But the GameCube controller….
You know what, you guys already know where this discussion is going so let’s get this one out of the way first. I’m gonna Tarantino it for a minute here and start with the middle of the article.
The GameCube controller: charming, yet frustrating
You all love that GameCube controller and I know it. The GameCube controller was OK. I loved the feel of it and I liked how the A button was extra large and I kind of liked the placement of those Y and X buttons. Everything else about it made me uneasy. The “C stick” or whatever you want to call it felt weird to hold for extended periods, like in an FPS game. The L and R buttons had far too much tension on their springs (although I liked that satisfying click they had). The D-pad just sucked, its worse than the Xbox 360 D-pad. There, I said it.
Alright, back to the beginning.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog bubbling about PAX and how much I love Nintendo and how I wish they would adopt me. (Read HERE) While everything I said in that article was true, there were some things I purposely left out. Only one thing, really- the Wii U.
I got to play with one at PAX when I tested New Super Mario Bros U. The Wii U tablet was cool; very lightweight as well as easy to pick up and learn the controls quickly, but- something was missing. I guess it was that “love at first sight” feeling, the very same I had when I first laid eyes on the 3DS. I threw my wallet at the TV screen when I first saw the 3DS. I nearly puked with excitement the first time I got to play one. But holding that Wii U controller in my hands, there was no magic.
Its getting close to crunch time for Nintendo’s new hardware, the Wii U. The biggest surprise is probably how long we’ve waited to get all the details, which tells a lot of us that the next generation console from Japan’s long-running video game manufacturer was probably changing a lot in its iterations right up until today. Skepticism aside, the launch window is now set in stone and we’d like to collect a lot of the important details right here.
I was one of the lucky few to attend PAX this weekend for the third year in a row, and just like every year, my life will never be the same. All the big names were there: Sony, Microsoft, Bethesda and so on, displaying their upcoming titles with extravagant booths and sometimes scantily clad women. Being a straight female, I didn’t even notice the booth ladies until I accidentally ran into one because I was trying to drink from an open container and walk at the same time.
I’ve had a real problem deep down with the Wii U since this year’s E3. I thought the idea was interesting last year at its reveal, but now that I’ve seen it more closely and with some more details I’m just not sold on it anymore. Much of the press seemed to feel the same way. Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot stated recently how he felt like the lack of new consoles was stifling creativity in the market, but later on stated on a conference call to investors that Ubisoft was not actually very invested in the upcoming console. That’s pretty sad considering that Ubisoft is basically the only 3rd-party backer of the console with its ZombieU and Rayman titles.
There’s no doubt that the industry is just not excited over this console. A lot of people are trying to figure out “what the deal is” with that. Here’s a quick, not heavily researched breakdown of why I am personally not excited over the new console with some possible areas for Nintendo to either improve on their message or improve their hardware offering altogether:
Do all good things have to come to a crash and burn ending? At one time I used to be extremely excited for all of the big publisher press conferences at E3. They were easy to stream and digest, one could extract quite a few nuggets of greatness from them and in a way they gave E3 a very official air, but this year proved that the format has become extremely stale.
Sure, part of the problem might be playing to the lowest common denominator, a great deal of the games shown were gritty first-person shooters, but I have a hard time knocking on that as I enjoy a lot of those games. A lot of the press doesn’t though (apparently), so I can understand why many are frustrated with this year’s big conferences.
So here’s the problem: the next generation of graphics is quite literally already upon us, the next generation of video game consoles is mostly unknown and the next generation of gaming is still developing.
Is anyone ready for some long-winded analytics and opinion? E3 was a just a huge pile of conflicting themes and emotions and “next generation” was like the term that couldn’t be actually uttered, for fear of being backhanded by a Microsoft lanky. I’ll try my best to keep the thread of discussion coherent, so here it goes.
I was definitely a latecomer to the Pikmin games. One of my buddies in college owned a GameCube and I spent a great deal of time catching up on the greats like Eternal Darkness, Wind Waker and Metroid Prime and of course Pikmin.
Pikmin struck quite a few cords with me. Vibrant colors, cute cast of characters, real-time strategy gameplay that worked on a console, none of that is really done very often. The game even dropped the somewhat annoying time limit in its sequel and in college I found the game to be incredibly relaxing with the lights in my living room turned down. But throughout the entire Wii lifespan Pikmin was nowhere to be found, 2004 was the last entry with Pikmin 2.
With no Wii representation, Pikmin has gone on hiatus for nearly 8 years. Its honestly a very refreshing series compared to many other Nintendo titles, so I’ve been incredibly confused over why it hasn’t made a return until now. Such is life though and the Wii-U is probably the right console to make a comeback on with potentially complex controls via the touchscreen. Hit the jump for a short video preview.
From the super corny (somewhat funny) demo commercial to the revelation of an Xbox controller clone, it looks like Nintendo has started us off on the right foot for this year’s E3, even if none of it was unexpected.
“Pre-E3 events” essentially just make the whole thing a few days longer, which I fine with. E3 has become known for jamming so many new announcements and trailers into its 3 weekday span that it takes several weeks to wade through all of it.
My predictions? The Wii U will remain the only console to be released soon, there won’t be any surprise announcements from Sony or Microsoft, Half-Life 3 will not be announced, but beyond all of this stuff that won’t happen, everything else is up for grabs.
Unannounced Title from developer/publisher X seems to be a pretty big part of the schedule, so we might see some unexpected shenanigans. More than likely there’s going to be some really big teases.
What do I want? More than anything some confirmation on the release dates for Guild Wars 2, Torchlight 2, Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, I really want some new franchises that will wow me in ways I don’t expect and I wouldn’t mind if somebody revealed a new RTS game that doesn’t involve leveling up.
Looking forward to everything and talking about it this week, see you on the other side!