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What Did We Learn at E3?

The 2012 E3 has come and gone, and what was left behind is mostly calendar counting until the 2013 E3.

Sure, Halo4 looked great, as did many of the other games previewed during the week (Watch Dogs!).  What everyone really wants to know is when they can shell out their hard earned cash on a next-gen console and use  that “old” PS3 or Xbox360 as a paperweight.  Unfortunately, neither Sony or Microsoft dropped any hints at what’s to come in hardware and left all of that up to Nintendo and their new console due later this year, the “Wii U”.

 

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07:  Nintendo exhibitor...

The “Wii U” in many ways simply catches Nintendo up to places their competitors have been for some time, starting with high def.  Yes, you will finally play your favorite games from Nintendo in 1080p, and you will be able to control those games with not only the controllers from your old Wii, but new controllers too – including the new Gamepad.  The Gamepad is a large, tablet like controller with thumb sized analog joysticks in the upper corners and a screen in the middle.  The screen allows for interactive gaming – one thing on your TV while something related is on the controller’s screen – and you can even use it as a separate gaming device all together when you aren’t around your TV.  The happy surprise they announced was that the Wii U would support two Gamepads at the same time, something rumored leading up to the show that would not happen.

Just as Nintendo thought they would own the show since they were showing off the only new nextgen console, Microsoft stole a whole lot of thunder by unveiling something called “Smart Glass“… This isn’t a new piece of hardware, but instead, most ingeniously, an app you will download onto handheld devices you already own.  Smartphones and tablets alike will be used with Smart Glass to not only provide interactive gaming functions, but also interactive video content and video streaming.  You can watch Game of Thrones and use the app to pull up information about the characters, maps, etc.  I wasn’t clear on if this is an automated process of the app knowing what you’re watching because you told it, or if you’re running the video via the app – but it was impressive that Microsoft used the power of existing hardware instead of introducing a new accessory.

Sony was the quietest of the three companies largely pimping upcoming games (‘Last Of Us’ looked very nice) and working very hard to breathe life into the Vita handheld device.  Sony has a lot of problems right now, and their stock price is showing it.

While there was a lot of beautiful preview videos, trailers and demos of some upcoming games, everyone knew that what the 2012 E3 really was going to be is exactly what it ended up being – a holdover to 2013.

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Meet “U”, Watch Video

By now you know that Nintendo released the video seen below before E3 officially started, and at the same time kinda pulled a fast one since Microsoft historically gets the first word.  But Sunday’s release of the video not only steals some of that “me first” limelight it accomplished a few things for Nintendo.

With the video the company gets out of the way explaining in great detail the new console, how they came about the design and many of unit’s new features.  Now when they hold their actual live presentation on Tuesday (at noon) they can spend all of that time showing off the new games, software and Miiverse (the new social platform they are launching).

The video is 30 minutes.  Much of it is woefully painful to watch.  Not sure why they decided to let company President, Satoru Iwata stand and deliver, but his shaky English and v e r y s l o w delivery makes for some tedious viewing.  Additionally, the highly produced explanation/scenario “videos inside the video” and that typical Japanese style of how they present things – very, very literally – provides for some comedy that ends up making the video worth watching.

The “U” (peet:  The seemingly very angry commenter below is correct, the actual name is “Wii U”, but everyone I know and myself has been calling it simply “U”, or the “Nintendo U” – again, he’s correct, so here is my admission he is right and I am half-assed.) is going to end up winning or losing on what amazing gameplay Nintendo can pull off with this new cross platform idea.  Some of what they show where you overlay the controller screen in front of your larger display is very interesting stuff.  But like Microsoft’s Kinect, if there isn’t a great game to play, it doesn’t matter how cool the tech is.

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Is This the New Nintendo Controller?

Twitter is a dangerous thing, especially if you’re trying to privately send a pic of something that no one is supposed to see.  No, not nudes – a pic of the upcoming Nintendo U controller.

The Twitter account @MATTYBOOSH, which was established back in 2008, has been washed from Twitter as it was the place to find the pic you see here.  Very likely this is what the controller for the U will look like and is slightly different than what Nintendo showed off at last year’s E3.  The image was uploaded via someone that works for Traveller’s Tale Games (maker of several Lego-themed games), according to GamesRadar, and likely was a misplayed direct message, instead going out for mass consumption.

What makes this interesting is the idea that the controller is also a handheld gaming console so when, as demo’d in the video below, some jerky-jerk comes into the room and bogarts the TV you can continue playing your game right there in your hands.

The U is due to go on sale this winter, although there are no official release dates.

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