Bitmob staffer Mike Minotti won't appreciate what I'm about to write.
After seeing a demo of Aliens: Colonial Marines at this summer's E3 trade show — the same trade show where Nintendo's future console, the Wii U, debuted — I had only one thought in mind: "The developers better be turning that tablet screen into a motion sensor."
Not that I think this is the most brilliant idea in the world. It just makes sense if you're a fan of the James Cameron sci-fi flick, which Mr. Minotti has never seen (and the rest of the staff gives him plenty of crap for).
In the movie Aliens, the iconic motion sensor created a lot of tense moments with its subdued thuds turning into high-pitched whines when invisible threats loomed nearby.
The Wii U tablet controller, with its independent screen, would be able to replicate this almost perfectly. And it's probably easier to hold up compared to those unwieldy devices from the film, too. While it seems developer Gearbox has thought of this match already without my help, that got me wondering: What other ideas might we gamers come up with for developers to take advantage of this new console?
Here's what some of the Bitmob staff had to say, with mock-up images by our very own Samir Torres. Please contribute your own ideas in the comments below!
"The Wii U controller is clearly intended for use in a submarine simulator. Who holds the rights to the Up Periscope! franchise!?" -James DeRosa, editor
"It'd be interesting to see an overhead action-adventure game, a side-scrolling platformer, or a twin-stick shooter in which you manipulate two planes of gameplay at once, one with each analog stick and one on each screen. I'm thinking of something similar to From Software's The Adventures of Cookie and Cream but with two separate screens instead of a splitscreen.
"You could dive in and out of many layers of the background and foreground, playing both at once. When you move inward (the direction of the TV screen), the background (displayed on the TV screen) moves to the Wii U controller, and a new background emerges (on the TV screen). You could also do a twin-stick shooter in which you move in and out of higher and lower levels of reality, sort of like a cross between Ikaruga and Jason Rohrer's Inside a Star-filled Sky.
"You could probably add some really cool morphing effects as the Wii U controller screen moves to the TV screen or vice versa. This crazy game would probably be made by Treasure or an indie developer." -James DeRosa, editor
"With the Wii U controller, switching between different views in games becomes a lot more dynamic. Imagine using it as Samus's scanner in a Metroid game, where you hold it up to the TV to interact with an environment. Just thinking about it makes me giddy with anticipation." -Eduardo Moutinho, editor
"The Wii U gives developers new options for HUD design. The main gameplay screen becomes less cluttered with data, while statistics and menu options are accessed with a quick tap of the controller touch screen." -Eduardo Moutinho, editor
"Taking a cue from the 3DS, the Wii U controller has the potential to put an exciting spin on augmented reality. What if you could flip the controller around and use it as a camera in a new Pokémon Snap game with your living room as the environment and your TV as a giant viewfinder?" -Eduardo Moutinho, editor
"The Wii U controller is the offspring of a Wii Classic Controller Pro, iPad, and Dreamcast VMU [Virtual Memory Unit]. All in all, that's a pretty intriguing combination. Now I just need to make sure I can use it to raise Chao." -Eduardo Moutinho, editor
"I can think of lots of uses for the Wii U in sports games: You could choose plays in Madden where your buddy can't see, hold the controller up to the screen to block a penalty kick in FIFA, or diagram your own basketball play. I'd also love to have the Wii U controller become a radar screen in a space-combat game. (Side note: Can I please have more space-combat games?)" -Layton Shumway, community manager
"I really like the idea of using the tablet as a window within a window. You could use the Wii U controller to scan for items, solve puzzles, and even access smaller, harder-to-see elements on the main game's screen. This opens up endless puzzle possibilities!" -Jasmine Rea, writer
"Here's a funny thing from Reddit posted under the title 'This game would go perfectly on the Wii U!':
I'll think up a serious idea soon." -Alex Cronk-Young, moderator [Editor's note: Alex never did.]
"The best functionality that I can think of for the new Wii U controller would be if that screen could do some sort of slideshow presentation explaining what the hell it is. I wasn't at E3. I didn't get to play with the new controller. What was I even looking at? I don't understand!" -Jeff Grubb, writer
"If shooters handled well when the controller is used traditionally, specific situations could call for precision aiming via pointing the controller at the screen. For example: You're sniping a target only a few pixels tall — the controller's screen could translate to a pair of crosshairs." -Ryan Perez, intern
"I'd want to see a Metroid game where you scan your surroundings by holding up the Wii U's controller and looking at its screen. I'd also want to see some use out of the swipe to/from screen functionality…maybe to solve puzzles, throw projectiles, or fire the super-charged arm-cannon blasts (using a lock on). I've tried the tilt-aiming on Nintendo's demo games, and it felt way too loose to really work, but I could see using it as a shield to reflect attacks, a la Link's shield." -Rus McLaughlin, writer
"A Wii U Metal Gear Solid game could use the extra screen and speakers for Codec communications, sonar, and radar display without interrupting the action." -Samir Torres, intern