E3 2011: Why the Wii U is definitely the perfect games console, and why it's also definitely an utter disaster

A GamesRadar Editor's schizophrenic inner turmoil, laid bare for your amusement

So, Nintendo has a new machine then. It's a proper, serious, hardcore-specced HDpowerhouse with a full set of real controller inputs and a stack of high-profile third-party developer support. Nintendo has shown off a real-time Zelda demo that would bemind-blowing evenif it was a first-party PS3 game. Batman: Arkham City is coming out for it. It's getting Battlefield 3. Bioshock creator Ken Levine loves it.

It also has a controller the size of a paving stone, with half an iPad built into the middle, along with a camera, a gyroscope, speaker, microphone, and touch-pen. This is one hell of a machine, with one hell of a lot to think about. Insane genius? Triumphant return to real gaming by Nintendo? Swiss Army console mess? Gimmicky shambles? Too little, too late? All of these possibilities are completely plausible.

I've been conflicted since I saw it, so rather than write a traditional feature I've written out the internal argument I've been having inside my head all day. It makes me sound a bit schizophrenic, but hey, worst-case scenario is that covering the wholefight here will save the fanboy flame-baiters a lot of time in the coming months.

Finally, Nintendo has a competetive hardcore console with mega-power and the full range of HD outputs. Seriously, have you seen the graphical output of this thing? Some are even saying it looks more powerful than a PS3. Nintendo is back in the game!

No-one knows that it has mega-power. All we've seen so far is a bunch of HD Miis and an admittedly lovely-looking current-gen Zelda demo. Nintendo hasn't revealed anything specific about its full capabilities. That bird demo at the press conference looked suspiciously pre-rendered, and the third-party showreel didn't show anything in excess of standard Xbox 360 fare. Don't get excited yet. Remember the Killzone 2 target footage? Hell, remember that Link vs. Ganon demo for the Gamecube?

Well regardless of whether it is significantly more powerful than the current HD consoles, what matters is that a Nintendo machine that at least measures up in terms of horsepower AND has proper games coming for it. Nintendo has realised that having traditional controls is important, and the Wii U has them. Yeah, it still has gimmicks for the masses, but this time around the innovative bit could actually do some really cool stuff.

The controller looks about as ergonomic as a brick, and those gimmicks are nothing that the PS3 couldn't theoretically do by streaming a display to the PS Vita. The crusty old PSP can already do remote play. Vita's extra power will make Wii U-style stuff easy. Again, Nintendo has taken a basic, existing idea, presented it as new, and managed to impress the world's idiots in the process.

Not at all. The Vita's smaller screen will mean that any attempt to emulate the Wii U's functionality will be a pale imitation. The hardware just wasn't designed for that stuff. Nintendo is providing a much better, custom-designed set of hardware, but integrating all of that functionality right out of the box on a single system. It will serve the purpose better, and will probably be way more affordable than buying a PS3 and a Vita to go along with it.

Yeah, well I don't want to use any of that sucky weird shit anyway. I'm a grown man with my own TV. I have no-one to answer to in regards to its usage. Screw your alternative game display. And besides, a lot of that other 'innovative' functionality they showed off last night was just basic controller functionality given a quirky visual display. You know you're not REALLY throwing a photo at your TV screen, or hurling a ninja star at a tree, right? You're just using the touch screen as a glorified controller button to transfer data or fire a weapon.

You're missing the point. This is a console for everyone. Nintendo realises that it messed up by making the Wii's interface so casual-exclusive and is now making a console that you can turn into anything you want, just by the way you choose to use it. You don't want that stuff? Then it's not for you. Justuse the controller as a controller and play Battlefield instead.

Like providing for an ecelectic audience is a big thing? Sony has always been about providing for everyone, and I already have a PS3. Sony just doesn't make a song and dance about having a healthy portfolio, or act as if it's some kind of crazy big deal. Don't try to make it sound impressive that Nintendo isn't actually excluding half of its audience this time around.

True, Sony does a good job, but with the Wii U you don't need to buy anything in terms of hardware after the console itself. No Move controller, no camera, no keypad add-on, no buzzer controllers, no Kinect. From day one it will be able to provide the eclectic spread of experiences that it takes other consoles years to accrue the ability to produce. And the completeness of the controller's design concept means that it'll do a stack-load of things that Sony and Microsoft haven't even thought of peripherals for.

With a big, handheld touch-screen and a proper controller it'll even play the sort of games that have arguably been eating into Nintendo's traditional market over the last few years via the advent of widespread smart phones. But it will do them better. Sorry, Apple. It's basically a hardcore home console, tablet computer, monitor, handheld console, camera, motion controller and streaming media hub all in one. The potential is huge.

The potential of the Wii was supposed to be huge as well.

Yeah, but that was hamstrung by being too specific in what its hardware was designed to do.

Oh come on, let's think realistically here. As soon as you introduceany non-traditional game interface, you know what you get. A few impressive first-party examples of its use, a load of lazy third-party ports with the odd superfluous gimmick tacked on, and then everyone forgets all about it. All that potential you're talking about is going to get wasted.

Hang on a minute. You're writing off the most versatile-out-of-the-box home console we've ever seen before anyone's done anything with it? The issues you've just mentioned are only issues if the gimmick is all the machine has going for it. This is a proper console with all that stuff as a bonus. A big, sexy bonus.

And weren't you the guy saying you didn't want it for anything but games a few paragraphs ago anyway? Yeah, here we go, let me quote: "I don't want to use any of that sucky weird shit". Well you won't have to deal with any of it.

Er...

It also has a controller the size of a paving stone, with half an iPad built into the middle, along with a camera, a gyroscope, speaker, microphone, and touch-pen. This is one hell of a machine, with one hell of a lot to think about. Insane genius? Triumphant return to real gaming by Nintendo? Swiss Army console mess? Gimmicky shambles? Too little, too late? All of these possibilities are completely plausible.

I've been conflicted since I saw it, so rather than write a traditional feature I've written out the internal argument I've been having inside my head all day. It makes me sound a bit schizophrenic, but hey, worst-case scenario is that covering the wholefight here will save the fanboy flame-baiters a lot of time in the coming months.

Finally, Nintendo has a competetive hardcore console with mega-power and the full range of HD outputs. Seriously, have you seen the graphical output of this thing? Some are even saying it looks more powerful than a PS3. Nintendo is back in the game!

No-one knows that it has mega-power. All we've seen so far is a bunch of HD Miis and an admittedly lovely-looking current-gen Zelda demo. Nintendo hasn't revealed anything specific about its full capabilities. That bird demo at the press conference looked suspiciously pre-rendered, and the third-party showreel didn't show anything in excess of standard Xbox 360 fare. Don't get excited yet. Remember the Killzone 2 target footage? Hell, remember that Link vs. Ganon demo for the Gamecube?

Well regardless of whether it is significantly more powerful than the current HD consoles, what matters is that a Nintendo machine that at least measures up in terms of horsepower AND has proper games coming for it. Nintendo has realised that having traditional controls is important, and the Wii U has them. Yeah, it still has gimmicks for the masses, but this time around the innovative bit could actually do some really cool stuff.

The controller looks about as ergonomic as a brick, and those gimmicks are nothing that the PS3 couldn't theoretically do by streaming a display to the PS Vita. The crusty old PSP can already do remote play. Vita's extra power will make Wii U-style stuff easy. Again, Nintendo has taken a basic, existing idea, presented it as new, and managed to impress the world's idiots in the process.

Not at all. The Vita's smaller screen will mean that any attempt to emulate the Wii U's functionality will be a pale imitation. The hardware just wasn't designed for that stuff. Nintendo is providing a much better, custom-designed set of hardware, but integrating all of that functionality right out of the box on a single system. It will serve the purpose better, and will probably be way more affordable than buying a PS3 and a Vita to go along with it.

Yeah, well I don't want to use any of that sucky weird shit anyway. I'm a grown man with my own TV. I have no-one to answer to in regards to its usage. Screw your alternative game display. And besides, a lot of that other 'innovative' functionality they showed off last night was just basic controller functionality given a quirky visual display. You know you're not REALLY throwing a photo at your TV screen, or hurling a ninja star at a tree, right? You're just using the touch screen as a glorified controller button to transfer data or fire a weapon.

You're missing the point. This is a console for everyone. Nintendo realises that it messed up by making the Wii's interface so casual-exclusive and is now making a console that you can turn into anything you want, just by the way you choose to use it. You don't want that stuff? Then it's not for you. Justuse the controller as a controller and play Battlefield instead.

Like providing for an ecelectic audience is a big thing? Sony has always been about providing for everyone, and I already have a PS3. Sony just doesn't make a song and dance about having a healthy portfolio, or act as if it's some kind of crazy big deal. Don't try to make it sound impressive that Nintendo isn't actually excluding half of its audience this time around.

True, Sony does a good job, but with the Wii U you don't need to buy anything in terms of hardware after the console itself. No Move controller, no camera, no keypad add-on, no buzzer controllers, no Kinect. From day one it will be able to provide the eclectic spread of experiences that it takes other consoles years to accrue the ability to produce. And the completeness of the controller's design concept means that it'll do a stack-load of things that Sony and Microsoft haven't even thought of peripherals for.

With a big, handheld touch-screen and a proper controller it'll even play the sort of games that have arguably been eating into Nintendo's traditional market over the last few years via the advent of widespread smart phones. But it will do them better. Sorry, Apple. It's basically a hardcore home console, tablet computer, monitor, handheld console, camera, motion controller and streaming media hub all in one. The potential is huge.

The potential of the Wii was supposed to be huge as well.

Yeah, but that was hamstrung by being too specific in what its hardware was designed to do.

Oh come on, let's think realistically here. As soon as you introduceany non-traditional game interface, you know what you get. A few impressive first-party examples of its use, a load of lazy third-party ports with the odd superfluous gimmick tacked on, and then everyone forgets all about it. All that potential you're talking about is going to get wasted.

Hang on a minute. You're writing off the most versatile-out-of-the-box home console we've ever seen before anyone's done anything with it? The issues you've just mentioned are only issues if the gimmick is all the machine has going for it. This is a proper console with all that stuff as a bonus. A big, sexy bonus.

And weren't you the guy saying you didn't want it for anything but games a few paragraphs ago anyway? Yeah, here we go, let me quote: "I don't want to use any of that sucky weird shit". Well you won't have to deal with any of it.

Er...

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.

Topics

E3
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