Nintendo WII U - Modern HD Gaming Console (Part 2)

4/25/2013 3:10:50 PM

The GamePad

The Wii U’s touch-based GamePad controller has its roots in the Nintendo DS, as proven by the stylus concept of the GamePad, the touchscreen becomes outdated (although it is larger than 6.2 inches, with the resolution of 854x480 and 16:9 ratio), and the microphone is located along the bottom. A camera facing the player which is certainly borrowed from the DSi – is located parallel to the mic, just above the giant touchscreen. Two clickable and convex analog joysticks which copy Nintendo Wii Nunchuk emphasize the left and right of the GamePad, and the + and - buttons (instead of start / select) from Wiimote located along the bottom right. The SNES’s 4-distict-button layout and d-pad line up on either side of the touchscreen just below the analog joystick. This is certainly a Nintendo device, isn’t it?

The GamePad

The GamePad

Of course, the GamePad does not only show respect to the previous Nintendo hardware, there are m also any new things to see as well – a volume slider that controls the loudness of the GamePad’s speakers, a home button along the bottom (which allows quick access to the GamePad’s settings and the game's main menu) and a red flashlight to let you know when you need to recharge (continuous alert flashes when the battery is running low).

The digital triggers are waiting for your index finger on each side around the back, with a button that can be clicked on each trigger (similar to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 controllers). A deep groove allows you to hold comfortably that controller weighing 1.1 pounds in the long run – we are not sure you will be able to use it longer than 3 hours if it is not plugged into the socket. It lasted 5 hours with the brightness reduced, sound off and without any rumble, but on the average it lasts only about 3.5 hours in general use. There is also an energy saving mode which automatically adjusts the screen brightness based on whatever is displayed, but that does not seem to do much to preserve battery life; we found that decreasing sound and keeping the brightness at the lowest setting is the best way to extend the run time than the average. If you want to rest and fully charge the controller, it will take about 2.5 hours to do it.

Regarding the new functions, there is room for NFC connection, but we could not test it because there was no software to support it (even Activision’s flagship Skylanders series). Perhaps the tablet-like controller’s latest function that is not for gaming is the IR-based common remote control ability – the GamePad can be used to control your HDTV (well, "most" HDTVs) according to some basic, but very important, ways. Instead of holding a few remote controls to turn on the TV and game consoles, the Wii U’s built-in common remote feature – controlling whether the Wii U is turned on or not – everything is reasonably organized for your console controller. Of course, it is not a substitution for your Harmony One; according to our experience, it is mainly used to supply power to the Wii U, television, and switch to the appropriate input / volume / etc, and fortunately with little impact on battery life.

A close-up view on the GamePad

A close-up view on the GamePad

Only this feature alone can greatly affect the way we approach the game machine as part of the entertainment center. It has also changed our gaming habits a lot, because many games on the GamePad’s screen are reflected images of the TV – we found ourselves pampering the concentration-deficit disorder and turn to watch the evening news while we were beating the goombas. It also helps families avoid fighting for the remote control of the television. Little Sally can continue to play New Super Mario Bros. U while father is watching Sunday football (or other similar circumstances).

Of course it will not work with all software, such the new released Land Nintendo – a collection of carnival-themed games which consists of 12 Nintendo’s major franchised games, from Animal Crossing to Zelda. It implemented all the tips of the GamePad throughout one- and multi-player games. That includes asymmetric gameplay, in which you can see on the gamepad is not what you see on TV. Those features which are praised much, such as off-screen gaming, only works on a case-by-case basis. (We could not test this feature with Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Software or any other non-game app prior to the launch, because none was available).

it looks like a toy.

It looks like a toy.

Unfortunately, in general, the GamePad controller offers a pretty bad impression: it looks like a toy. The four main buttons mimic aspirin pills and are not so subtle as we expected from the modern game consoles; the + / - shiny buttons emphasized further this tragedy. The shallow and soft shoulder buttons like those on Sony's DualShock 3 ware very bad compared to the buttons on the current Xbox 360 controller as well as competitive third party controllers (such as Razer Onza). And the convex analog lever made our thumb slide off during our session of playing Mario. The shiny surface which attracts fingerprint smudges and dust on the GamePad does not offer anything good to its style (we like the anti-glare surface on the back of the GamePad). It's not entirely bad – the d-pad is solid as ever, and has digital triggers work fine (as long as you do not play FPS or racing games). The GamePad is also comfortable, regardless of weight and size.

Yes, we tried to bring Wii U gamepad everywhere, but Nintendo estimates (admittedly modest) quite accurately – the video which is streamed from the Wii U to the GamePad will not need to go very far without a problem or cutting out completely. We're not saying we had a problem in the estimated distance – in fact, the transmission worked smoothly - but do not expect you can play game at midnight from the bedroom while the Wii U lies somewhere in the other end of the house. Although people in rural areas can do better, our testing apartment in New York with three wireless devices (in addition to Wii U) will not allow anything away from 20 feet or so. However, within the Wii U range, pushing games to both the GamePad’s screen and TV did not fail to do which is not a tiny achievement, and opens the Pandora's box of ideas for game developers and media providers.

Top 10
Review : Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
Review : Canon EF11-24mm f/4L USM
Review : Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2
Review : Philips Fidelio M2L
Review : Alienware 17 - Dell's Alienware laptops
Review Smartwatch : Wellograph
Review : Xiaomi Redmi 2
Extending LINQ to Objects : Writing a Single Element Operator (part 2) - Building the RandomElement Operator
Extending LINQ to Objects : Writing a Single Element Operator (part 1) - Building Our Own Last Operator
3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 2) - Discharge Smart, Use Smart
- First look: Apple Watch

- 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 1)

- 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 2)
- How to create your first Swimlane Diagram or Cross-Functional Flowchart Diagram by using Microsoft Visio 2010 (Part 1)

- How to create your first Swimlane Diagram or Cross-Functional Flowchart Diagram by using Microsoft Visio 2010 (Part 2)

- How to create your first Swimlane Diagram or Cross-Functional Flowchart Diagram by using Microsoft Visio 2010 (Part 3)
Popular Tags
Microsoft Access Microsoft Excel Microsoft OneNote Microsoft PowerPoint Microsoft Project Microsoft Visio Microsoft Word Active Directory Biztalk Exchange Server Microsoft LynC Server Microsoft Dynamic Sharepoint Sql Server Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2012 Windows 7 Windows 8 Adobe Indesign Adobe Flash Professional Dreamweaver Adobe Illustrator Adobe After Effects Adobe Photoshop Adobe Fireworks Adobe Flash Catalyst Corel Painter X CorelDRAW X5 CorelDraw 10 QuarkXPress 8 windows Phone 7 windows Phone 8