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Nintendo’s new-generation Wii U game system is making news

  • New console features tablet-style GamePad controller
  • Most games can be played solely with GamePad, without having a TV
  • Nintendo Network adds social elements through MiiVerse

For Nintendo’s next video-game console, the most important screen is certainly not flat-panel TV in your living room. It is the one in your lap.

The Wii U, successor to Nintendo’s smash hit Wii console, presents a number of intriguing options for interactive entertainment, thanks to a tablet-style game controller, the GamePad.

The GamePad is highlighted by way of a 6.2-inch touchscreen display, flanked by thumbsticks on both sides, a camera on top and an variety of buttons standard of many video-game controllers. Imagine stretching out a traditional controller and slapping a screen right in the middle.

Initially, the GamePad looks bulky, but feels comfortable to deal with for even the most complex game titles.
Configuring the device is pretty straightforward. Nintendo wisely incorporates a HDMI cable with both the 8 GB and 32 Gigabyte models, and a walk-through makes it simple to prepare for play. Jumping among apps or games as well as main menu is sluggish, though. The unit itself is slightly bigger than the Wii, therefore it should squeeze into most entertainment hubs with very little problems.

Most of the Wii U’s 30-plus launch titles leverage the GamePad in interesting ways. From the survival thriller ZombiU, gamers use their second display screen to trace inventory or hold it up toward the television to scan an area. Madden NFL 13 enables players to call plays and change assignments on the fly by tapping or making use of the touchscreen display. Within the mini-game collection Nintendo Land, players secure the controller vertically, flinging stars at ninjas by swiping fingers.

Most interesting is how much gaming can be accomplished without resorting to a tv. The Wii U streams games to the GamePad, so gamers can take advantage of a handful of video games solely on the small screen, making it more portable than other home consoles. The GamePad’s range makes it easy to maneuver among rooms of a house while enjoying a video game.

In the event that players should you prefer a larger screen, it’s tough to not notice that Nintendo finally is entering the world of high-definition gaming. Titles including New Super Mario Bros. U sparkle onscreen with rich, vibrant graphics, and games usually seen on rival consoles PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 hold their very own on Wii U.

2 different people play a game of ‘New Super Mario Bros. U.’ The player on the left controls Mario, as the GamePad player creates blocks for Mario to leap on.

Nintendo also presents a revamped online hub, Nintendo Network, which gamers navigate via GamePad. There exists an eShop for buying games, an internet browser and social MiiVerse where players interact with their Mii avatar. Regrettably, users must wait until next month for Nintendo TVii, which adds an advanced program guide, and apps such as Hulu, Amazon Instant Video and YouTube.

Whether or not the Wii U reaches the extraordinary heights of its predecessor remains seen. The Nintendo Wii had a clear target (recreational players) and a game in Wii Sports that served as a shining example of motion-based gameplay that was easy to enjoy. The Wii U needs a similar type of experience to sell players using a world with two screens.

Until we view Nintendo Network fully operating using the TVii service and extra games that make use of the GamePad, it’s hard to talk about whether Wii U recaptures the console magic.

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