Coming Around to the Wii U

Yahtzee Croshaw

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Aug 8, 2007
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Coming Around to the Wii U

I could not, by any stretch of the phrase, be said to be 'coming around' to the Wii U. And yet I seem to have been getting more use out of it lately. As much use as I can from a device with a three-hour battery life, anyway.

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Dragonbums

Indulge in it's whiffy sensation
May 9, 2013
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Nintendo are free to do whatever they like, that's their business, but unfortunately most of the population who don't know much about gaming regard Nintendo as synonymous with it. They are arguably in the best position to further the medium, and yet, want to do no such thing.
Is Nintendo honestly in any position to further the medium? I mean sure, financially, but what about reputation wise?

You say the non gaming masses see Nintendo as a symbol of games for kids with contentment. Since parents wanting games safe for kids are guaranteed Nintendo is a safe bet. Yet the gaming community in and of themselves view Nintendo the same way in disdain.

The question is, what do you have in mind by furthering the medium? It's reputation? It's gameplay? It's social importance?

For every console Nintendo has made, they always do something different with controls. To only but a few, it is called pushing the medium in gameplay, but for most it's brushed off as a gimmick.( Oddly enough they all praise the Oculus Rift.)

Microsoft and Sony simply do major upgrades to the hardware, yet every one calls it pushing the medium forward.

Yet as of right now, pushing the medium forward is considered stories with games.

So basically it is very possible that Nintendo is moving the industry forward, but it's not the kind of thing we in general are interested in.
It all depends on who you are and what your tastes lie.
 

themilo504

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May 9, 2010
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I don?t really think that was Nintendo intention, I think the reason why they included this feature was so that parents that like to watch tv are more willing to buy this over the ps4 and xbox one.
 

Covarr

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May 29, 2009
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The alternative is that the DVD player or DVR comes with a separate screen on the remote... which would be an even bigger departure for them than the tablet was for the Wii U. I think this was less an admission that gaming is lesser, and more a concession that somebody's gotta budge, and the other guys don't seem to be doing it.

P.S. Thanks
 

duchaked

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Dec 25, 2008
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it did kind of bother me that halfway through an Assassin's Creed IV demo they were like ANNDD NOWW we shall switch over the Wii U tablet screen which you can play completely separately from the big giant TV screen y'all were watching!! and then the remainder of the demo was an offscreen shot of...the controller screen

it was kinda neat when I was at a friend's place, and we were all playing Halo and he decided to sit to the side and play a Wii U game on the tablet, but other than that one example it's mostly weird that developers still keep referencing the tablet's ability to play completely separate from the TV...yes, WE KNOW already hahaha just talk about your game

well, you can also use the tablet to navigate the in-game map...brilliant!
 

NvrPhazed

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Dec 8, 2010
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With the amount of complaining i hear about the battery life, it is like no one ever thinks to just play it off the charger. It has a pretty good cord, and with an extension cord, should be able to reach anywhere. The battery life really should only be if you need to use it in another room.
 

orangeapples

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Aug 1, 2009
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ummm... there already is an option for DVDs to be played without a TV. Many people have a laptop with a DVD drive and can watch movies from there. Also, I'm not sure if you've heard of it, but there is this little invention called the "portable DVD Player".

DVD media and movies have already made the move away from being only on the TV a few years ago. It's about time the home videogame console market has started to make that move as well.
 

Evonisia

Your sinner, in secret
Jun 24, 2013
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Well it's nice to see you be positive about the Wii U, I mean it surely can't be that bad (that defeated attitude has provided a way to play games without the TV). It's a nice little feature that I wish other consoles did, it's frankly one of the few things that make me want to get a Wii U. I think the controller itself is pretty awful, though, and it's probably because of the addition of that screen making it much larger than it could be, maybe Nintendo could bring out a model without the screen (and removing that innovation by consumer choice) and get a few more buyers.
 

irmasterlol

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Apr 11, 2012
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My thoughts are simply that Nintendo is the only console manufacturer that remembers kids like to play games too, and if Dad comes home and wants to watch TV, then Dad gets to use the TV, because it's his fucking TV. At least now Junior doesn't have to stop playing at the drop of a hat.

It's possible I'm projecting my own childhood console experience on the issue.
 

NvrPhazed

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Dec 8, 2010
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Evonisia said:
Well it's nice to see you be positive about the Wii U, I mean it surely can't be that bad (that defeated attitude has provided a way to play games without the TV). It's a nice little feature that I wish other consoles did, it's frankly one of the few things that make me want to get a Wii U. I think the controller itself is pretty awful, though, and it's probably because of the addition of that screen making it much larger than it could be, maybe Nintendo could bring out a model without the screen (and removing that innovation by consumer choice) and get a few more buyers.
They already have that. It is the nintendo Wii U pro controller.
 

medv4380

The Crazy One
Feb 26, 2010
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Dragonbums said:
Is Nintendo honestly in any position to further the medium? I mean sure, financially, but what about reputation wise?
If you only look at their Console reputation your rhetorical question would have some merit. However, they've decisively won every handheld generation to date. Sure, they might have some competition from phones now, but that competition hasn't bankrupted their sales of 3DS hardware, and software. They consistently outsell the Vita 4 fold, and that's been the story ever since it was GameBoy vs. GameGear. Unfortunately, their reputation is as a game maker that targets children, and they seem to be unable to adjust that perception. Just look at the 2DS, and their official position that it's intended for children under 7.
 

FinalDream

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Apr 6, 2010
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I just can't muster the effort to get the Wii U out of the cupboard, yes, it got relegated months ago, for Pikamin and the Wonderful 101. I'm sure they are as good as everyone says, but with everything coming out on the PS3 and 3DS I'd rather not buy them yet. Not even Zelda can sway me!
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
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Dragonbums said:
For every console Nintendo has made, they always do something different with controls. To only but a few, it is called pushing the medium in gameplay, but for most it's brushed off as a gimmick.( Oddly enough they all praise the Oculus Rift.)
Personally, I think the Occulus Rift is dumb. But if people want it, whatever. However, is it really advancing the medium if the "new" ideas are borderline insular and many don't even last a generation?

Nintendo's already put out a 2DS. While it's aimed at the chilluns, it boasts that every game can be played on it. Which kind of demonstrates that there's no real need for the 3D feature. It's a novelty, not progress. The Wiimote is not a part of the Wii U except in terms of as a legacy input. And is tablet gaming even an advancement to the medium? We already have tablets, smartphones and Nintendo's own DS line.

These advancements border on disposable, so can they really be said to add to the medium?

Microsoft and Sony simply do major upgrades to the hardware, yet every one calls it pushing the medium forward.
Everyone? Come now. I'm not even sure that's a majority opinion. And you know what? When the new generation of MicroSony hardware came out, a lot of people, myself included, criticised it for doing nothing more than being a more powerful 360/Ps3. That's not 100% true, of course, but close enough for jazz.

However, if I might say something about hardware:

Hardware imrpovements allowed us to get things like sandbox and open world games with no/minimal loading screens. Truly open environments. Entire cities to explore. We have games now capable of allowing you to guess whether someone is lying based on fairly grounded facial expressions. We have huge amounts of options, even if a lot of games don't use them.

I would call that pushing the medium more than a waggle controller that was discarded at the end of a generation.

So basically it is very possible that Nintendo is moving the industry forward, but it's not the kind of thing we in general are interested in.
I would argue we have to be interested in it, because otherwise there's no real forward motion.

I mean, Apple pushes technology forward. Usually by taking existing things and making people want them. MP3 players. Smartphones. Tablets. They invented none of this. They have, however, made them popular, induced competition, and so on.

Nintendo used to do that, but it's been a looooooooong time. And honestly, I kind of think it's a fluke.
 

Flaery

Ghetto Trash
Dec 23, 2012
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I like to play Pikmin 3 on the tablet while my cousin plays Pikmin 2 on the screen. He can play his game and I can lie down on the couch casually throwing carrat-people to their doom. I'm glad you've used this column to say you don't think the WiiU controller is 'that' bad anymore, but I think you're missing or ignoring some of the equally as valid reasons to play off-screen.

Lately I've been feeling rather miffed, thinking your WiiU game reviews would go the same route as most of your Wii game reviews and be mostly full of criticisms towards the hardware. But I'm satisfied now. Not angry, not sad, just content. I'll be looking forward to a Wonderful 101 review, if you would be so kind.
 

Scribblesense

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Jan 30, 2013
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I've heard more people say they've used the Wii U Gamepad to play games so their kids can watch TV, or some such. The Gamepad is great for families where screentime is at a premium, and Nintendo seems to believe that kids will play on the Gamepad in the family room instead of playing on their iPads.

I don't get the feeling that Nintendo is segregating gamers from the norms at all, but instead trying to sneak it into places where a second TV just wouldn't fit. Like family movie night, or when you're on the toilet, or during a boring lecture.

I see it as trying to make console gaming more accessible. That's why I plan to buy most third party games on Wii U, because when the TV is all tied up and I can't play PS3/360 I can still play on my Wii U Gamepad.
 

saxman234

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Nov 23, 2011
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Very interesting article. I'm glad you have all this free time while the Wii U gamepad is charging to think about this stuff. Especially
Yahtzee Croshaw said:
I suppose what it may reflect is that Nintendo still regard gaming as being a thing for kids.
Another Great read.
 

Thanatos2k

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Aug 12, 2013
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The whole Wii U controller feature is baffling to me too. I mean, when I was growing up, we didn't have just ONE TV. Hell, there were different consoles hooked up to different TVs. If the parents were going to watch a movie that night that I didn't care about, I moved the SNES upstairs for a few hours. Is this really an issue nowadays?

And now I live alone, so no one is going to be kicking me off my own TV.

So who is this really for and why are they pushing it so hard?
 

SoDaRa

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Jan 7, 2009
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I think Nintendo has had some progressive games over the years. Particularly the ones that come out of Skip such as Chibi-Robo, GiFTPiA, and the Art Style series. But also the Paper Mario games and Earthbound. With the Gamecube they got really experimental and there were all sorts of crazy ideas coming out of there. But they do have a problem with advertising their more progressive titles, which leads to them not selling well and them becoming less willing to make similar titles. So now we're at a point where they don't do many innovative things, which is sad. And before anyone tells me Chibi-Robo was not progressive, it was a game made for children that dealt with themes such as loss, addiction, and divorce all while trying to make them better people. It's a more subtle kind of progressive, one which isn't easily noticed, but which has a much greater impact as a result.
 

Foolery

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Jun 5, 2013
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Here's the thing that some people don't seem to get. Nintendo is essentially a toy company. They're not going to push hardware forward in the same way PC or PS4 is doing. It's not their kind of market. You buy a Nintendo console for Nintendo games and whatever other unique titles might end up on there.
 

WickedFire

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Apr 25, 2011
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That's conjured up an interesting thought. Everyone knows that Nintendo will always be seen as a kid brand. Despite them publishing some darker games, it doesn't change the general perception, that Nintendo always seems to reinforce, that Nintendo games are for kids and that they generally do not push boundaries when it comes to themes or genres.

The interesting thought is this: What if Nintendo creating a separate publishing label for more mature games, much like Disney did by creating Touchstone? Still the same company, the same developers, but they can create more mature or progressive games, without the risk of tarnishing the Nintendo brand in the eyes of the uninformed, particularly those who believe violent games are evil.