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Day 2 of E3

06/07/2011

Nintendo Wii-U controller - image from Joystiq

Nintendo Wii-U controller - image from Joystiq

Today was Day 2 of E3 (or Day 1, as the anal purists want to call it), and the big event that occured at the show was Nintendo’s keynote.

We already knew ahead of time that Nintendo was going to be revealing their brand new console for next year, codenamed “Project Cafe”. Rumors were swirling that this wasn’t a successor to the Wii but rather a successor to the GameCube, with graphics that would rival or surpass the PS3 and Xbox 360. Other rumors were that the new Nintendo console’s controllers would have a built in touchscreen. Still more rumors said that the new controllers would be wireless and be capable of playing games on their own, apart from the main Nintendo console.

And you know what? For the most part, the rumors were right. Halfway through the keynote, Nintendo revealed their 2012 console, the “Wii-U”. Can’t say I think all that highly about the name, and while the console is definitely more powerful (for some bizarre reason, Nintendo did not address the actual console at all during their keynote, merely the new controller) and finally in HD, the early rumors that this was not a successor to the Wii are clearly wrong, as “Wii” is clearly in the name. Oh well. I had hoped Nintendo would throw everyone for a loop and announce the “NES HD”, but oh well.

So the new Wii-U controller is an iPad type device with all the standard buttons and sticks of a regular controller. Great, but I can foresee problems with this set up, such as during Super Mario Galaxy, when abruptly you had to hold the controller sideways to steer Mario through a level. That control scheme wasn’t so great, and I don’t know if I ever beat the level before having to return the game and system to my friend. Designers, and especially Nintendo, will of course find a point in a game where you absolutely have to interact with the new control scheme and touch pad, thus breaking the flow of the game.

Joystiq has a hands-on with the Wii-U

Wii-U is coming out in 2012, so it may be premature for Nintendo to announce pricing plans just yet. But, if the Wii-U is capable of playing all previous Wii (and maybe GameCube) games on it, as well as using prior controllers, I may just hold off on buying another Wii and wait for the Wii-U.

I hate that name…

The Zelda opening montage was pretty cool; nice of them to bring an orchestra into the meeting. I thought some of the announcements for the Nintendo 3DS were pretty tight, as it’s looking like there will finally be some great games on the system. Sadly, though, I was most excited about the Nintendo Marketplace for old, classic GameBoy games. This Joystiq video of them running Super Mario Land on the 3DS made me pretty happy…

So that’s Day 2 of E3. No new announcements should be coming, but I’ll offer up some game thoughts tomorrow.

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