Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Wii U GamePad in general

      If I asked you "What stands out about the Wii U?", what would be your answer? Exactly, the Wii U GamePad, the primary Wii U controller. It's pretty clear that it is the biggest feature of Nintendo's upcoming console. The controller can do many things you could not do with a "normal" controller. But there is this little going on. People claim the XBOX 360 will have SmartGlass and that the PlayStation Vita can be used as a controller for the PlayStation 3. Let's start with the SmartGlass first. SmartGlass allows developers to use smart phones and tablets as controllers. This is definitely not the only feature of SmartGlass but lets focus o what it does for games. A lot of XBOX fans compare SmartGlass to the Wii U's GamePad claiming the Wii U isn't doing anything new and that the SmartGlass is better. But the thing about SmartGlass is this: Lack of traditional controls (or simply buttons). It does not have Analog Sticks, nor a D-Pad, nor a ABXY buttons. That is going to hurt SmartGlass. A LOT. How are you suppose to play First Person Shooter or Third Person Shooter games without shoulder buttons? How are you going to play Fighting games on SmartGlass? Your fingers will hide the screen partially (most of the time) which is annoying. Instead of opening a brand new world of possibilities, SmartGlass will remove a lot from the gameplay. So, SmartGlass is not better than the Wii U's new controller. Now, onto the Vita to PlayStation 3 connectivity. The PlayStation 3 has the ability to use the PlayStation Vita as a controller. Unlike SmartGlass, the Vita isn't restricted to just touch screen controls. It has traditional controls as well which is a big step forward. But here is the problem with the Vita and PlayStation 3 connectivity. The PlayStation 3 costs $250 and the PlayStation Vita $250. $250+$250= $500. Meanwhile, the Wii U is rumored to cost around $250 to $300. And of course, it will come with one Wii U GamePad just like the Wii came with a Wii Remote. It is common sense, really. Another problem about the PlayStation Vita to PlayStation 3 connectivity (that's how I call it) is the lack of support. There are barely any games making use of this feature. The Wii U GamePad is the Wii U's main controller and it will be there from the beginning while being supported by first and third party developers alike. Also, the Wii U is a much more powerful system and it is just about $0 to $50 more than the PlayStation 3. This feature came a bit too late to have a big impact on the Wii U's success. Yes, the Vita has more features than the Wii U GamePad, but here's the thing, the Vita is a handheld console, the Wii U GamePad is a controller. Now, is the Wii U thing new? The Sega DreamCast had a screen on its controller all the way back in good ol' 1999. But it didn't have much to do with the games you played. The GameBoy Advance to GameCube connectivity did something similar (to the Wii U) in 2001. In the game The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure, up to four players could play this game on their GameCube using GameBoy Advances (Yeah, advances with an s at the end). But still, it didn't have a touch screen and lacked analog sticks. Nintendo is now bringing back this idea with the Wii U. With a touch screen on the new controller, new methods of gameplay can be explored. Think about it. Real Time Strategy games like StarCraft are now possible on the Wii U. The Wii U GamePad is not necessarily new but it is quite innovative when you think about it. New genres can be explored thanks to the Wii U's new controller. Rejoice gamers!

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