Tech of 2012: Wii and U together at last

By Mike on 6:52 pm

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Taking a look at the gaming and tech trends in 2012

If there's one thing about Nintendo, they've never played a conservative game. Their innovations are small, yet have a profound impact on gaming. Take something as simple as the plus shaped D-Pad. It's hard to believe that something so ubiquitous didn't exist prior to the Famicom. The Wii U is a little different. The latest gimmick is something that has existed for some time, just never really implemented: dual screen gaming.

A lot of entertainment providers talk about multiple screens. When I watch a movie on TV, I'm frequently on my iPad looking up actors, directors, discussing it on Twitter. The Wii U is a natural extension of the tablet revolution as much as it's an extension of the DS. The motion control that made the Wii famous has been pushed aside for a tablet-like controller with a touch screen interface. Have your inventory pulled up at all times, touch to solve puzzles, or even detach it from the TV and take your game with you to another room. Play your games on your TV the same way you loved to play them on your DS.

The Wii U GamePad is such an innovative product, it was introduced by Sony, six years ago. Back then it was called RemotePlay. The much touted feature would have allowed you to play PS3 games on your PSP. A couple of indie games implemented it but it never got far beyond that. Possibly owing in part to the PSP's low resolution and painfully slow WiFi. The same function is present in the Vita and has been used a bit more effectively, but not by much. So far only one game officially supports Wii U style mobile control. Apple also has this technology via AirPlay to stream iOS games to a TV and use iPad or iPhone to as a controller. Both these systems require the purchase of costly peripherals.

Where Nintendo excels the most is jumping in on trends before anybody else does. Even if they didn't originate the idea, they're the first to see its potential; no matter how small.

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