As you no doubt may have heard, Nintendo announced their next console: Wii U.
The short of it is this… pretty much a Wii on steroids. Better processors, better memory, better graphics, embraces HD, wiimotes and the balance board are supported as are all Wii games. The early word is that it will beat out the 360 and PS3 for power, but don’t expect that to matter too long as Microsoft and Sony will probably launch their new consoles a year after this and put it to shame… unless the market decided to go sideways instead. I mean, it’s very possible that the next Xbox will be the same as the 360 but with better processors, memory and graphics (and maybe 3D) with an integrated Kinect over a separate peripheral. Sony could do that as well. Iteration over innovation.
But then you get to the other part of the Wii U: the controller.
Aren't you a little big for a game controller?
Yes, that is a screen on the controller. The obvious bits are that you can use it like a tablet and surf the web, and you can also use it as a main display (freeing up the big TV for other activities if needed), it even has a stylus for drawing, but it can also be used as a secondary screen. Immediately many people pointed out it could be used for maps or inventory or other bits of a normal game that could be shuffled off to this second mini screen. I started trying to think of other things…
How about an Aliens game where the pad if your motion sensor? Even just as a large controller with extra touchscreen buttons and virtual keyboard, MMOs become much more possible. A flight or driving simulator where one player controls the action while another player with the pad navigates, does damage control and performs other duties.
So many lost hours...
My best idea yet? Dungeon Keeper.
In the original game, you play the overlord of a dungeon. You set up traps and other things to run your dungeon and protect your treasure room from the heroes who come seeking to steal your loot. It was great fun. But with a setup like this, you could have one player being the hero on the main screen, hacking his way to fortune and glory. On the tablet you have the second player, the overlord, playing the RTS similar to the old game, laying traps and scrambling to react to what the other player is doing.
Really, any game that requires one person to have hidden information from the other players would work beautifully. The only shame here is that thus far word is that only a single new controller will be supported and so card games and board games played local multi-player may be out.
I’m excited for the possibilities… now I just need some people out there to make games like these. Just in case, I’m going to start putting away a couple bucks per paycheck so that I can afford this when it comes out. For once, I actually might want to be an early adopter.