Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wrapping Up Wii U News

I pretty much covered all the stuff I really care about regarding the Wii U in the last two posts, but there is still, arguably, quite a bit to cover for those interested.  Which...includes me in a sense, but I'll get to the reason behind that in a bit, even though it's a bit obvious.  Rather than do some individual posts about everything, however, I'm more or less just going to group everything in here, New Dump style, because I really can't bring myself to do a -lot- about the bits and pieces of miscellany left.  This is mostly because, as I said, I can't bring myself to a level where I really care enough to be particularly verbose, but this is because of the obvious, as well as because I am just a tired, tired person today after doing some rather heavy outdoor-work.  And that has just sort of ruined me for the day, but I want to post about this and get it out of the way rather than defaulting to something a bit easier, since I'm just not about that tonight.  Even though I probably should be, since that'd be the smarter play.

Jumping right in, I imagine the thing you -want- to mention right off is the games, since that is what matters, right?  The games.  Unless you're trying to make arguments against a system and are just completely overlooking them, because then games don't really matter because you're actively ignoring them to say there's nothing.  But...that's neither here nor there and is certainly not misplaced grumblings or anything like that.  The actual released games list for the launch window of the Wii U (which is from when it releases til March of next year, a full five-ish months from them) numbers in at an impressive 50 individual games, but there's obviously some room for any of the games on the list to miss the window as well as for other games to enter into the window.  Those 50 games are not concrete, is my point, but I imagine that they are solid enough that we can yet judge them appropriately since, well, that is exactly what I'm going to do because that's kinda what I gotta do.

I'm not going to go ahead and post the full list of 50 games here because that's just mindless padding for something I don't particularly care about, but I will link to a list so that you can review it whilst I pull out a few figures and titles from it to speak on.  By figures, I mean some statistics, since people friggin' love statistics for everything that isn't Nintendo, and I just enjoy statistics as is, so I like to bring that in a bit.  At least half of the titles are ports, if not more (since there's some games I don't know off-hand, and I'm just not going to do the availability check for all 50 of them) so it's probably closer to around 30 of the games, and any of the new IPs are purely third-party efforts.  Also, the big thing that sticks out to me is that there's a real distinct lack of Nintendo effort as with the 3DS when it released.  Of the 50 titles, 9 of them are being published by Nintendo and of those 9, 5 of them are clear, defined Nintendo properties.  Possibly 6 since I have no damn clue about Sing Party and I don't really care to know.

The thing you hear clamored for the loudest and the longest whenever it comes to new consoles releasing (or handhelds) is New IPs.  Everybody seems to expect you to throw something out there that is different from what's already out there by virtue of new characters and new settings if not by new gameplay methods or design.  Nintendo has put down not a single one of their own efforts.  The Wonderful 101 is being made by Platinum Games and while Nintendo probably is retaining the IP rights to it, I can't call it one of their efforts.  Nintendo Land is not a new IP because all it is is a mishmash of existing IPs used as an exercise in getting people accommodated to the Wii U GamePad while also likely enjoying themselves because it is a game as well.  New Super Mario Bros Wii U (urg), Game & Wario, Wii Fit U (We fit you?) and Pikmin 3 are all iterations in existing series or at least using established IPs.  So what is there by way of new IPs?  The mentioned The Wonderful 101 and....not....much else.  ZombiU can't even be mentioned there because it too is based off an existing IP.  The fact that the only game using it was released 26 years ago doesn't change that, even if it's 'new enough' for most.  Some of the other titles in the list might be third-party new IPs, but they honestly aren't really standing out enough just yet to mention, not to mention the point is focusing on Nintendo's own efforts.

That right there, more than anything else, is what has frustrated me endlessly with regards to Nintendo insofar as the whole 3DS situation and the staunch refusal to go against it is maddening.  For as much praise as Nintendo gets for being so creative and so innovative and the like, I'm just not seeing where it comes from outside of their hardware, because they're simply not doing anything with their games.  The last new IP I can directly say has come from Nintendo that I can think of is Wii Sports (because it meets the criteria) and while I'm absolutely certain there has been some since then, I am completely drawing a blank on that front.  In taking a very brief look at Wiki's list of 3DS games, I'm not seeing a single Nintendo new IP until it goes into the downloadable list and you settle on Pushmo (Pullblox in PAL territories) which I am pretty sure counts.  It's something that doesn't seem to be in a series and/or franchise, and it's made by Intelligent Systems, who seem to be owned by Nintendo.  So there you go, for the entirety of the 3DS' life, over a year and a half, Nintendo has put for the effort to create a single new IP for it.  Fantastic use of all that creativity and innovation, really.

The other fairly big bit, since I realized that the mop-up is basically the games and this, is the announced Nintendo TVii (pronounced Tee-Veeeeee) which is....a thing?  I'm honestly a bit clueless as to just what exactly this thing is, but it's coming exclusively to North America to start (including Canada, surprisingly) and is touted as being supported by all of the major cable and satellite companies.  Which is amazing since not a single one is listed, but I'm sure there's a reason for that.  Regardless, it just seems to be one of those things that simply require you to tie your account to the system which then unlocks to you the ability to watch whatever offerings they have online, which is to say that you're not going to be able to watch new shows on it.  Or, in my experience, pretty much anything you'd like to watch that isn't really mass-market or something like that, and even if it -is- mass-market, it has to be the right publisher under the right company and this and that and basically my point is that streaming is far from infallible.

I guess, however, that it -does- offer some sort of live TV functionality in that watching something on your TV while connected to your Wii U Gamepad gives you some sort of added layer of immersion, depending on what you're watching.  The example given is that a man, watching a football game, seems to be able to review plays, check out tweets related to the game, and generally have an information hub at his fingertips related to the game itself as it's being played.  Which is admittedly pretty cool if it works as it says it will on the tin, but I'm remaining cautious on that since, again, my outings with that sort of thing have ended with less than favorable results because of the unreliability of the tech, what with being fairly new and all still.  I'd also like a little extra affirmation on just who is supporting this and how, but that will come in the coming months I'm sure, and we'll just have to see which of the main players is being a jerk and who isn't..

I was introduced to the fact that apparently the Wii U is not going to support DVD and/or Blu-Ray playback as a feature, which understandably has a lot of folks up in arms.  I mention this because apparently the standing reasoning for that sort of thing remains to be that Nintendo is interested in providing "a video game machine" and not a multi-media center, which I find a little hilarious, given the introduction of the TVii service.  While it's basically just a hub service for other companies to funnel their services through, it's still a hub that is contained in the Wii U console out-of-the-box (for North America) is DVD/Blu-ray playback, basically.  I suppose it's an attempt insomuch as it's all online-only which makes it that much more controllable on Nintendo's side, but it still does a pretty good job of muddling up the message, and I figured it was something to point out, if true.  (Comments sections aren't generally a great source of information, but given Nintendo's track record, I am not surprised in the least)

All told, the Wii U is shaping up to be a console all its own and that's certainly the news you want to hear.  Correct or not, the perception that I felt was a general one across the board was that the Wii was basically not a console so much as it was a box that let you play Nintendo games and not a whole lot else, and it certainly seems like Nintendo is putting a little effort into bringing that around for the Wii U.  Not a lot of effort, but some, which is admirable enough I suppose.  Maybe it's because I've skipped every Nintendo console since the N64 and thus have a bit of catching up to do, or maybe it's just the "ooooh, shiny new tech" mentality, but I do find a sort of tepid anticipation for the Wii U welling up in me, which is a little surprising.  My concern is that it is indeed the latter since there's not a single thing I can see myself playing on the Wii U at this time (besides WO3: Special, but I would -like- to play that on PS3 KOEI) since I not much of a Nintendo first-party guy all told.  But perhaps I'll take the jump when I can comfortably procure a system without the threat of every other person in the store wanting it as well.  I'm not sure, and that uncertainty, for me at least, is what's really interesting about it.

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