Nintendo’s newest offering to gaming gods 

The Wii U is the first console of the eighth generation of gaming

The Wii U is the first new system in the last six years and, in my opinion, could set Nintendo down a technological path its stockholders and fans don’t want to go down.

Before I continue, let’s talk about the Wii for a moment. Six years ago everybody was clamoring to get the Wii, which was sold out across the country. The Wii was a cultural phenomenon, though perhaps not much of a gaming one. Due to lackluster motion control and inferior technical specs, the Wii’s novelty wore off quickly.
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Soon Wii owners found themselves subjected to shelves of cleverly disguised “Mini-Game” based games that tried to recreate the excitement of Wii on Day 1. That isn’t to say the Wii didn’t herald solid games. Games like Super Smash Brothers: Brawl and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, were valiant entries, but the main draw to the Wii, the motion control, hindered the experience and was usually circumvented by way of a GameCube controller.

By the time the PlayStation Move and Microsoft Kinect hit the market, the Wii was obsolete and Nintendo seemed a shade of its Nintendo 64 glory days.

Six years later, Nintendo has once again come out with a technologically innovative system, but this time it is attempting to compete with Sony and Microsoft in the “Entertainment System” area. This system also marks the first console of the eighth generation of gaming. Also of note is that this has so far been the longest gap between gaming generations, which typically last five-six years. Only the Wii U has broken ice so far, with Microsoft and Sony offerings slated for 2013 and 2014 possibilities, though no official announcements have been made.

The Wii U boasts a system similar to the PlayStation Store or the Xbox Marketplace, as well as a slew of other entertainment apps (such as Facebook and Netflix), all of which are features that Microsoft and Sony both perfected years ago.

Essentially, the Wii U stands on two foundations: Nintendo’s iconic characters and the Wii U’s controller.

Diehard fans will clamor to grab the latest game in the Zelda or Mario series no matter what system they have to endure.

The Wii U’s controller, which has a LCD screen embedded within it, offers an upgraded motion control from that of the original Wii but allows portions of the game to slink off-screen onto the controller itself. For example, in ZombieU, the Wii U’s zombie survival launch title, the second screen is utilized as both a map and a scope when sniping. While the action of sniping a zombie through a digital scope is cool, I imagine the novelty of the second screen will eventually wear off, just like the second screen on the Nintendo DS did.

At the same time, I hope it never does. Sadly, if the novelty of the second screen wears off, the Wii U finds itself as another entertainment system, and that’s a race where the competitors have a four-year head start.

For now, the Wii U remains a fun new device that shows much promise. Hopefully Nintendo will continue to keep the titles varied and interesting, while promoting a distinct flavor of gaming that’s depth lies beyond the motion control.

0 Responses to Nintendo’s newest offering to gaming gods

  1. Roger J. Henning, PhD

    It is worth noting that the Wii has been an institution at Senior citizen centers, especially assisted living and memory care units, mainly by the over 75 crowd. The reason? The games on the Wii were very simple and intuitive to play, especially those the partially reproduce the active games of their youth, bowling, golf, tennis, baseball, and the like. In addition, the elderly crowd that completly missed the video games of the past were unwilling in most cases to take on first person shooters or adventure games that required learning new ways of using controllers. Almost every senior living unit in Las Vegas has active teams (most have bowling and golf and some may have tennis and baseball as well) where they compete in-house as well as against other senior citizen centers.
    While Xbox and Playstation are aimed directly at the gamers, the “old” Wii system was best accepted by the elementary school children and the “very elderly” senior citizens. While I don’t know if Wii is still popular with children, it is still the system of choice for our most elderly citizens. I wonder if the new Wii U system will be simple enough for them or if they will stick with the tried and true Wii.


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