Controller


We already knew a lot about the Wii U based on previous hands-on time with the system and announcements from Nintendo. But now that we have the actual hardware in Opposable Thumbs HQ (read: my Pittsburgh apartment), we've noticed a few things that were a bit surprising. Here’s a quick, picture-filled look at some of those surprises. We’ll have much more Wii U coverage, including an in-depth review of the system and major games, as we get closer to the November 18 North American launch.

There’s a mystery connector at the bottom of the GamePad


In addition to a slot for the charger and a standard headphone jack at the top, the bottom of the tablet GamePad has a mysterious connector at the bottom. The user’s manual says this connector is for "controller accessories," but none have yet been announced. The connector is a thinner than the Wii Remote connector that was used for things like the Nunchuk and Classic Controller. Karaoke launch game We Sing doesn’t use it either—the microphone that comes with that game plugs into the USB slots on the base system. Curious...

UPDATE: Thanks to former Ars writer Ben Kuchera for pointing us towards yet another mystery connector on the back side of the GamePad, as shown above. The female screw hole in the middle of the controller's back ridge is very similar to the kind you'd see on a camera tripod, though the ridge would seem to get in the way of the base for most such tripods. The screw hole, and the divots next to it, line up with the mystery connector at the bottom in such a way that it looks like it could be used to secure a bulky accessory that latches in to both connectors and sits flush with the back of the GamePad. Our best guess at this point: an expanded battery pack to extend that three to five hour battery life...

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We already knew a lot about the Wii U based on previous hands-on time with the system and announcements from Nintendo. But now that we have the actual hardware in Opposable Thumbs HQ (read: my Pittsburgh apartment), we've noticed a few things that were a bit surprising. Here’s a quick, picture-filled look at some of those surprises. We’ll have much more Wii U coverage, including an in-depth review of the system and major games, as we get closer to the November 18 North American launch.

There’s a mystery connector at the bottom of the GamePad


In addition to a slot for the charger and a standard headphone jack at the top, the bottom of the tablet GamePad has a mysterious connector at the bottom. The user’s manual says this connector is for "controller accessories," but none have yet been announced. The connector is a thinner than the Wii Remote connector that was used for things like the Nunchuk and Classic Controller. Karaoke launch game We Sing doesn’t use it either—the microphone that comes with that game plugs into the USB slots on the base system. Curious...

UPDATE: Thanks to former Ars writer Ben Kuchera for pointing us towards yet another mystery connector on the back side of the GamePad, as shown above. The female screw hole in the middle of the controller's back ridge is very similar to the kind you'd see on a camera tripod, though the ridge would seem to get in the way of the base for most such tripods. The screw hole, and the divots next to it, line up with the mystery connector at the bottom in such a way that it looks like it could be used to secure a bulky accessory that latches in to both connectors and sits flush with the back of the GamePad. Our best guess at this point: an expanded battery pack to extend that three to five hour battery life...

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Metroid Blast on the Wii U

After Nintendo's E3 announcement event this morning, the company provided some time for the assembled press to check out a bunch of Wii U demo kiosks. While a lot of the games available had been previously shown at other press events, I took the opportunity to put the GamePad through its paces on a few new experiences.

First up was Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which Activision announced for the Wii U this morning. When I approached the CoD demo, it wasn't in perfect shape. The game was working fine when set up in a co-op multiplayer game (the GamePad displayed and controlled one player's view of the game, giving the TV over fully to the player using a Pro controller). But when the CoD rep tried to set me up with a single-player campaign using the GamePad as a controller, the game kept wanting to switch control over to the Pro Controller that other players were constantly fiddling with.

Enlarge / The display for single-player mode on the GamePad: fast access to menus, friends, and Killstreak bonuses.

When I could get the game to stay focused on the GamePad, I found that the screen on the controller let me quickly get to many in-game menus. Touchscreen buttons allowed me to switch classes and tweak controller settings on the fly, and also provided convenient access to Killstreak buttons to drop vehicles into the game as I earned them.

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Nintendo president Satoru Iwata holds the new Wii U controller design.

Promising that Nintendo's pre-E3 press conference on Tuesday will focus "almost entirely on games," company president Satoru Iwata used a streaming Web presentation today to announce new details about the unique tablet controller and social functions of the upcoming Wii U.

Iwata began a bit philosophically, showing a picture of a standard nuclear family sitting together in a living room, each member with their head buried in their own separate digital screens. "People are gathered together in the same room with friends and family, but they are not truly connected. They are paying more attention to their devices than each other."

Referencing Shelly Turkel's book Alone Together, he acknowledged that technology has improved our lives, but added that "we have to wonder what this will mean for the nature of human relationships moving forward."

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Unfortunate Wii Accident

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 Wii Accident

I have posted the code here: volderbeek.freeforums.org ***Please post any questions you have there on the forum rather than here on YouTube if the below links don’t help, I rarely check my inbox.*** A demonstration of what you can do with dexter0’s “Always Have Item” cheat and button activators in Mario Kart Wii. For those that are new to wii hacking, some links to get you started: -Twilight Hack- (No longer used, use Bannerbomb instead.) -Bannerbomb- wiibrew.org -Homebrew Channel- wiibrew.org -Ocarina (now part of Gecko OS)- wiibrew.org -Mario Kart Wii codes- www.usbgecko.com -more Mario Kart Wii codes- wiird.l0nk.org -even more Mario Kart Wii codes- volderbeek.freeforums.org button mappings used in this video: D-pad Up-Right: Triple Red Shells D-pad Right: Mega Mushroom D-pad Down-Right: Triple Bananas D-pad Down: Bullet Bill D-pad Down-Left: Lightning D-pad Left: Star Power D-pad Up-Left: Blue Shell also not shown in the video… Y: Gold Mushroom

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 Mario Kart Wii Item Wheel Hack