Gaming giant Nintendo showed off its new wares, including the forthcoming Wii U console and the 90-percent-bigger-screens 3DS XL portable gaming console, along with a bevy of new games (some developed by Nintendo and some that surprisingly aren’t!) at its gaming lounge hosted in the Marriott Marquis for San Diego’s Comic-Con 2012.
Gaming Dead was on hand to try out the games, check out the consoles, and report back to you, so read on for the skinny!
Approaching the Nintendo Gaming Lounge in the San Diego Ballroom of the Marriott Marquis gamers were greeted by two huge Pokémon: Reshiram and Zekrom, the two newest Legendary Pokémon from Pokémon: Black version 2 and Pokémon White version 2.But inside? It gets better: a dance floor where players can prove their skills in movin’ and grooving’ to today’s chart-topping hits. Nintendo had Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry dance-doubles on hand to lead everyone from little kids to young adults in dancing their way through the Top 40.
Just Dance 4, developed by Ubisoft, is something like the next-gen Dance Dance Revolution game, only instead of trying to stay within a grid and hit arrows on a mat, dancers utilize the Wii’s sensor and wireless remotes to match whole-body dance moves shown on screen. A slightly-silhouetted figure of the song’s lead singer leads the choreography–much of it original and not seen in the song’s own music videos–and even has outfit changes and special effects in the background as dancers perform better. Fans of existing dance games and the Just Dance franchise should find this latest installment a blast, and great for everything from aerobic workouts to a fun way to enliven dull parties. The game will also be available in October for the Playstation 3 (with its Playstation Move add-on), the Xbox 360 and its Kinect system, and the forthcoming Wii U.
Surrounding the dance floor were Kirby-colored bean bags (appropriate, considering it’s the pink puffball’s 20th anniversary, and Nintendo featured a 20th Anniversary game for the Wii to celebrate) and 3DS XLs on podiums with the latest offerings for the handheld console, including Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, Super Mario 3D Land, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon,Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, Mario Kart 7, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Heroes of Ruin, Pokémon: Conquest, and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.
We got to try out some of these games with Nintendo’s partner companies, including Konami (developer behind Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate) and Square-Enix (Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance…duh!), so look for more on those games in a future post.
Gaming Dead got a sneak peak at the forthcoming Wii U, Nintendo’s latest console and the successor of its popular family-friendly Wii home console. The Wii U looks to change the game–literally–by introducing a hybrid touchscreen controller. The Wii U tablet (it’s certainly not a Wiimote anymore!) is a bit bigger than an iPad and has a decent amount of heft to it, featuring two joysticks, a D-pad, four standard buttons (good ol’ A, B, X, and Y), Start, Select, two shoulder “trigger” buttons (one on each side), a stylus, and a Home and Power button. It also has a front-facing camera as well as a battery indicator, because like any good modern “controller” it can be used wirelessly.
What seemed at first clunky and bizarre quickly proved to be an essential component of Nintendo’s forthcoming titles for the Wii U, including the whimsical LEGO City: Undercover, Pikmin 3, Project P-100, New Super Mario Bros. U, Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Wii U Panorama View, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, Wii Fit U, ZombiU, and several titles collectively branded as Nintendo Land, featuring Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, Takamaru’s Ninja Castle, Donkey Kong’s Crash Course, and Animal Crossing: Sweet Days). In LEGO City: Undercover, for example, the tablet serves as a police scanner, GPS map and guide, X-Ray vision machine (it sees through ships and spots criminals!), and video-messenger device, allowing LEGO star Chase McCain (get it?) to stay ahead of crime in LEGO City. In Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, it’s a “bat- computer,” and lets Batman do his detective work without being in the Batcave.
Different games will utilize the tablet in different ways, but from what we saw in the Wii U Experience area of the Nintendo Gaming Lounge, it looks as though most of them will serve as a secondary screen, showing things from a different perspective than what would normally be shown on the TV the Wii U is connected to. This is something akin to the dual screens on Nintendo’s portable console, the 3DS, but for home use.
According to one Nintendo representative on site, the Wii U will be backwards-compatible, meaning it will be able to play older Wii games, but they may not have functionality for the tablet. Further, Wii U games will not be able to be played on an original Wii, since most–if not all–will require the tablet and the new features the console offers, with its boxier, smaller shape.
The Wii U looks to be an even more concrete example that Nintendo believes gaming is a social, shared experience; their new tablet is meant to “augment multi-player play” and not let you be totally solo. The new tablet will allow gamers to interact with their games and each other in ways previously not possible with the Wiimote or prior game controllers.