Since last year’s debut of the system Nintendo has been reasonably tight-lipped on what to expect from their upcoming system, but finally today, two days prior to their E3 press conference, they have shown off more of what their new system can do.
First off, the Wii U Gamepad (which is the tablet-like controller debuted last year) has gone through a bit of a design change.
For starters, the circle pads shown on the previous incarnation of the controller have been switched out in favor of standard thumbsticks. In addition to that they’ve reworked the button placement to aid in making the controller comfortable to hold. Finally they’ve added a NFC Reader/Writer square, Satoru Iwata explained would allow cards to be scanned and used with the system. More details on this were not given.
The announcement that interested me most was that of the new Wii U Pro Controller. It was stated that all prior controllers would be usable with the Wii U, but now Nintendo will be releasing what is honestly a marriage of both the Xbox 360 controller and the Playstation 3 controller. As our writer Brad put it during the video “It’s like the took the 360 and PS3 controller, put them in a room and told them to fuck.” Simply put it’s a thing of beauty, which disturbs me that a standard controller is what most excites me with this system.
The Wii U Gamepad is still the focus of the system, which was made very clear during what amounts to the single most awkward, wtf commercial ever shown for a new console. A “gamer” who I shall refer to as this point as Mopey Jason is having trouble with Generic Zombie Screaming Shooting Gameand can’t get past the final boss. This is when Mopey Jason remembers the message board/Twitter-like features of the Wii U. With a simple post Jason is off and trying to find help for the game, which leads to a random cell phone call from a stranger and then live chatting using the pad with a creepy old man.
Honestly the only opinion I have of this is that it makes me think that Nintendo designers sat down and thought “Hmm, the Kinect seems to make some people uncomfortable, like they’re being watched. What can we do to confirm their fears?” Sure, I’m being paranoid, but it works for me; so back off.
My final thoughts on the system for today is that I like the Pro Controller, but still am unsure about the Wii U Gamepad. Honestly, I was so badly burned by the original Wii that I’m not sure I’m up to trusting Nintendo again.
Maybe, after they announce a price for the system I’ll be able to reevaluate my opinions, but for now I’m passing on their latest innovation.
Stay tuned on Tuesday June, 5th for our coverage of the Nintendo press conference happening at 9AM PST.
Updated: Here is the video if you would rather watch it yourself. Enjoy.