Wii U GamePad – How Nintendo’s Device Changed Video Games
When the Nintendo Wii U was first announced, the first thing people noticed was the new controller, the GamePad. The traditional controller and wiimotes had been replaced and supplemented with a brand new controller that featured a touchscreen. After the consoles release in late November 2012, many fans curious about the Wii U and the GamePad got their first taste of this new controller. The results speak for themselves – the Wii U is one of the hottest items this holiday season, in large part because of the history of innovation that has defined Nintendo over the years.
Nintendo has a history of innovation that has helped it reach the success it’s witnessed over the years. This innovation has been for the better (original Wii) or the worse (the Power Glove), but it’s shown that the company is no stranger to taking risks, often times resulting in spectacular reward. After the immensely popular Wii, Nintendo was under pressure to create a system that would have a similar wow factor. If demand for the Wii U is any indication, they’ve gotten it right again. The GamePad has helped capture the attention of the gaming community again, and will continue to prove its worth throughout the lifespan of the console.
The GamePad does take some getting used to, as it’s much larger and heavier than the traditional controller. However, this added bulk comes with an assortment of added functionality, and really helps developers get more out of the games they make. Take for instance the recently released Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The game is supported on PS3, 360, and Wii U. The Wii U versions has features that help it stand out from competition. The touchscreen allows classes to be customized on the fly, serves as a minimap to quickly refer to in the heat of the battle, and use scorestreaks as they become available. Other games like Batman: Arkham Asylum, Fifa, and Madden have taken advantage of the capabilities provided by the GamePad, helping already excellent titles shine even more.
To be sure, the GamePad is a game-changer, a fact that the executives over at Microsoft and Sony are well aware of. Like the motion controls that Nintendo popularized, it’s likely the next iterations from Microsoft and Sony will incorporate this touchscreen feature. In the PS Vita, Sony and PlayStation have realized the value of these controls, and would do well to better incorporate its functionality into the next PS. Flydrs has long called for a PS3 / PS Vita bundle, but perhaps Sony is waiting for the PS4 to take advantage of this pairing. Reports surrounding the next Xbox also strongly point towards a similar touchscreen controller to augment the traditional gaming controller. Clearly Nintendo has proven their pioneering innovation moves the industry.
What are your impressions of the Wii U and GamePad so far? Has it lived up to the hype, or were you hoping for more?
Robert Birmingham is Editor-in-chief at Flydrs.com.