Weve had a taste, digested all the information about the Wii U - heres what we think.

Nintendo has served up another console and its initial reveal was a little bit patchy, but at least there were some good games to back it up? Well, not quite. The Wii U has given us more questions to be answered, not only about the console but how it’s all going to work. We’ve collected our thoughts on it, let’s see if it matches up with yours perhaps.


Daniel Vuckovic’s thoughts - A week after E3 and my mind is still trying to settle on what I think about the Wii U. It’s hard to judge something when your first reaction to it one of bemusement and a gigantic facepalm. That was my reaction to the controller to start with. I knew it was coming, obviously I don’t think that now, but when I saw it, then Wii level graphics followed by little novel ideas like playing Othello on it, using it for a patch of sand with a golf ball, it was like - really Nintendo? Really?

The problem is, Nintendo did a really piss poor job of showing off the console to the point where I was wondering if it was a new controller just for the Wii and I know many people were the same. Luckily as information was digested, more things shown off it started to become a bit more clear. This new console might actually have some good ideas.

The four big things that weigh on my mind about the console so far are the controller, online, third party support and finally multiplayer with the one console. Firstly overall the controller, the big selling point of the console and in my mind, it is a solid one. It’s a point of difference and something new out there. No other console has it and it’s feature packed in what it can do. We know Nintendo will make use of it, but will anyone else bother? This also ties into multiplayer, we’re only allowed to use one of the controller per console - that seems odd. Then again this is Nintendo and while they pioneered split screen gaming - perhaps it really is dead and Wii U gaming will be the next big thing.


Online support and third party support, two things I believe that now rely on each other. Most developers didn’t want to touch the Wii due to the lack of power, now that they don’t have that excuse anymore, Nintendo just need to make sure their online is up to scratch and so far with the 3DS we’ve seen steps towards that being the case - but it’s not all the way there.

My current feeling with the Wii U is that I want to see more. I don’t need to play it as much because I understand how it works - what I want to play is games that make me WANT to play it. Show me the software Nintendo and third parties, don’t hold back. Until then - I remain cautious, excited and a little hungry. 

Phantom Ganon’s thoughts - For me, if I had one word to describe it, it’d be potential. But I have more than one word so I’ll elaborate.

We tend to say this a lot about Nintendo systems lately. The potential to make brilliant games. In some ways, I can agree with people describing the whole control scheme as a giant, lounge room DS. After all, the DS had one of the greatest game libraries of recent times. But the system can’t merely "port" DS ideas over to itself. For one thing, the two DS screens are centimetres away from each other, darting ones eyes from one to the other is quite easy compared to moving your eyes from a screen in your hand to one across the room. But I can still see the potential.

For example, an example I’ve used in another feature article, a Metroid Prime game where your TV screen always represents Samus’s combat visor and as you’re playing with traditional controls, the screen is simply the map of the area along with perhaps a radar and some HUD things. Then if you feel the need to scan something, as you point the controller at the TV screen, the screen on the controller becomes your scan visor ready to scan anything you point at. It would be so quick and simple, if an enemy were to attack you as you were looking for something to scan, you’d simply lower the controller and fight off the threat (unless you wanted to scan the enemy in which case, point in its direction). It really does seem like something that could be used for a gaming purpose. Of course, developers will have to be very careful to use it right. No doubt we’ll get poor examples of the Wii U controller in action. For one thing, I’m not a fan of the way Killer Freaks from Outer Space utilises the gyroscope to look up and down. It seems redundant when you have a slide pad at your thumb which will do the job with a great deal of more accuracy. One thing that is noteworthy though is that Killer Freaks from Outer Space is at a very early build, so things will change and perhaps a demo at next year’s E3 will change this.

On to the actual controller, like most people I was apprehensive when I saw it myself. I was not one to buy into the rumours that Nintendo have a full 6-inch touch screen on their controller. I honestly thought that a touch screen similar to the size of the DS would work. But with the streaming capabilities of the console and the fact that you can continue to play your game if someone wants the TV (a very real prospect for some and a laughable one for others) means that a screen of that size is quite useful. This streaming capability I can see being useful in games where you can’t save immediately (Metroid Prime is a good example in this case as well). I, for one, would not settle for playing on the smaller screen for long and would simply use the small screen play to find myself a save point and quit the game. Other complaints about the controller revolve around the lack of analog sticks and triggers. While the former I feel is the general gamer’s tendency of being afraid of something different to control movement whereas the analog sticks have become an industry staple for console games (ironically by Nintendo themselves), the lack of trigger buttons are a legitimate concern. More for things that require input of that sort such as acceleration in a racing game, but still I don’t think it would be too hard for Nintendo to place pressure sensitive triggers in place of two of the shoulder buttons/back buttons on the system. Luckily for us, the system is still a while away and I think if developers have real problems, Nintendo will change the controller around a little bit. The size of the controller does not bother me as I don’t think it’s quite as big as what it seems and most impressions from E3 have not found it cumbersome.

The graphical power of the system seems at the moment to be a tad more powerful than the current generation of consoles. I think this will be a good enough point for the multiplatform games to come to Nintendo’s system (along with the fact that it’s going to have an early install base compared with the competition). But we didn’t get too many examples of the grunt of the system, which is very Nintendo as they’re not too fussed how powerful their system is as long as the developers are happy to develop for them. Though judging by that Zelda tech demo, we’re going to be getting some good looking games from Nintendo. We also got no news on the sound but surely by now it’d be a given that the system would be able to do full surround sound in the same way it can perform in native 1080p.

The online was another thing not touched upon much either this time around and it’s something I hope will be addressed at next year’s E3. By the sounds of things, it seems third parties will be responsible for their own online system for their games, which could end up very good or quite terrible depending on other factors. For one, while Nintendo can leave the online structure of specific games up to the development of third parties, they’ll still need at least a barebones structure to centralise it all. A friends list which tells you what you’re friends are playing at any time (like the 3DS) and one where you can send messages and game invites to them would honestly be sufficient for a free service.

For now though, there’s going to be a lot of speculation and a lot of exaggerations about what the system is doing right and wrong. The system is still over a year for release so hopefully we will get a much better look at the Wii U at next year’s E3.



Excite’s thoughts
-It was always going to be interesting to see where Nintendo would go after motion controls, and I think it was inevitable that they would turn to technology that we’re already familiar with this time (which happens to be touch screens), but presenting a new way to use it (the innovation part). As such, my expectations for the new console were quite modest. I was hoping that the Wii’s successor would play my Wii games, and Nintendo delivered. I was hoping that it would output in high definition, and Nintendo delivered. I was hoping that it would take cues from the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 and present a greater online experience, and apparently Nintendo’s working on that too. I was also hoping that the name would be different, and not contain "Wii" in it, but given the system’s backwards compatibility with Wii games and all the accessories, I guess it doesn’t warrant an entirely new brand.

But it makes think, will the Wii U be enough of an improvement on the Wii that it will be taken seriously by third-party developers? Will we be left on the sidelines once again when it comes to the big multi-platform releases? Nintendo’s penchant for being different has served its bottom line well so far, but now that it’s kinda hit the technological ceiling with motion controls, will the new system do enough to woo the "hardcore" crowd? The words "1080p" and "better online" say yes.

As far as the controller is concerned, Nintendo’s tried to cram every possible feature one expects to see on a portable device these days. Touch screen? Check. Analog sticks? Check. Accelerometer? Check. Front- and rear-facing cameras? Check. It’s the controller that will try and do everything. As always, the onus is on developers to come up with some great software to take advantage of the new control scheme. I’m already loving the idea of having an immersive console experience in the comfort of my bed (or wherever else I bloody want) without having to turn on the TV and disturb others. It’s great to see how far wireless technology in video game systems has come, and we should not take it for granted. I honestly believe it’s the best thing to happen to consoles since the analog stick. As much as the new control scheme has great potential, it’s not going to work for every type of game. I’ll still want to play first-person shooters the "traditional" way, with my Classic Controller Pro, and I’m sure the touch screen controller will just be an extra option for those so inclined.

It’s disappointing that Nintendo didn’t reveal much more about the Wii U at E3. I was waiting for the money shot of Satoru Iwata holding up the system! We didn’t even see a proper picture of the console until after the conference, and speaking of the console, it’s not exactly the smexiest little bugger. All in all, I was sold at the words "high definition" and I’m looking forward to Nintendo’s future announcements about the system.



Daniel Miller’s thoughts
- After watching the E3 presentation and hands-on impressions from the show floor, I’m still not quite sure of what to think of the Wii U. The name is alright. I guess we should have seen it coming as they are now using the Wii and DS names as brand names, a la Game Boy - 3DS & Wii U.

What I don’t get about Nintendo is why the entire emphasis of the presentation had to be about the controller. There was not one second explaining that it was a new console, and not just a Wii controller accessory. Frankly, I see it as an HD Wii with a touch screen controller. Neither of those things interest me very much. The Wii was interesting and exciting at first, but then after it was characterised by a flood of casual games and lack of hardcore games, I soon lost interest, instead turning to the 360 for a competent online system and a slew of hardcore games.

Comments by developers such as Epic Games also have me worried. Sure, the Wii U is supposedly slightly more powerful than the 360 and the PS3, but as stated by developers, is there a market on the Wii U for hardcore gamers? Why would hardcore gamers buy the Wii U version of the next Assassin’s Creed when they can get it on the 360 or PS3 and play with all their buddies on Xbox Live or PSN? Nintendo hasn’t shown off one of the most important things about the Wii U, its online system. Nintendo is in last place when it comes to having an online presence; I’ve seen nothing to show me they’ve learnt something in the last few years. Even the 3DS is not great online; there is no messaging, interaction or sense of community.

The touch screen controller idea Nintendo is going with is interesting, but nothing at the show wowed me and made me think "Aha! I want to play like that." The Wii Remote had the opposite effect. The idea of swinging a sword or a tennis racket around instantly sold me. I guess I need to wait and see more software that proves a controller like this needs to exist. There are three big points going against it though. No multi-touch, no traditional analog sticks, and no analog triggers. Multi-touch seems a given if you want to capture the iPad crowd with downloadable games on the Wii U. It’d be a much better choice of technology if there are games that plan to use people’s thumbs and fingers rather than a stylus. Also, the Circle Pad is all well and good on the 3DS where space is a problem, but traditional analog sticks are much better. There’s no reason for Circle Pads to be on the Wii U’s controller. And lastly, a big one, if I read correctly, the two triggers on the back of the controller are not analog. If you play any racing games at all you will know that analog triggers are essential, as a little pressure on the trigger will mean a smaller rate of acceleration. But with digital buttons it’s either on or off. I’m sure there are other genres that use analog triggers a lot as well.

I’ll keep my mind open. I think we need to find out a lot more details about the Wii U and see some actual games before the controller will make a lot more sense and make this a must-have. Nintendo also needs to show off a sophisticated online system, and they need to address the issue with the digital controller triggers. So I’m interested in the Wii U, but I’m not so certain it’s for me.