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June 4th 2012 11:27 am

Is Nintendo finally getting serious about hardcore gaming again?

Even though Nintendo sold over 70 million consoles to kids, your parents, your grandparents, and probably a million other people you wouldn't ever have imagined buying a console before, they still seemed to crave acceptance from the hardcore gaming community, who largely dismissed the Wii as being for kids, with weak graphics and a poor games library. Last year's E3 for the Wii U presentation definitely emphasized their commitment to high-quality HD graphics and a strong, diverse games library.

Now, they've fired the latest salvo in their attempt to take back the hearts and minds of the "serious" gamer with the Wii U Pro Controller. As multiple outlets have pointed out, the Wii U Pro Controller strongly resembles the Xbox 360 controller, more so than it resembles its predecessor, the Wii Classic Controller Pro. The Wii U Pro Controller also enjoys one huge benefit over the Classic Controller Pro: it is completely wireless, unlike the Classic Controller Pro, which had to be tethered to the Wii Remote to work. Having the Wii remote sitting in your lap while using the Classic Controller Pro was a constant reminder that the Pro wasn't the "real" controller; Nintendo had designed the Wii as a motion-based system first, and you were subverting that plan by trying to enjoy a more traditional gaming experience.

The Wii U Pro Controller, in addition to reaffirming their commitment to more dedicated and hardcore gamers, also fixes a potential problem with the standard Wii U gamepad controller. Some reports have stated that the system would only come with one controller and they would not be sold separately, and the system may in fact only work with one of the touch-screen controllers. While we'll have to wait until tomorrow to know for sure, it seems that the Wii U Pro Controller is a way to keep the Wii U social IRL. It wouldn't be very much fun to be limited to the Wii remote when your friend is holding a touch-screen controller that also has more buttons. (ETA 06/05/2012): Reggie Fils-Aime just confirmed at the press event the Wii U will support two gamepads.

So, does the Wii U Pro Controller appeal to you? If you've dismissed the Wii U as another gimmick system, will the Pro Controller change that perception, especially given the right games?





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2 replies

Does it feel like a gimmick? Yes and no. No because a second display may prove helpful in certain games where having a HUD may get in the way (something that appeals to the hardcore gamer in me). Yes because it smells of trying to integrate a "du jour" feature (touchscreens) into a console. When I play on a console, I don't want to have to take my eyes off of the screen. Controllers so far have been good at making sure that players can keep their eyes on the screen and off of their hands because of the the tactile controls. But when you introduce a touchscreen, it seems like it'll be something that will be of limited use overall (kind of like the ROB robot that came with my first NES). As for using it as a secondary display to play my game while my wife is using the TV... I have an iPad and iPhone for that (hardcore gamers already have PSPs for that too). Either way, I hope it takes off because we need more competition in the gaming market.
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You might want to take a look at this thread from last year, where some people said exactly that in regards to the usefulness of a secondary screen:


Football plays, menus - definitely places where a secondary screen would greatly enhance the gaming experience. But you do have a point that in lots of other types of games, a touchscreen could be a distraction.

And I wouldn't say PSP, so much as Vita, which is already available and does the exact same thing - allow you to continue a game you are already playing.
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