E3 coverage - day two
You have to hand it to Nintendo, while they may not be the number one choice for hardcore gamers, choosing to focus on fitness and family titles as opposed to RPGs and fighting games, they know their strengths and have done incredibly well.
The Nintendo Wii proved a massive success since its launch in 2006, but a decline in console sales in the last couple of years and a somewhat lacklustre uptake of the Nintendo 3DS has left Nintendo in a spot where they need to prove that casual gaming has not lost its fan base to handhelds like the iPod Touch and other mobile devices. We knew the console’s new upgrade, the Wii U, was going to be announced this year, and it’s definitely caught my interest.
The truth is this: Yes, you’re still going to look silly playing it. Anyone who’s played the Wii knows that you do feel a little silly waving a white remote around, flailing your arms in the hope you will beat the continually-cheating computer opponent at a game of tennis… But it was well received because it was a bit silly. The Wii was a little bit quirky, unusual, and strangely wonderful because it was all of those things. And the Wii U builds on that, but helps to bring Nintendo back in line with their other two competitors.
The controller is unusual, with its integrated touchscreen that will form an integral part of gaming on the console. I can see its applications; mainly, for games like Legend of Zelda, where having a map on another screen when you get lost in the Water Temple again will be beneficial, or for easy-view access to scores during competitive games. The controller also has motion sensing, which will undoubtedly mean a lot of waving the controller round in a desperate last-lap attempt to win at Mario Kart.
But Nintendo definitely have worked hard to win back adult gamers this time round, and to shy away from its image as a childrens’ console. With titles like Batman Arkham City, Mass Effect 3 and Assassins Creed III all coming to the Wii U, the console is certainly on a par with the other consoles out now, which will appeal to gamers and developers: hopefully cementing a great library of titles for the Wii U over the coming years.
Nintendo may not have dropped the motion gaming all together, they have instead made it more relevant to gaming tastes. By adding ‘pro’ controller support (a Wii U peripheral without the touch screen), updated graphics and some great titles that previously were not offered for Nintendo’s console, this will undoubtedly be on many people’s wishlists at Christmas this year, when the console is expected to debut.