After a hectic morning, I sit down to watch the Nintendo Press Conference with a renewed vigor. I was excited to finally hear about the new system Nintendo has developed — rumored to be just a step up from current consoles, giving something to the hardcore crowd. What exactly was their gimmick this time around that was going to sell millions and allow them to keep the crown? As excited as I was, the best things are usually saved for lasted, and this time, I would have to wait for the goodies I sought.
In usual Nintendo fashion, they opened up with glimpses into their first party line-up, including Luigi Mansion, Kid Icarus and was that Zelda in high definition!? Precursor of things to come, I hoped. President Reggie Fils-Amie then walked out and opened up with the Nintendo 3DS talk. The primary focus was on the uniqueness of the 3DS (rolls eyes), and they top it off by announcing, you guessed it, more first party titles, including Mario Kart 3D, Star Fox 64 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising and Luigi Mansion 2. All looked fabulous and unique. Even in 2D Recording, I could see how 3D was utilized and how it offered a unique experience with the various design of the levels and camera angles. They showed various other third-party titles that would make an appearance on the 3DS.
Overall, the presentation thus far gave me the usual Nintendo being Nintendo vibe, and what I mean by that is that they put their stuff right up front and really talk it up, while the rest of the third-party games only got brief glimpses in film reel trailer fashion. I really wish they would stop shoving third parties aside and really embrace them and give them a little more press. That is one of the reasons I really don’t follow Nintendo. I’m tired of Mario, Pokemon, Zelda and all the other games and their fifty million iterations/remastered versions of them. Despite my Nintendo rage, the show went on. They unveiled details of their eShop that will sport a virtual console application built to run older GBA and GBC games. Good for people who want the old stuff, but otherwise, nothing to write home about — especially after seeing the PS Vita the previous night.
Wrapping up pretty quickly, they moved onto introducing the new console, now named the Wii U. At first, I thought the U meant university; as in ‘the grown man’s console’ but come to found out U meant ‘you’ — PR babble that the next console will be for you. Anyway, they showcased the new controller, which is like a combination of controller/tablet/portable machine… well, it does a lot of things. The controller has a thumbstick at each upper corner of the device, with a D-pad below on the left side and four buttons on the right, peculiarly below the thumbstick. A front facing camera, a gyroscope, accelerometer, speakers with the bulk of the controller housing a 6.2 inch Hi-res touchscreen. More tablet looking than a traditional controller and with the out of the box design, the ideas of what they designed for you to do with it is grand. You’ll be able to stream a game from the Wii U to the controller allowing an uninterrupted experience if someone hijacks your T.V. Utilizing the rear camera you can point the controller at the screen for improved functionality such as zooming in on a sniper rifle, magnifying a web page, catch a ball in baseball and many other things. You can also use the controller as a second screen by picking plays in a sports game, managing inventory space, throwing weapons from the screen into the game on the T.V. You can make video calls and talk face to face with someone also using a Wii U. They are really pushing the imagination line. Taking a break from the controller they show off a video demonstrating the graphical Wii U and it looks absolutely amazing, it impressed me. Then they show what the developers are making for the Wii U and the titles are strong with games like Darksiders, Batman Arkham City, Super Smash Brothers along with EA promising titles for the Wii U as well.
What concerned me after all the goodness is that they didn’t talk about the actual console at all or give some tech specs for it and later on Thisismynext confirmed that the videos from the third-party publishers were Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the games and when asked about the graphical power of the Wii U by Thisisnextnext Reggie Fils-Amie kind of dodged the question only stating that the Wii U is finally a 1080P device. They really championed the controller leaving me to think how capable will the console be. The controller alone looks very expensive leading me to question how they are going to make the package affordable. As good as the console announcement was and the excitement I felt for it, I was left with a lot of questions. Overall a B-.