So, Nintendo’s E3 press conference — it was, to put it mildly, pretty damn awful. Many people are already preparing the Wii U’s eulogy, but are they jumping the gun? There are plenty of legitimate reasons to be pessimistic about the Wii U, but there’s also reason to believe it could be another surprise Nintendo success.
So, here are five reasons why the Wii U is DOOMED, and another five reasons it may not be…
The GamePad Ain’t The Wiimote
The Wiimote may be the most ingenious little chunk of plastic the gaming industry has even produced. That controller pretty much sold 100-million Wiis single-handedly. It was a completely revolutionary controller disguised as a TV remote even your grandpa wouldn’t be afraid to pick up. Okay, sure, it didn’t always actually work, but the few times it actually did work, it worked brilliantly. It made games more tactile, involving and interactive. Yeah, six year later there’s still gamers shouting “but I just want to PUSH A BUTTON!” but most of those people would probably rather push a button to scratch their asses if you game them the option, so f–k ’em.
Point is, the Wiimote was a really smart creation, and the Wii U GamePad ain’t no Wiimote. They’re trying to do the “disguise it as something non-gamers like” thing, but it simply doesn’t look enough like a tablet to pull it off. I can’t see my grandparents wanting to touch a Wii U GamePad. Furthermore, it doesn’t have that simple, “oh that’s cool” appeal of motion controls. Nintendo showed off a handful of uses for the GamePad at the show, but none that deliver the instant charm of seeing somebody swing a sword in a game by actually swinging their controller. Again, yes, I realize it wasn’t until last year’s Skyward Sword that motion controlled sword fighting was delivered in a satisfying way — it doesn’t matter. It’s the promise that counts. With the Wii U GamePad Nintendo couldn’t even promise anything particularly exciting.
The GamePad is very very shiny though.
Nintendo Isn’t Ready for HD
Due to the lacking storage capacity of cartridges, most N64 games sounded fairly terrible. Voice acting was a rarity, and most of the music sounded like something from a 16-bit game (or worse). Nintendo switched to disc-based media for the Gamecube, making storage capacity no longer an issue — and yet, most of Nintendo’s games for the ‘Cube still didn’t sound all the great. Silent characters and dated chiptunes were still the rule. Nintendo had been working with the N64’s limited sound capabilities for so long that they were badly behind the curve — it wasn’t until mid-way through the Wii’s lifespan that spoken dialogue and orchestrated music became a regular thing in Nintendo published games.