5 Games We Want, That Would Take Advantage of the Wii U Tablet
The Wii U, released in November, is still in its troubled infancy. Last year, disappointing sales for the console have resulted in Nintendo's first annual loss in over three decades, according to The Wall Street Journal. I'm not an economist, so I don't want to delve too deeply into how this net loss relates to a worldwide recession. I'm simply going to say that releasing virtually zero killer app games could not have helped the company. In 2006, the Nintendo Wii launched with Twilight Princess, and it became virtually impossible for anyone to purchase the system without waiting in a queu over night. Now it may or may not have been the result of an overinflated ego, but Nintendo thought they could reap the same success in 2012 by releasing the Wii U without any triple A games. That turned out to be false.
I'm not here to rant thought. Quite the contrary. I actually remain cautiously optimistic for the future of this system. In part, that's because I know Nintendo can produce some of the best games in the world if given enough time, but ot's also because I've had a chance to play some games with that gargantuan beast of a tablet, and found out... it's actually kind of comfortable. It weighed far less than I had anticipated, and I can actually foresee certain companies taking advantage of the touch screen in innovative ways that don't suck. And lest not we forget -- it has face buttons, shoulder buttons, and a control stick. By god, it is an actual controller! How I would have loved one of those while playing Donkey Kong Country Returns.
Right now is not the type for the soapbox, though. Now is the time to spread some of that innovative thought that I was talking about. So here are five ideas that I've come up with, or that I've seen floating around the internet, for how certain games could take advantage of the tablet controller's interface:
Let's first talk about the big, fabulous, rainbow elephant standing in the corner doing a jig while juggling batons. I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that a traditional, full-length, Pokemon adventure for consoles would be amazing. It should have starter pokemon, TMs and HMs, gym leaders, and all that other good stuff -- and we want it with fully modeled battle animations. This is the game people have been asking for since the Gamecube was still relevant. But here are the golden words that would allow Nintendo to steal the spotlight at E3 with its announcement: "...and you'll use the tablet as your pokedex." Yeah! I want to be able to hold that thing up, tap the shoulder button, and have Dexter tell me about the monster I'm aiming at. I want to see its picture, height, weight, strengths, weaknesses and whether it enjoys long walks on the beach. Of all the suggestions on this list, I believe this to be the one that most directly taps into a brain's pleasure center. It would feel wonderful. Get on this, Nintendo.
Okami for the Playstation 2 was an instant classic. The game looked beautiful, it was a lot fun, and it was really something original and unique. The art style went a long way towards differentiating it from other games in the genre, but the whole idea of using the celestial brush and interacting with the world through brush strokes is what made the game something all of its own. The problem was that an analog stick is just a bit clunky for doing this -- and trying to use the Wii remote to do it was an absolute nightmare. If only we had a way to present the surface to draw on, and a way for the player to use their finger to make the exact brush stroke he or she wanted to make. If only...
Let's cut to the chase on this one. One word: Pip-Boy. In practice, the Pip-Boy is just a glorified game menu with a snazzy GUI slapped onto it. The thing is, it was done extremely well. I've always thought it was a cool idea to have the game's menu incorporated into an arm piece that the main character wears. It shows such information such as which part of his body is injured, how much weight he is carrying, and his vital statistics (S.P.E.C.I.A.L.) It even serves to hold copies of audio recordings the player has picked up, as well as other written memos. It's like an all in one personal assistant. But here is the rub: it is not the game's only menu. There is also a standard "pause" menu that allows you to save, load, and quit. So, working from that, here is what I want to see: let us use the tablet as the Pip-Boy. I want to be able to look through my items and other goodies, but I don't want this to pause the game. Leave that for the traditional save-load menu, and encourage me to do my thing only at times where it would be safe to do so. It will add to the roleplay element of the game, and by coincidence (or not) it will look totally sweet.
4. Dynasty Warriors
I think even a lot of Dynasty Warrior's most devour fans are quickly growing tired of the franchise. It's not that there's anything wrong with the games, it's that they're all pretty much the same thing. There's only so many times you can tell the same story of the Three Kingdoms before it begins to feel like a rehash, and that moment has probably already happened. However, I think a gameplay change could go a long way towards freshening things up for the series. Hear me out on this one. If you've ever played one of the Empire spinoffs, you'll know that they were fun because they allowed you to employ more strategy than the average Dynasty Warrior game allowed you to. You could even go to the menu and give basic orders to the generals of your army. The problem was that going to the menu to check on where they were, and what they were up to, broke from the action of the game. Added to this, was the fact that you never actually needed them to do their jobs in the first place; it was far too easy to Rambo the entire map all by yourself. Well, I am not ready to give up on the idea yet. My inner Zhuge Liang wants it to work. So right now I'm imagining a game that shows the map on the tablet, and allows me to give orders to my generals. I want to be able to command them to siege or defend certain bases or take certain paths just by quickly making a few taps on the screen. This way, the action isn't broken up, and people may actually be willing to use the feature. Of course, for this to work the A.I. will have to first be made competent, but baby steps are okay.
5. The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda
Nintendo almost never lets us down when it comes to Zelda games. I had such a blast with Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess on the Wii that I'm somewhat hesitant to be saying which direction the series should be headed in. Whatever they give us for the next game, it's going to be good. I'm an imaginative person though, and I like to brainstorm. So what I've come up with for the Zelda series, in addition to all of the standard stuff like an inventory on the touch screen, is this. Lens of Truth. I'm sure you all remember that one from Ocarina of Time -- the item that allowed you to see through the illusions of the world, and view things as they really are. It revealed hidden walls, invisible enemies, and all sorts of neat things like that. I think it could work in a more unique way on the Wii U though, since with two screens, we now have the ability to see the world both ways at once. I see a lot of possibility for something like this, where a player physically moves the tablet controller to change the view, as if peering through a lens.
A Question for the Readers:
Which of these games would you most like to see on the Wii U?
So these were the five that I've come up with, that I was most excited about talking about. I think there are plenty of other neat applications for the tablet as well though. Something as simple as a JRPG that uses the tablet's screen for my decision making and team management could be really enjoyable. I'm interested in hearing other ideas too, though. So if you've come up with something good, be sure to leave a comment below.