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Should I be excited for the Wii U? That's a question I've continuously been asking myself over the course of the past few months. There has never been a Nintendo console I haven't owned, nor has there ever been one that I haven't been excited for.
So why is the Wii U playing hard to get?
I want to like it, but at the same time my mind is telling me no. What does it really have to offer? Nintendo claims that the Wii U will offer an entirely new perspective on gaming thanks to the consoles new controller, the game-pad, but I don't see it. The people around me whom I talk to everyday don't see it, so why should I? I'd much sooner pick up the snug, much smaller controller for my Xbox 360 than I would want to stick a huge 9 x 5.3 inch tablet sized screen into my hands.
While I've never personally gotten the pleasure to hold a Wii U game-pad in person, the whole concept just doesn't appeal to me. Why did they have to make it so big? I don't buy a home entertainment console system so I can play it on a small, six inch screen… I plan on plugging the bad boy into my giant flat screen in my family room and cranking up the volume on my speaker system for a rich and lucrative experience.
A small, six inch gaming experience is what I have my Nintendo 3DS for. My PlayStation Vita, or even my iPhone! And the fact that I still need to use my old Wii remotes to play half of the new games coming out for the console isn't exactly a deal breaker for me either. I'm done with the old generation of consoles. Done! I am ready to move on to new and bigger, more exciting things.
The Wii, well the Wii proved that there was more to gaming than sitting on the couch immobile for hours on end. Nintendo proved to everyone that gaming could be used for exercise, or even to recreate personal tennis courts and bowling alleys in our houses. The console was a smash hit for many parties as well. Just Dance competitions against my friends and family were always a blast and a great way to entertain guests!
Microsoft then took motion gaming to the next level creating a controller free, motion gaming experience for players. While the system (Kinect) itself may not have been perfect, the concept of it was ingenious! A few tweaks here and there and the Kinect could be the next big thing later in the future.
What leaves me baffled however is the fact that Nintendo is still clinging on to old technology to make their new system work. From all of the creative and bright minds at Nintendo, none of them were able to perfect and take Microsoft's Kinect to the next level? Now that I know controller free motion gaming is out there and theoretically works, nothing at all compels me to want to take a step backwards to the point of which I'm restricted to the limits of the controller and not my own body.
Yes, I know you can buy the special pro controller for the Wii U that looks just like the current Xbox controller, but who knows how many games will support that? That is extra time and money spent by developers just to appeal to a select group of players.
Furthermore, old motion gaming hardware isn't the only thing weighing down the Wii U. The processing power and graphical fidelity of the unit is also lacking in the "innovative" or "new" departments as well.
Nintendo claims that the console is 20 times more powerful than the Xbox 360 and PS3, of which I believe, but after seeing many of the game demos at the numerous gaming conventions over the past season, I realized that that number (20x) isn't actually all that much. There were virtually almost no visual contrasts what so ever between the games shown off for the Wii U in comparison to its 360 and PS3 counterparts.
Disappointment is the only word I can say to describe my thoughts. It kills me to know that Nintendo is using technology within the confines of the current generation of consoles to make their stand.
Maybe I was expecting to much from Nintendo? Granted they've never been the ones to make much of a showing in the visual department in the past, so why should they change things this time around?
But nor do the games offer any compelling edge to buy the system either!
Every single one of the advertised games for the Wii U are games we've either already played, or ones we can get for our already owned PS3 or 360 and still get the same experience out of them. The few exclusive games Nintendo has brought to the plate sound nifty, but none particularly scream "must buy" to my face.
The return of Pikmin and Mario in HD for the first time are compelling, but they're still both games I've already gotten the chance to play in the past… One phrase sums it up nicely, "been there, done that."
To rest my case
The Wii U at this point seems like Nintendo's sequestered ploy to catch-up to the likes of current gen consoles. The games are the same, the unique features of the console are things we already have and the ginormous sized controller marketed as a game changer for the unit acts as turn off for me.
The only things I can do is to wait and see if Nintendo really has trekked into unmarked territory in the gaming industry, or if this really is a pass for my wallet.