E3 2011: No, Wii U!
So apparently E3 happened? I wasn’t entirely sure that was true after reading about Microsoft and Sony’s press conferences. I’m still not really convinced anything happened at the beginning of the week. The NGP is now the PS Vita and every game franchise imaginable is either in 3D or playable by dancing in front of a Kinect. That’s cool. Possibly the most interesting thing for me from these two was the PlayStation TV. A 3D, split screen HD LCD with Resistance 3 all for $500? Not bad. Uncharted 3 also looked great, but that was a given.
E3 actually started when Nintendo stole the show with the interesting, yet oddly named, Wii U.
As the title of this article suggests, I’m giving my impressions from the other side of the United States based on screen shots, testimonials and videos. I’m also making assumptions made soon after the conferences finished, so things can change throughout the next few months or years.
However, I truly believe that Nintendo has done it again. The Wii U will dominate the market in 2012, and even if it doesn’t, it won’t cost Nintendo much money to build. Like the Wii, Nintendo is using current generation hardware to power the Wii U. Rather than being two Gamecubes duct taped together, the Wii U is said to have the graphical capabilities of the PS3 or Xbox 360, which are five and six years old respectively. Nintendo doesn’t plan on pushing the boundaries of graphics technology yet again, which in the end won’t cost much to build the machine nor put a hefty burden on the consumer.
Even still, the quality of the graphics presented in the tech demos didn’t disappoint. They’re not going to make anyone abandon their DirectX 11 liquid nitrogen cooled desktop any time soon, but they’re a massive improvement over the Wii. The Zelda tech demo in particular seems to have brought all of my fantasies into reality. The game looked fantastic and exactly what I dreamed an HD Zelda game would look like. Now if only that, Mario and a new Metroid Prime would be released at the Wii U’s launch…
The other, more important reason I’m confident that Nintendo will succeed rests with the new Wii U controller. My initial reaction to the controller was to shake my head disdainfully and move on to the hardware itself. I’m quite over motion controls and gimmicks so I wanted nothing to do with a terribly uncomfortable looking tablet with buttons. Later, when I read the actual information about the controller, my opinion did a 180. What Nintendo has here is a console that doesn’t require a TV to play. Video is streamed to the controller’s 6.2in touchscreen, supposedly in an HD resolution. Depending upon the range that means you could tuck your Wii U away somewhere and enjoy an HD quality game in bed, lounging on the sofa, or out in the yard. That’s big. From what I hear Nintendo hasn’t spared any expenses in the quality of the screen itself. It will be interesting to learn about the touch capabilities of the screen. The controller also has a camera and microphone for video chat, which seems pretty superfluous, but could make for some zany, gimmicky fun.
This controller is not only revolutionary, it’s also optional. There’s no reason to not play Mario 1080p on your 60in LCD, and even better is the fact that your entire 800 piece plastic Wii accessory collection covered in dust in the basement will work with the Wii U. Plus, the Wii U is said to be backwards compatible with all Wii games. All Nintendo needs to do now is announce that my $400 collection of downloaded classic games can be transferred over and Reggy can have a blank check made out to him from me with love. Even better would be that the internal storage is something much greater than 512MB.
I’d also like to mention that while I think the 3DS is great, I haven’t had much impetus to go and buy one. Tanooki Mario in a game from the Mario Galaxy team has quickly remedied that problem too.
The winner of E3? Me? I mean Wii? U? Yes.