • Guy Incognito

    @pbittner And Sega did it before Nintendo. It doesn’t really matter who does it first, it matters who does it best. Sony can probably make the Vita do everything the Wii U does, plus it’s a real portable console, plus they can get it in our hands first. That trumps Nintendo in my opinion. The only thing Nintendo will still have going for it is the first party games, which seem to come too far between.

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