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Forget watching games on the TV - Nintendo adds another screen

Nintendo has taken one of the all too necessary pigeon steps needed to change the home gaming paradigm yet again – it has added an integral screen on

By PETER WHITE

Published: 9 June, 2011

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Nintendo has taken one of the all too necessary pigeon steps needed to change the home gaming paradigm yet again – it has added an integral screen on the controller. In this way gaming can imitate the relationship that the iPad has, or in some cases, will soon have, with the TV screen.

The new tablet-like Nintendo controller will borrow hugely from the experience that the original DS gave Nintendo – the idea of having two screens which show different levels of detail. One shows perhaps the controls which the game player needs to access for gaming control, the other screen tended to show the overall scene.

In adapting this to the Wii concept, and adding the new Wii U console, Nintendo has allowed the TV to hold the part of any game which shows where all the players are and which is perhaps the most entertaining for onlookers to view, while the current player, or players, get information on the second controller screen, and respond to it either using conventional controls or the touch screen.

The new U console controller has a 6.2-inch touch screen and the combination was tough to get across at the E3 show, except that long time Nintendo lovers got it immediately, making it the star of the show.

Nintendo was pushing the view that the Wii U redefines the structure of home entertainment by fundamentally changing how the TV, game console and Internet function and interact. If most companies had said that gamers would have turned their noses up. But Nintendo’s record speaks for itself. It took a losing position in both handheld games and video game consoles and in a single generation banked on two screens being the way forward in handheld, and a motion sensing controller opening new game design doors in the living room. Both calls have been seen to be right and who is to say that relying on 3D in the new DS format and adding an extra, motion sensing screen, isn’t the new way in the living room.

The controller isn’t just a motion sensing tablet either, the view on the screen can be made to show different views depending on its orientation, which way its facing and how tilted it is – because the device also has an accelerometer and a gyroscope, not to mention a rumble feature, an inward-facing camera, a microphone and speakers.

Personally we always thought the Wii console was a bit silly because of the way it was advertised with families all joining in and enjoying it equally. The truth is that gamers like to be admired, and for their gaming to be watched, but only by their peers, other gamers who understand how difficult it is to do what you’ve just shown them. Many of the movement features of Wii games made them appeal solely to the younger gamer, but we think these new features put it back on track with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which had stolen the older and slightly richer gamer for themselves.

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