With this years E3 rapidly approaching, more and more attention is being paid to Nintendo’s new console, the Wii U. Last week a leaked photo of the revised tablet controller revealed that yes, this is to be the systems official name. You can call me a fan-boy if you like, but I have been playing Nintendo games since I was a child. I started off with an SNES; where Mario World, Super Metroid and Star Fox (called Star Wing in the UK for some reason) kept me entertained for many a long hour. When I was a few years older my parents brought me an N64 for my birthday and I remember games such as Goldeneye, Banjo Kazooie and Orcarina of Time wowing me and my friends with their chunky, polygonal graphics. This was the golden age for Nintendo. There where other Sega and Atari systems out at the time but no-one really cared about them. Every conversation was about Zelda or Goldeneye. Sadly this time did not last and I was lured away by the PSOne and the Final Fantasy series.When the Gamecube was released I put my faith in Nintendo once more and like many people was quickly disappointed. The problem with the Cube was not so much the library of games or its processing power, it was just a bit… meh. There was nothing stand-out about the system when compared to its competitors. Sure Zelda, Mario and Metroid where all there, but that was not enough to sell the system at the levels Nintendo needed. Its leaders seemed to realise this, and thus a few years later the Wii was born. Although only a fraction more powerful than its father, the uniqueness of its controls and accessibility for none gamers made it a smash hit. Despite the vast quantity of mediocre shovel ware and fitness/cooking sims, the Wii had secured its place in the market, creating a goldmine for Nintendo to rival that of the Pokemon crazy.
No joke for this one… its too serious.
So now we have the Wii U and my one main thought about it… What exactly is it for? This is the question I think will be asked the most and probably one Nintendo should be the worried about. Put simply, I cannot work out what sort of market this new machine is aimed at. On the one hand we have the new tablet controller. This the feature Nintendo has been pushing the most. So far evidence/fan theories suggest that it will have features such as being able to shift the game play to smaller screen, scanning physical items into the game world (ala Skylanders) and dynamic virtual controls. The way Nintendo has positioned the controller in the spotlight and not the system as a whole suggests to me that they are once again trying to sell it like the Wii, as a new way of playing games. The problem with this is that I am just not sure if a tablet controller is new and exciting enough on its own to sell a whole new console. Its not like touch controls have never been done before (see the DS/Vita/iPad) and I just do not feel that it will be exciting enough for people to want to replace their original Wii with it. The new market the Wii opened (and to a lesser extent the DS) was one that appealed to people who would not normally play a video game, ie, those not so technologically inclined. We have all seen the photos of the old folks playing Wii Sports in their care homes and I just cannot imagine those same people buying a Wii U just because it has a tablet. If anything a tablet is likely to put that audience off.
So if the specialist controller is not enough to move the system then what other selling point is Nintendo relying on? Is there some secret about the main console they have not revealed yet? Will they shock everyone at E3 by revealing the controller is the console? Because that would be awesome. A fully wireless system that can connect to a TV would certainly have that unique edge Nintendo needs to find again, although I highly doubt such a reveal is likely. So assuming Nintendo does not have a Shyamalan esq twist to stun us with, what else is there?
Well on the other hand we have the machine specs. One of the criticisms of the previous Wii was that it did not have enough to please hardcore gamers. It simply did not have the power to compete with the Xbox and PlayStation, also its online service was not up to scratch to handle the popular FPS games that where becoming all the rage. In my opinion however this was a none issue. Even if you could not afford more than one console at least you had a choice. Also with the 360 and PS3 there was little market room for a third hardcore device and really there still is not. Nintendo are trying to rectify this complaint now by providing a machine with power rumoured to be somewhere between half and twice that of the Xbox. Here I think the company needs to be very careful. Stepping back into the hardcore arena with anything less than twice that of current systems and people simply will not be interested enough. Half the power and the Wii U will be a joke to graphics hungry gamers. Also they had better be sure their online service is perfect from the start. No-one is going to payout for a new system on which to play Colonial Marines if it is sub-standard to what they already own, even if it has a funky new controller. On the subject of which, I am not sure how gamers who are used to the solid PS and Xbox controllers will take to it. Look at Sony and Microsoft’s and the basic twin-stick shoulder-trigger design is very similar. Unless Nintendo’s tablet is more comfortable then it looks I cannot imagine it being adopted for serious competitive play.
Could imagine this man buying one…?
The point I am trying to make with all this is that Nintendo is currently engaged in a two-tier approach to selling their Wii U. In one way they are trying to sell it to the same causal crowd who brought their previous inventive system, but in another way they are trying to appeal to the more seasoned gaming veterans like myself who perhaps grew up with their products but then moved on. What worries me is that I am not sure this approach is focused enough. By trying to appeal to everyone Nintendo could well end up with a unit that does many things but none of them well enough to compete. But maybe I am not being optimistic enough. Maybe the company which gave us the NES, the Gameboy and the Wii can pull off this hybrid console. Unfortuantly then I remember that this is the same company that also brought us the Gamecube, the Gameboy Printer and (gulp) the Virtual Boy. Then I long for my childhood and my N64 again….
Pictured: The empty space that replaced Virtual Boy…
At the time of writing I am currently stuck on a train somewhere between the real world and Birmingham New Street. I have only phone and Nintedo DS with a dead battery to sustain me. After an hour of sitting here my mind is desperately trying to think of a way to recharge a battery using only my hair and a handful of fluff I found at the bottom of my bag. I cant survive on Angry Birds for much longer…
I’ve been playing for so long all I can think about are piglets weeping over little round coffins…. war is hell.
For reasons beyond my understanding the trains conductor seems to have taken a wrong turn somewhere back by the Five Ways round-about and has driven us all down an abandoned mine shaft. I can only guess that this is fact the approach to New Street Station. The horror builds in the pit of my stomach. For those of you who have never visited this joyous little cavernous abyss, just picture Thomas the Tank Engine meets The Descent.
So why am I heading there? At this stage I really can’t remember. I’ve been stuck here so long I think my eyes are healing over. My spine is degenerating into a hardened exoskeleton and soon my arms will have withered down to nothing. Above me it could be either midday or midnight. I hope its midday, as midnight in Birmingham usually involves getting covered vomit sooner or later.
The conductor has just told us that the ‘slight delay’ has been caused by congestion at the station. This question has probably been addressed before, but just how do you manage to get a congested train station? They’re on tracks. I’ve seen those massive model railways they have down in Cornwall. Hundreds of little engines scurrying about little cardboard hills and comedy nudist beaches. That’s all controlled by just one man with a dial, and they do alright. Why can’t full size trains just work in the same way? When I was three I had a Duplo train set that was more effectively managed, that’s even after I had eaten the wheels.
Terrified Lego citizens flee their plastic town as it is devoured by an unstoppable 3 year old.
My thinking is that we need to copy Japan. Last year, only one in sixty-four million of their trains was late, as is my understanding. We (that is the people England-land) designed the steam engine, and now they get to lord it over us with their reliable, clean, wide-gauge railways? That’s not fair. Although as a side note I do have a suspicion that maybe their network is not as comfortable as they make it out be. I’ve seen that video, with the men in white gloves stuffing people onboard like they’re trying to put away a Pac-a-Mac. I want to see the video from the next stop, when the doors open and everyone sprays out like a bizarre Mentos-Coke Fountain of Japanese commuters.
I am not an expert, (although this is the internet so screw it, I’ll say I’m High Professor of Trains if that makes people listen to me) but why not an extra carriage, Japan? Yes I know people will say ‘but then it will be too long for the platform’. But screw the platform. If you are prepared to cram onto a packed train and come out flatter then the Coyote at the end of a particularly unsuccessful Roadrunner episode, then surly you will be prepared to stand in the mud? Anyway, I should not be so quick to criticise other countries transport systems when in writing the last three paragraphs I’ve only moved about three feet and that was only to throw my hair-fluff power source out the window before it went into melt down.
Picture: Legitimate Transportation Alternative
So what is the solution then? Other than killing myself with the cord from my underpants? I would like to go on record as having been the first to suggest an endless train. One that just keeps going around and back on itself like an escalator. It could be done. Just mind the gap as you leap on and remember to tuck and roll when you dive off again.
Someone, I can’t remember who, suggested paving over the train lines and using them as extra motorways. Okay, I can see that. Filling Birmingham New Street with concrete is an interesting idea. I have a list of other buildings we could bury while we are at it. But are you not just as likely to get stuck on a motorway as you are on a train? On a train you may not be guaranteed a seat, but at least you don’t have to be constantly worrying about the truck driver on his mobile. Unless he’s on the seat next to you, playing Hip-Hop at a volume that would overpower a shuttle launch. Nor do you have to worry about the million other little metal murder boxes sharing the road with you; cutting across lanes and generally shuffling around you like a high-speed Rubix cube of death.
Car or train, basically, we’re boned. Save up for a hovercraft. (Or dig up all major cities and move them closer move together.) Maybe I’m being too hard on the British Transport Network… No wait. No I’m not. The sodding train’s just moved thirty centimetres and stopped again. Maybe there’s a leaf on the line in the tunnel. If so, maybe they would like me to go and pick it up for them.
Now I grow weary and my eyes are dimming… if this rambling rant makes it to the internet, it means I somehow survived. Possibly by eating the chewing gum I found had been used to stick a ticket to the window. If not, someone call for International Rescue.
For a while now I have wanted to write a review of something and as The Hunger Games seems to be the internets new addiction (after cats and gynecology), I figured I would add my own opinions to the mix. To ensure this is done in a fair and unbiased way, I am writing this review before I see the movie (or read the book or buy the lunch box), as I feel doing so would directly influence my judgement of it.
To start with the movie clearly has nothing to do with Sherlock Holmes, which I found to be an odd and alienating decision on the part of the writers. Instead the plot focuses mainly on a group of teenagers sitting, occasionally walking, in wood which could very well be revealed as a forest later sequels. I personally find this a welcome continuation of pace for the whole teenagers standing around in woodland genre, however the death-sport sub-plot was somewhat distracting and I could not help but feel the film would have benefited from its removal. Fortunately the director wisely decided to downplay this entire aspect by removing all the death scenes/references and replaced them with a CGI talking Ford Fiesta in a similar way to Pixars later rewrite of Cars 2: Murder Wheels.
The cast do a brilliant job of bringing the story of murder and trees to life, the most notable of which is a CGI talking Micheal Keaton; who can been seen in the films trailer playing that mother from Brazil, ruler of District 12 (*Insert District 9 alien joke*) and commander of an army of Space Balls. The hawk who stars in the logo however is less impressive, apparently unable to decide if its head is looking straight ahead in profile, or forward in a sort of down and right-a-bit angle. Those who will also be unimpressed are the fans of the book, to which this film is entirely unrelated after birzarry substituting text for moving pictures as a means of conveying the plot.
Overall I would highly recommend this film, although I must point out the cinema will charge extra for bringing in outside Battle Royale jokes.
I have no idea what point this image was made to represent, but I’m sure its relevant to whatever.
For a more ‘traditional’ less ‘dangerously radical thinker’ (as my food teacher would describe) type review, stay tuned until after Tuesday when I see The Hunger Games for-reals.
Well it’s now about the 21st century (as far as I’m aware) and the internet is pretty well established in our everyday lives. Whilst I enjoy most of the things the cyber-verse has offered me over the last few years, I can’t help feel but there is a distinct lack of me floating around in it. Apart from the pieces of my soul Google now holds of course.
In order to correct this imbalance, I felt the time was right to start blogging. Mostly because my sister had also started and there was no way I’m going to lose out on all of that internet fame to her… >:| I opened Word, went to make a cup of tea and now six years later I’m back, full of fresh ideas and more tea.
So I hope you like whatever I’m about to write about next, and if you don’t, I would not worry because I’m probably not going to either…