E3 2011 hands-on: Nintendo’s Wii U demos

e3 2011 hands on nintendos wii u demos  graphics demo

(This article comes courtesy of N-Sider, a site for well-adjusted Nintendo fans. N-Sider has served the Nintendo community for more than a decade.)

I finally got my shot at trying out Wii U yesterday morning, and while I’m curious about how it may develop, the few tech demos Nintendo are showing at the moment aren’t yet really substantial enough to make a judgment call on—it’s certainly not, at this stage, as impactful as the day I first laid hands on the Wii’s controller.

The most interesting demos used the Wii U’s screen as a motion-controlled viewport on a scene, much like the gyro look options in several 3DS games—this seems to be Nintendo’s new infatuation, and for good reason: it works well, particularly with no 3D convergence issues to get in the way.

The first demos we looked at, and the easiest to explain, were the Japanese Garden demo and the HD Experience demo, both of which were shown in part in Nintendo’s press conference yesterday morning. Both injected a live element into an otherwise pre-scripted scene, such as camera control. The HD Experience demo, a scene in the style of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, looked the nicest and most cohesive, while the Japanese Garden demo looked really great in some spots but lacked believability in others—plus, in some areas, the framerate dropped drastically.

New Super Mario Bros. Mii

e3 2011 hands on nintendos wii u demos  super mario bros mii for

There was also a demo called New Super Mario Bros. Mii which, though Nintendo insists they are not announcing new games, featured brand-new levels and new artwork—it’s not hard to guess that this is eventually going to be a Wii U title. It didn’t really seem to be doing anything new yet other than putting Miis into the mix as Mario-alternatives; the demo’s key point was simply to show that you could, in fact, play the game either on the controller or on the TV screen—though the demo didn’t support multiplayer in the latter case. (By the way, in case it’s not obvious, not every Wii U game will support moving it to the controller screen—it’s purely a developer option.)

Measure Up

e3 2011 hands on nintendos wii u demos  measure up demo

Measure Up was a simple stylus-based game in which you tried to draw a specifically-sized circle, angle, or line, which the system then measured and ranked you on. Pretty straightforward stuff that you’d expect any system with a stylus to be able to do. (I am, truthfully, happy Nintendo is still sticking with the stylus, but I wish they would incorporate a more modern multitouch screen into the system, perhaps using a special stylus with it.)

Shield Pose

e3 2011 hands on nintendos wii u demos  shield pose demo

Further on down the line was Shield Pose, a rhythm game of sorts that had you using the Wii U controller as a motion-controlled viewport, swinging it up, down, to the middle, or right on cue to intercept plunger-arrows fired by a merry band of cardboard-cutout pirates. Once they stuck to your screen, you had to swing the controller down to dispose of them. The whole thing culminated with a very embarrassing “shake the controller to dance” sequence which was only topped by my abysmal score at the thing—but the premise has potential, maybe more if you could intercept some more slow-moving targets, for example, rather than relying on rhythm cues.

Chase Mii

e3 2011 hands on nintendos wii u demos  chase mii demo

Chase Mii was eerily reminiscent of Pac-Man Vs. which—full disclosure—is a game I still love to this day. One player holding the Wii U controller had an overhead view of an arena and needed to try to avoid other players as they chased him down using their own split-screen view on the TV. There was a power-up star in the center that the chasee could pick up, making him temporarily invincible and faster—this was great fun.

Battle Mii

e3 2011 hands on nintendos wii u demos  battle mii demo

Finally, Battle Mii was probably the most advanced of the demos on display, which put two players with Wii Remotes and Nunchuks in charge of two Miis done up like Samus Aran running around and shooting with their Remote pointers, while another piloted a ship with the Wii U controller and a somewhat awkward control scheme, using the right analog stick to rise and fall as well as quick turn and the left stick to thrust and retreat combined with the Wii U’s tilt sensing to aim. Powerups would pop up in this arena to restore life or grant a shield, and the objective was to take down either the ship or both ground troops.

Wii U just isn’t there yet

I liked playing it, but as of right now, the Wii U isn’t really doing a whole lot that’s very compelling. We asked about things like whether the video is being streamed from the system to the controller, and if the system was indeed limited to one Wii U controller, in order to get a better handle on its eventual capabilities—other than confirmation that Wii U would ship with at least one of the controllers, we got no answers on this front. The message right now seems to be twofold: it’s in HD, and the controller offers you an alternative viewport. I’m hoping for more out of Wii U as its announced 2012 release date draws closer.

Jeffrey’s thoughts: I have to agree. When I was at E3 in 2006 when Nintendo showed off its Wii software, the potential of the new technology was pretty apparent. With Wii U, it looks like Nintendo played its hand too early. The demos were limited in scope and only a few “new” concepts were shown like gyro use and using the screen of the Wii U controller as an advantage in a multiplayer environment. Hopefully we’ll see some real games next year.

Product Review

'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe' is 2D platforming wizardry

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is the latest Wii U game to come back from the dead on Switch. And wow, it’s much better than we remembered.
Gaming

Find all of the secret exits and world skips in 'New Super Luigi U Deluxe'

Just like all other 2D Mario games, New Super Mario Bros. Deluxe includes secret exits and world skips. In this guide, we'll show you how to get to all 12 secret exits in New Super Luigi U.
Gaming

Find all of the secret exits and world skips in 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has two distinct Mario experiences in one package. In this guide, we'll show you how to find all of the secret exits in New Super Mario Bros. U, that lead to hidden levels and let you skip worlds.
Gaming

Get extra life with our tips and tricks for 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a much more difficult game than you'd believe based on its adorable art style and 2D perspective. Here's how you can master the game's toughest challenges.
Gaming

Console wars are so last-gen. Check out all the games that support crossplay

Crossplay is still in its infancy, but a growing number of games support online multiplayer between competing platforms. Here's a list of all games that support console crossplay.
Gaming

Want to trick out your PlayStation 4? These themes will get you started

Personalize your gaming experience with some of our favorite themes for the PlayStation 4, including free, paid, static, and dynamic options.
Gaming

‘Mortal Kombat 11’ is even gorier and crazier than we expected

NetherRealm Studios unveiled Mortal Kombat 11 on January 17 and the game looks to be just as gory and over the top as fans have come to expect. Former MMA fighter Ronda Rousey will appear as Sonya Blade.
Gaming

Play your games whenever you want with a MicroSD card for your Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch uses cartridge-based games, but its internal storage may fill up quicker than you would think. Here's what you should consider when picking out a MicroSD card to expand your Switch's storage capacity.
Gaming

Get your pilot skills up to snuff for this week's 'Fortnite' challenge guide

The Fortnite season 7, week 7 challenges are now available. The major challenge this week requires you to visit all the Fortnite expedition outposts in the game and we walk you through how to get to each.
Gaming

For Netflix, ‘Fortnite’ on YouTube is a bigger threat than HBO

In a letter to shareholders, Netflix explained that it views the video game Fortnite as bigger competition than HBO, with YouTube videos of the game drawing viewers away from the streaming platform.
Gaming

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Computing

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.
Gaming

Sharing your best gameplay moments is quick and easy on the Xbox One

The current generation of consoles make it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.