Earlier this week, for three glorious days, the Los Angeles Convention Center played host to E3 (that’s the Electronic Entertainment Expo for all you lay-people out there), an annual tradeshow where computer and videogame developers come together and unveil their upcoming titles, hardware and everything else I’ll likely end up spending way too much time and money on over the next 12 months or so. As a child of the 80s/gigantic nerd, I usually look forward to this time of year, as it gives me the opportunity to glimpse into the future of the gaming world – a world where would-be-sociopaths such as myself are allowed… nay, encouraged… to congregate and blow one another’s digital heads off as a means of both entertainment and stress-relief – but this year, something was different.
On Monday morning, Nintendo took to the stage to debut their soon-to-be-released console, the Wii U. Call me old fashioned, but I find something appealing about reclining, near-motionless on my couch with a big, fat hunk of plastic in my hands while I gaze lifelessly at my television screen for hours on end. The Wii U, on the other hand, which hopes to propel gaming into a new generation, utilizes a never-before-seen controller design, dubbed the Wii U GamePad (ed. note: Seriously? I hope that guy got fired for lack of creativity) and promises to immerse players even deeper into the experience. With the GamePad, Nintendo attempts to capitalize on the tablet craze that’s been sweeping the globe for the past few years. But is the gaming community ready for that level of interactivity? I say, “no.”
Then, I grunt involuntarily as I stand up and shuffle toward the bathroom for my arthritis medication only to realize… I’ve already taken it today.
Granted, I’ve never been a fan of hand-held games. I don’t play mobile games and I openly condemn everything tablet-related from reading the Twilight series on your Kindle to slashing sushi on your iPad. But I’m just not sure the Wii U has the same fun-for-the-whole-family vibe that made its predecessor so approachable upon its release back in 2005. Of course, if I’d been writing this blog then, I may very well have said similar things about the Wii. And gosh darn it if I haven’t had some good times with that thing. So, who knows? Maybe the Wii U and its impressive lineup of launch titles (including one featuring everyone’s favorite red-capped plumber) will be a refreshing addition to the game-o-sphere (Note to self: Contact Microsoft; suggest ‘Game-o-Sphere’ as name for their upcoming console) and I’m certain it will end up being one of the most sought-after items this holiday season.