Tuesday, 7 June 2011

E3 2011: Nintendo Unveils Portable Wii U controller...

'Innovation' was certainly the watchword for Nintendo at this year's E3 conference. As well as giving us the lowdown on several new 3DS titles, including Mario Kart 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Cave Story 3D, Tekken 3D, amongst others, Nintendo proudly unveiled their plans for a brand new home console, known as the Wii U. (previously called the 'Wii 2').

It might seem odd to be talking about a home console on a blogsite which is usually so devoted to handheld gaming, but the Wii U comes with an extra little twist - The Wii U controller is actually a portable gaming tablet, which allows gamers to play their Wii U games without the need for a TV screen!

The controller features a 6.2 inch touchscreen, dual circle pads, control pad, D-pad, left and right shoulder buttons and a stylus. It also features a gyroscopic sensor, microphone and drawing pad functionality, which are all found on the standard portable Nintendo handhelds such as the DS lite or 3DS.

 The Wii U controller also allows you to play a special library of games specifically included on the controller itself, meaning that people can continue to game whilst in bedor when watching a TV programme, or anywhere else in the home you can think of. In fact, the only thing that marks the Wii U controller out from another portable gaming device is that it cannot be used outside the home.
However, the CEO and President of Nintendo America, Reggie Fils-Aime, was quick to explain that the Wii U should not be thought of as another portable console like the Nintendo DS or 3DS. Instead, the controller will work in conjunction with the Wii U console and will wirelessly interact with the main console (shown above).

The controller can also be used to enhance standard Wii U gameplay by acting as a magnifying glass. Can't see the enemy when trying to shoot if playing on your TV screen? No problem. Hold the Wii U controller over the TV screen and you'll get a close-up image of your opponent(s) on your controller instead.

Tilt or move the Wii U controller, and you will get a birdseye view of your in-game environments, meaning that you can see your targets, areas or goals (such as the Green in a game of  golf) or other players much more easily than before.

The Wii U controller will also allow you to share Internet information and make video calls to friends and family, providing what Nintendo called: " A tailor-made gaming experience"

It seems as though Nintendo have taken the most popular elements of the Wii and the best elements of the Nintendo 3DS and mixed them together to create something which, according to Fils-Aime is a "Unique, Unifying Utopia," which helps to create "deeper gameplay action".

The similarity between the new Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS consoles were also mentioned during the conference, with the two Wii U game titles - Super Smash Bros Brawl and Lego City Stories simultaneously being announced for the 3DS system as well.

Furthermore, there was talk of a game which would use inter-compatibility between the 3DS and the Wii U sometime in the future, but Nintendo refused to go into details about this at this point, preferring  to emphasise how both consoles were set to revolutionise the current gaming market instead.

The Wii U controller creates an interesting gaming hybrid and brings the gap between home console gaming and handheld gaming closer than ever before.

There are very few details about software for the new console at the moment, which is set to debut some time in 2012. Watch this Space!

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