Jun 3, 2012

E3 2012 - Wii U: First Thoughts

Nintendo showed off a lot of new stuff for the Wii U today via an online broadcast which was 'live'. Honestly there was quite a bit of editing for a live feed for my taste. I hope the intern who pressed play got his college credit. Sarcastic tone aside, Nintendo did show off some cool, but still mostly on the fence, stuff, including the controller above.

The placement of the face buttons looks absolutely horrendous, especially when you consider how button intensive gaming is, even with the dual analog control schemes of the day. One thing I do like about it right off the bat though is that the D-Pad seems to be on a digital platform instead of an analog one like the current Xbox 360 controllers. If I do end up getting a Wii U, because I am not sold yet, I am going to tell you right now I will prefer using this controller over anything else. When I sit down to game I want to do it with as little flailing as possible. I also see this working against Nintendo outside of the 12 month 'launch' window simply because developers will stop developing for the army of peripherals Nintendo has become known for and just focus on making games for gamers, because honestly, unless you are Just Dance, peripheral play is a graveyard of mini-game collections and horrible execution. I forsee myself using the screen based 'game-pad' for Nintendo games only, and even then I am sure Mario Kart and Smash Brothers will play better with an actual controller if their Wii counterparts are any indication.

The Miiverse was the other big surprise, and I see the novelty of it wearing off very quickly. The view of all the Mii's equally dispersed through out games is hilarious, and will be a constant reminder of the life of the market. Gazing into a crystal ball shows me that most Mii's will be surrounding the Nintendo exclusive at the time and show slim pickings around the other titles, even ones who see lots of play on other systems such as Call of Duty. Tagging specific points in a game with message board like comments looks cool, but will ultimately fade into obscurity with tags like "OMG FAG YOU SUCK FOR MISSING THIS JUMP!!! HAHAHAH". The idea that each game will have an individual message board for it to discuss strategy and gameplay moments is awesome and I hope the community will be mature enough to handle this feature properly. I don't want to log into a message board to look for tips just to see front page spoilers for the game, which I am sure will undoubtedly happen.

All in all, it is looking like the Wii U is shaping up to compete well with the current market, but who knows what will happen to it once Microsoft and Sony release their future systems. If anyone could pull off this kind of attrition though, it is Nintendo. Here is hoping Nintendo. I raise my glass to you for being innovative. Let's just hope it doesn't back fire on you like the Wii did.