Nintendo's Wii U Aims to Redefine Gaming (Again)

E3 2011

Released back in 2006, Nintendo redefined the landscape forever with the announcement of the Wii, leading a revolution of sorts. Video gaming had long been the bastion of boys-to-men gamers with a penchant for 1st person shooters, strategy titles, sports and action-adventure. But in just the blink of a start screen, a whole new demographic of casual gamers evolved around the popularity of a gaming system, creating a whole new wireless-interactive titles which are still popular today across all ages and genders. At this week's 2011 E3, Nintendo unveiled the successor to the Wii, the Wii U, building upon the success and technology with a controller that could be best compared to the offspring of a Wii controller and an iPad. Here's our hands-on impressions from the show...First things first, the initial response to the unveiling of the revolutionary Wii U controller we noted echoed all across the blog/twittersphere was, "that thing looks HUGE!". Right and wrong. Yes, the 6.2" touchscreen controller is big…about the size of a Samsung Galaxy Tab. But despite its size, in hand, the Wii U's controller felt comfortable and light, offering grips and a traditional controller trigger+button configuration underneath that keep it well in control even while gyrating and adding body english that undoubtedly comes with playing games designed around motion and an internal gyroscope.

The console itself is about the size of a small hardbound book (we love how discrete it looks compared to the Xbox 360 and PS3), but it was mostly kept out of reach or tucked away at the console kiosks from prying hands/eyes. We do know an IBM multi-core microprocessor and an AMD video processor powers the upcoming 2012 system, pumping out 1080p video through HDMI connection, titles released on a proprietary 25GB disc, four USB ports for accessorizing.

The controller's touchscreen presents gamers with a vibrant display and works much like an iPad; the coolest feature is the implementation of screen mirroring augmented reality, allowing gamers to look above and to the side beyond their television screen, basically extending the playing field well beyond the confines of traditional games. Just imagine horror titles where ghouls and ghosts could lurk around a virtual corner and only unveil themselves when the gamer twists the controller to "look".

Sports titles will obviously benefit from the inclusion of this additional touchscreen system (call out all Madden fans), optimizing play calling and maybe even offering 1st person perspective on the smaller screen, while a more expansive view of gameplay would occur on the main display. The opportunities discussed by attendees previewing the system on the show floor revealed a strong enthusiasm for what is in store for both avid hardcore gamers and casual gamers alike.

More to come...

Our favourite title previewed (and which caused the most rowdy raucous hoots and hollers amongst attendees inside Nintendo's booth) was Wii U Chase Mii.

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