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Ten Things About the Wii U We Didn’t Know This Morning

Nintendo released a metric ton of Wii U details this morning, across every territory on the globe capable of receiving electronic transmissions, so we now have a whole bunch of Wii U information to digest. Some of these things genuinely surprised me, some not so much. What is not at all surprising to me is that I have no idea if I’d get Wii U at launch. I have long since learned that there are two things that I don’t rule out buying: Transformer alt figures and Nintendo consoles at launch. Too many times I have gone on at length about my unwillingness to buy either, only to be proven wrong by my craven need for material goods.

I’m feeling list-y today, so here, in no certain order, are ten things we know about the Wii U, and by extension, Nintendo, that we didn’t know this morning:

Number 1: Nintendo Likes North America Best

Ok, that’s hyperbole but, Nintendo is releasing the Wii U in North America first, and if that doesn’t mean that they like us best, I don’t know what does. The launch date is November 18th for North America, November 30 for Europe and December 8 in Japan. You can rest assured that the North American release date is picked for one thing, and one thing only: Black Friday. It will be interesting to see how supplies work out, given that the console launches five days before Black Friday. If you don’t preorder one at launch, will fighting off hordes of Walmart shoppers be your only recourse? I don’t know if the general public will latch on to this like they did the original Wii, but given the extended return timelines during the holidays, you can always bring it back in January if you pick one up in November and then change your mind.

Number 2: Nintendo Has Heard of HDMI

Not only will the Wii U support the highest of high resolutions, 1080p, but every Wii U will come with an HDMI cable in the box. In the box! Honestly, I wasn’t sure that Nintendo knew that they don’t make tube TVs any more, so this is a big surprise for me. The PS3 used to come with an HDMI cable and the 360 never had one in the box, at least not to my knowledge, so this makes the Wii U super, extra special. Hopefully this also means that unwary consumers won’t be talked into buying some bullshit, overpriced Monster cable, but I wouldn’t guarantee it.

Number 3: Nintendo Has No Idea What a Window Is

I don’t know about you, but in my house, windows are opened for hours at a time, maybe days depending on where the window is in the house and how the weather changes. In Nintendo parlance, a window, as in “launch window” is open for over three months. That’s not a window, that’s a hole. I’m sorry, but if you’re looking to replicate the Wii’s success, you’re going to have to deal with consumers that don’t know that a game can be made available at the end of February, three whole months after their new console came out, and still be considered a “launch” game. You tell people that they can buy Black Ops 2 on the Wii U at launch, it better be in the goddamned store at launch. Now, that’s not a great example because it will be out on November 30th, but you get the idea.

Number 4: Nintendo Thinks Two SKUs Are Better Than One

Personally, I think that$299 is too high for the Wii U. Yeah, it has “better” graphics than the Wii and it has the fancy gamepad thing, but consumers may not see that as adding enough to the system to justify it being a) more expensive than the Wii was when it launched, b) more expensive than an Xbox 360 with Kinect and c) more expensive than a PS3. Sure, those consoles are getting an upgrade soon, but Ma and Pa Kettle don’t know that. Add to the fact that in order to get a pack-in game, Nintendoland, you have to pay an extra $50 and you’re going to have consumers wonder why it doesn’t come with a game like the Wii did. I’ve seen Nintendoland and I don’t think it explains the point of the Wii U as well as the Wii did, but that’s just me. Sure you get more memory and various stands and cradles, which will appear to be “free” when factoring in the cost of Nintendoland, but I still don’t think that’s a great value proposition.

Number 5: Nintendo Really, Really Liked Bayonetta

Ok, this was the biggest surprise of them all, Bayonetta 2 coming to the Wii U as an exclusive and not only as an exclusive but a Nintendo published exclusive. Huh? I completely understand that Nintendo is looking to present the Wii U as a competitor for current gen consoles and next gen and having something like Bayonetta 2 certainly does that, but come on, Bayonetta? Not every game has to appeal to every person, but I can’t wait to see the Best Buy dude explain to Timmy that, under all of that hair, she’s totally naked.

Number 6: Nintendo Wants People Yapping At You While You Try and Watch The Mentalist

I don’t know why these new fangled electronic devices assume that I want people bending my ear while I watch TV but I can assure you, I do not. Hell, half of the stuff that I watch, I’m embarrassed to admit to mixed company. I don’t have enough disparate tastes in my house to have personalized TV choices for all of them. Here’s the TV, if you don’t like what’s on, go read a book. I certainly don’t want people knowing what I’m watching as I’m watching it and if you bother me while I’m watching Justified, I will hogtie you and Dickie Bennett your ass like you was born and raised in the Holler.

Number 7: Launch Lineups Are Constitutionally Obligated to Be Boring

I mean, come on, looking at this launch lineup, is there anything remotely exciting? A new Mario game, a new Wii Fit, Nintendoland, a bunch of EA games, some throwaway casual bullshit titles, another Rabbids game from Ubisoft and then a whole bunch of games that either will have been recently released for other consoles, or have been out for months. I know that Nintendo is banking on this lineup appealing to people who never moved on from the Wii U but I think there are few fewer of those people out there than Nintendo believes.

Number 8: Nintendo Has Realized that the Internet Isn’t Going Anywhere

Based on all of the social bells and whistles built into this thing, it’s clear that Nintendo is starting to come around to the joy that is the Internet. This is further evidenced by the fact that the more expensive bundle comes with some sort of points redemption thingy that rewards points for purchasing digital games, points that can then be redeemed to purchase more digital games. It’s not at all unlike the current Club Nintendo offerings, but being able to do it directly on the console will make it easier and hopefully expose more people to Nintendo’s downloadable offerings, of which there are many. No word on whether or not Nintendo will make playing games with real life people easier, but if they don’t, 3rd party developers will fill the void, as they have with the Wii, the DS and the 3DS.

Number 9: Nintendo Loves Breaking Bad

Well, Reggies does. Smart man, that Reggie is.

Number 10: Nintendo Is Making an Effort With Third Party Publishers

I ragged on the launch lineup, because I’m coming at this as someone who plays a lot of games and wants to see new things at launch, but honestly, this is one of the strongest third party launch lineups for a Nintendo console I’ve seen in recent memory. Darksiders II, CoD: Black Ops 2, Mass Effect 3, Bayonetta, Batman: Arkham City, 007 Legends, Epic Mickey 2, Trine 2, Monster Hunter 3 plus others we don’t know about yet. Nintendo is clearly trying to escape the stigma of being a 1st party console only and this is a good way to start. The fact that the games that have been released previously all come with content released as DLC helps too. Granted, I won’t play any of these games over again, but those nine people who haven’t played Mass Effect 3 yet are in for a treat!

As I said before, I’m still not sure what I’m going to do. I don’t know how much Wii U interest there is around here and as I’m no longer being paid to write anywhere, it’s not like I can treat this as a business decision. Nintendo will have to do a lot between now and launch to convince me to buy one on November 18th and not have it be a Christmas gift, but anything is possible. I have wavered in the past and will do so again, probably many, many times.

You People Are Never Satisfied!

You people. The lot of you. Always wanting “more” and never being satisfied with what companies dribble out to you in press conferences and Youtube videos. Why is it when a company like Nintendo goes to all of the trouble to hold a huge press conference showing off what the Wii U can do that you shrug your slouched shoulders, yawn, and move on to the next shiny bauble.

It’s infuriating, really. You have this seemingly insatiable desire to be dazzled.

I mean you people can’t even tell the difference between what is clearly a phenomenon like Wii Fit and what is “ho-hum”. You laughed at Wii Fit and looked at it like a weird gimmick. Well 43 million units of Wii Fit have sold worldwide and are sitting in closets and underneath beds all across the planet so stick that in your nunchuk and smoke it. (Smoking sort of defeats the purpose of Wii Fit but what do you care?)

Now, stop asking for more, get excited, and make sure to reserve your copy of Super Mario Dance Party Paperboy IX.

B3 at E3 2012- Day 1: Nintendo

It’s time to update NHS’ B3 at E3 2012 coverage, what with Nintendo’s stunning press conference now over and the NHS crew probably laid up in their hotel room, still reeling from a night of eating exotic, rich folks food like “six cheese pizza” at CPK and wine coolers by the pool with Snoop Dogg and Tom Chick. Frankly, I’m ashamed that my NHS colleagues have not flooded the internet with E3 coverage. We should have posts every five minutes about stuff like Halo stickers in the bathroom and whatnot. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD TODAY, and NHS has dropped the ball.

Thank goodness for the power and journalistic might of B3. Now, about that Nintendo press conference…

After being the laughing stock of the last several E3 shows, Nintendo came fully prepared this time, with guns blazing. And by fully prepared, I mean with a zombie game and by guns blazing I mean a zombie shooter. It’s called Zombu: Electric Boogaloo or something like that. They also came prepared by showing some of last year’s top games like Arkham Asylum and Mass Effect 3: Intergalatic Booty Call working on their new Wii U hardware. Everyone seemed pretty excited to play old games while holding an iPhone, using Nintendo’s new Smart Glass technology. Or to just play a Nintendo game using the new “Regular Controller”.

But to kick things off, they showed a still image of Shigeru Miyamoto’s face for ten minutes on the big screens while the Super Mario Bros. theme played. Everyone smiled and nodded affirmatively, remembering the halcyon days of youth. A bunch of midgets dressed like Mario characters rode on stage on minibikes. Then, the man himself took the stage and apologized humbly and deeply in a very Japanese way for Wii Music. Then he said “Pikmin 3” and a bunch of Nintendo nerds got excited, thinking it might be a sequel to cult Wii hit Little King’s Story.

Then, just like on Iron Chef, the new Wii U console rose from the stage amidst smoke and a light show. The speakers emitted the “you found a treasure” fanfare that’s been used in every Zelda game since 1985, and again everyone smiled and nodded affirmatively in the warm glow of nostalgia. The new console will come in 35 different colors including “black” and “white” and can support up to TWO controllers at once without overheating and blowing up. Its MSRP was not announced, but fair market value seems to be about a hundred bucks.

Bulldog-faced weirdo Reggie Fils-Aime took to the stage and announced- to everyone’s surprise- that the Wii U will play the Mario game tapes as well as minigame compliations. It seems that Nintendo is banking on everyone’s nostalgia for the “Spirit of ‘06” and the magic we all felt about the Wii launch before we played it. But the Wii U will also feature internet connectivity and stuff like Netflix, which I don’t think the Wii ever really had.

Bob Hoskins, who portrayed Mario in the Super Mario Bros. movie as well as hardened gangster Harry Shand in “The Long Good Friday” was presented and talked about Nintendoworld Land, a new theme park or something opening sometime soon outside of Wasau, Wisconsin. Seedy carnies- their toothless visages hidden by giant foam heads of beloved Nintendo characters- will wave and uncomfortably hug your children while you dine on mushrooms and raccoon tails. The park will include a shrine to Miyamoto-san made of marshmallows and pixie dust as well as a special “edutainment” exhibit that will explain to children and adult gamers alike the evils of so-called “next generation” game-playing hardware.

There was something called MiiVerse, but I think it was just an announcement that they’re going to force you to look at your ghastly MiiParade every time you turn the console on. I hope that somewhere my Miis of David Bowie, James Brown, Glenn Danzig, and Tom G. Warrior were saved.

Of course, Wii Fit U was a big hit among attendees, their bellies fat with lemon bars and foie gras eaten off of the nude bodies of strippers, provided by Electronic Arts. The new edition will feature exciting minigames like “walking” and “standing”. With the new Wii U controller, players will also be able to hold it while exercising. The 3DS was also represented. Everyone squinted and tried to move to see the giant 3D images displayed of Mario and Luigi laughing in a giant pile of money. Then Mario pops out of the screen and says “Wesa told you so! Peepala poopala!”

I have to say that in all I was really disappointed. This year, Nintendo did not bring any kind of novelty, “gotcha” joke things like the Wii Vitality sensor.

That’s pretty much all I could see from flipping through a couple of Web sites five minutes before I wrote this. But hey, ANY coverage is better than none, right?