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E3: About that Wii U ...

4:00 PM on 05.14.2012 // Chad Concelmo

All eyes will be on the Wii U at this year's E3. While Sony and Microsoft will most likely have some exciting news, it seems the thing people are the most interested in learning more about is Nintendo's upcoming console.

What will the final model look like? How will it work? What secrets is it hiding? What will the games look like? How will they play?

There is a lot to be revealed, and with the Wii U scheduled to release later this year, Nintendo has a lot to talk about at this year's big show.

But the big question is: Are you excited to listen?

The Wii U has had an interesting history leading up to this year's E3. Last year, it was leaked that Nintendo was working on a next-generation console -- a console given the codename Project Cafe.

Before last year's E3, rumors were running wild. It will be twice as powerful as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3! It will have one of the craziest controllers ever conceived! Oh, just kidding about the new system being powerful: it will actually be less powerful than the two other current-gen consoles.

There was a lot to speculate about. Some true. Some ... not so much.

When E3 2011 started, people were dying to see what Nintendo would reveal.

At their press conference, they most definitely revealed this mysterious Project Cafe ... but it was one of the strangest and most confusing announcements in recent memory.

At the end of their long, yet stellar press conference, an odd image of a white tablet-looking thing popped up on the giant screen. A white tablet-looking thing called the Wii U. The Wii U? Huh.

After that, a montage played of the Wii U being used. It looked cool and interesting, but no one in the press conference audience really understood exactly what it was. Since no actual console was focused on in the video, people didn't know what they were looking at.

Was the Wii U an add-on to the current Wii? Was the entire console the tablet controller? Was it in HD? There were many questions, but before anything was answered, the video just ... ended.

I, for one, was confused. I left the press conference excited (I am always excited!), but I definitely needed to know more.

Once I finally got to play the Wii U at last year's E3, I finally understood what it was all about.

Most importantly, I noticed that it was a new console. Sitting under the pretty monitors in Nintendo's booth was a small, sleek white machine. Kind of like a Wii, but much sexier. Ah, I thought. That must be the actual Wii U. It started to become clearer. The tablet was just the controller.

After playing the demos Nintendo had on offer, I liked what I saw. The interface was interesting. The graphics were polished and in beautiful HD (at last!). The tablet was comfortable and easy to hold.

When I walked away, I was happy. Still a little confused, but much more satisfied than I was after the Nintendo press conference.

I was intrigued about the Wii U, but still needed to know more.

Over the last year, more rumors have popped up about the Wii U. The release date, the specs of the system, the games that may or may not be in development for it -- the rumors keep on adding up.

Even though Nintendo revealed the Wii U at last year's E3, people are still a little confused and just want to know exactly what the system will have to offer.

And that leads us to this year's big show in just a few more weeks ...

This is the E3 that matters for Nintendo. This E3, Nintendo needs to explain exactly what the Wii U is and exactly how the Wii U will play. When E3 ends, people need to not have any more questions about the mysterious little console. Outside of price or release date (those are expected to be announced later), all other questions need to be addressed.

So what should we expect? What will be revealed at this year's E3 regarding the Wii U?

It goes without saying that the final design of the Wii U will be on display (and fully playable!) on the show floor. And, given Nintendo's track record, I expect that a bunch of cool features that have not yet been revealed will be announced for the promising tablet controller. (One of these may have been hinted at in the recent Rayman Legends trailer.)

Will there be a huge redesign from what we saw last year? As much as I would love to see a true analog stick replace the sliding analog pad, I doubt much will change. But, again, Nintendo could surprise on that front as well.

What is most important is that Nintendo doesn't just show off tech demos like they did at last year's E3. As fun as those tech demos were (the one with the ships and the arrows was fantastic!), Nintendo has to reveal a large amount of real, hopefully playable games that will eventually be released for the system. They have to.

And these games have to excite people.

If the rumors of a new HD Mario and Zelda both being shown are true, this could easily happen. I know I would personally lose my mind seeing Mario and Zelda in high definition for the first time.

Throw in some other fun franchises (Pikmin 3), a strong third-party lineup (this is the biggest question mark), a functional online presence, and a truly refreshing new game experience using the crazy tablet controller, and Nintendo could not only impress with the Wii U, they could set themselves up for another huge seller this holiday season.

Whether the Wii U will generate the same heat in the casual market as the original Wii did is yet to be seen, but if Nintendo knocks the Wii U's appearance at E3 out of the park, the company will be in a very good position.

This is an unbelievably important E3 for Nintendo. And it is all riding on the Wii U. No pressure, right?!

Gamers are ready to be impressed and excited. It's up to Nintendo to deliver.

 

---

What do you think? Are you excited about the Wii U? What do you think will be revealed at E3? What games do you think will be announced?

There is so much to talk about! I am so excited!



Chad Concelmo,
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