Nintendo Wii U - Console and Controller
I'll start off by saying that I have been a huge Nintendo fan for as long as I can remember. I like innovation, new ideas, companies trying new things, but I am also a realist. These things need to be fool proof, need to work properly, and most importantly, they need to DELIVER! This applies to any company out there, trying to sell any product. While the Nintendo Wii has been immensely popular with the general public due to its "mass playability," but the same feeling hasn't been shared by all of the game developers.

Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku stated the following about how the Wii fell behind on their promise:

"Wii games were never as interactive as that initial trailer promised—we never jumped behind sofas. The console ended up with a heavy casual game focus, and there was poor third party support—both of which Nintendo hopes to rectify with the Wii U."

The challenge Nintendo still faces with the Wii U

A Wii-owning friend of mine stated the following regarding Super Mario Galaxy:

"You shake the remote to spin. In a few levels you move by tilting the remote. That's it."

I couldn't have summed up my thoughts any better about the state of Nintendo's "motion" approach to gaming. Nintendo themselves never attempted anything TRULY UNIQUE with their games, and neither did developers. In result, the Wii has lost support from some major developers throughout the years. Continue reading for more thoughts...

The fact of the matter is that making unique games for a single "unique" console is plenty more difficult than the standard Xbox 360/PS3 process. Now, developers not only have to develop for 2 screens, but the 2nd screen which happens to be a controller with a full-list of sensors, cameras, and whatnot! The potential for extremely complex interaction from controller to TV is stellar. What are some things I think people will NEVER get accustomed to with the Wii U?

  • Using the Wii U controller to zoom websites. I can't think of something more annoying than having to constantly refocus my eyes on different screens, looking for and trying to get the right thing to appear on my controller screen.
  • Using the Wii U controller to play sports games. During Nintendo's E3 presentation, they demoed playing golf by placing the controller on the floor to "feel" the ball in front of you when trying to interact with it. Seriously? The Wii U controller will NOT improve the old/fake sports playing experience one bit, unless you're 7.
  • Using the Wii U controller screen to primary drive gameplay. The main thing I see developers doing with the controller screen are things like item selection, changing weapons, issuing touch-based and/or 1-button commands to your virtual pet, and so forth. Throwing ninja stars and using the controller screen to snipe your opponents in a FPS? Yes, maybe once in a blue moon.

I commend developers who will prove me wrong and completely blow me away. Ken Levine, the Creative Director of Irrational Games said "...when any new technology comes along, you have the spirit of experimentation." Sorry, Ken, but I saw almost none of that spirit with the Wii, and I am doubting I will see any more with the Wii U.

This time, maybe Nintendo won't wimp out of creating a revolutionary Super Mario title, and back up their seemingly revolutionary approach to gaming with a few bangs.

With all that said, I leave you with a LOL (that may not be so funny if you think deeply about it): The Greatest Prank Nintendo Ever Pulled.

UPDATE 3/19/2011:

Nintendo's Satoru Iwata recently stated in an interview that games utilizing a 2nd Wii U controller aren't yet being considered, because it would be too expensive to sell to customers. Do you know what this means? Kids (as well as adults) around the world will always be fighting each other for the single Wii U controller. The losers will be stuck with an old, less-cool, Wiimote. Read the Engadget post here.

Expensive? EXPENSIVE? ARE YOU SERIOUS!??!! This, to me, sounds like a big fat lie. I think that the real reason why a 2nd controller isn't being considered is because of development complexity, and the possibility that the console can't handle MULTIPLE Wii U controllers without it being bogged down. How many screens can a single Wii U console process for and output unique content for each player (board games aside!)?