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The Wii U is not really new
Posted on December 06, 2011 by

 

Nearly everyone had a hard time wrapping their heads around the Nintendo Wii U when it made its big debut at E3 back in June.  The same question kept being asked over and over again: “Just what the hey are we going to do with this new thing?”  As of this writing, we haven’t heard any new information from Nintendo regarding their new system.  For now, nearly everybody outside of Nintendo is still scratching their heads.

I had an interesting epiphany while playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D on my 3DS a few months ago.  I had just acquired the slingshot, and I was eager to get shooting.  I tapped the icon on the touch screen to bring it up and used the analog control to aim as I had done so many times before.  I was surprised to find that I could also aim by moving the 3DS itself around.  Cool.  I quickly went to Hyrule Castle to try this new control scheme out at the target-shooting game and won it on the second try after missing only one Rupee on my first attempt.  Very cool.

That episode made me think about the similarities between the Wii U and the 3DS, and you know what?  The 3DS pretty much is the Wii U.  Don’t believe me?  Check it out:

 

 

Nintendo Wii U

Nintendo 3DS

Interface

Touchscreen and Buttons

Touchscreen and Buttons

Controls

2 Circle Pads

1 Circle Pad

(2 with Circle Pad Pro add-on)

 

D-Pad

D-Pad

 

4 face buttons

4 face buttons

 

4 shoulder buttons

2 shoulder buttons

(4 with Circle Pad Pro add-on)

Cameras

1 Front-Facing

1 Front-Facing, 2 Back-Facing

Displays

2: TV, touchscreen

2: 3D screen, touchscreen

Other

Gyroscope

Gyroscope

 

Accelerometer

Accelerometer

 

Microphone

Microphone

 

Built In Speakers

Built In Speakers

 

So yeah, just remove the top screen from the Nintendo 3DS, make the touch screen bigger, bolt on some extra buttons, a second Circle Pad, and ta-daa, you have a Wii U…or more than likely, a broken 3DS.

If we think of the 3DS as a Wii U, the concept behind the Wii U becomes a lot easier to process.  Remember when the Wii U demo video showed it being used as an inventory screen or for aiming?  We’ve already done those things.  We’ve been using touch screens and accelerometers to play games for years on the DS and on cell phones.  The 3DS and Wii U just combine those things into devices that are primarily used for playing games instead of a general-purpose device that just happens to play games like an iPod Touch or tablet.

In addition to seeing what the big boys can do with Nintendo’s Next Big Thing, I am intrigued to see what indie devs end up doing with those devices.  One common complaint continually levied against mobile gaming is the lack of depth found in many hit mobile games.  Now that consoles exist that have the same controls found on mobile devices, will mobile devs be taking advantage of their extra processing power and storage space to bring deeper experiences to gamers?

Of course, none of the Wii U’s features are final as of this writing, so this analogy could fall to pieces when it is all said and done.  All we can do, is wait and see until next E3!

What's your most anticipated game for March?

Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation
Tom Clancy's The Division
Hitman
EA Sports UFC 2
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus
Samurai Warriors 4 Empires
MLB The Show 16
Pokken Tournament
Killer Instinct Season 3
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