CES 2012: Wii U Tablet Controller Hands-on Demo First Impressions

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CES 2012: Wii U Tablet Controller Hands-on Demo First Impressions


Let’s be honest, folks…

When Nintendo announced at last year’s E3 that they would rolling out with a new tablet-like controller before a new console, we were all more than a little confused. To me, it totally looked like an iPad skinned with Nintendo controllers but honestly after getting my hands-on the new controller I know that I was totally wrong. Nintendo is well aware that the only way this new device will work is if the developers create games that tap into the uniqueness of the controller. But as always, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Allow me to try to do my best to walk you through my hands-on demo during CES 2012

The demo was set up to highlight the multiplayer opportunities that could be available when you have multiple Wii Remotes connected along with the new Wii U controller. The first demo was a simple game of Hide and Seek. The player using the Wii U controller was “it”. Their Mii ran around the stage while the other players chased after them using their Wii Remotes. Cooperation was key during this demo. Every player was yelling out colors to signify which quadrant they spotted the “it” Mii. Everyone just used the D-pads on their respective controllers to play. Totally fun and totally simple. No?

The next game upped the difficulty a bit by transforming the Wii U controller into an FPS controller. For this game, the person playing on the Wii U controller was once again “it”. However, this time they were in a spaceship where they were able to fire back. This portion of the demo featured the built-in accelerometer which meant moving the Wii U would move your camera. It felt silly at first but definitely got you immersed into the game since the other players were unable to screen watch to find where you were. Therefore finally creating a level playing field for a multiplayer FPS game! It was free-for-all match where the players on the Wii Remotes hunted and tried to shoot down the spaceship while the player in the spaceship tried to shoot all the players on the ground before their lives run out.

The last few bits were showcasing what could be done through the Wii U controller. Illustrated in the photos below is the potential of using the Wii U‘s screen for alternate controls. Imagine if you could play around with camera or controller settings while there’s a cut scene going on on screen? What if you can send the game to the Wii U controller so you could continue where you left off from while freeing up the TV for someone else? Or how about even viewing a city map and taking a virtual city tour while using the Wii U controller as your camera. The possibilities of the controllers  applications are limitless.

Just playing through these small demos and I could see that the future is bright for the new Wii U controller, it just needs the right games to help it along. Hopefully Nintendo learned a lesson from it’s botched 3DS launch: New products deserve a stellar line up of launch titles. Bundle the Wii U controller with a bunch of games that showcase what it can do and maybe a Wii U specific Mario or Zelda launch title and you are as good as golden…