Wii U Experience: Chicago
I (Greg/Gamer Greg) was invited to check out the Wii U in one of several Wii U events nationwide via “Experience Wii U”. This came as a special invite via Club Nintendo and I was one of the lucky ones to receive the invite. Basically you signed up for a 2 hour time frame and you had 2 hours to experience/play the Wii U games. There were limited spots and limited dates to choose from and seemed to fill up fast.
I tried to plan ahead by asking which games would be there, but it was supposed to be a surprise as I was told. Basically almost all of the E3 games were the only ones available, nothing new that is not already known. The specific games I wanted to experience were Project P-100, New Super Mario Brothers U, Nintendo Land and if I had extra time, to check out Wii Fit U, Rayman Legends, and maybe Zombie U. I was also hoping to see Assassin’s Creed 3, but there was not a demo available.
Time for the goods, here is what there was available:
- Picture opportunities with Wii U logo, and props
- Snacks and beverages (Wii U cookie, Jones Soda [Blue], Water with Wii U logo, cake/marshmellow treats in the shapes of Mushrooms or Koopa shells)
- Nintendo Land (4 stations)
- New Super Mario Brothers U (2 stations)
- Project P-100 (1 station)
- Zombie U (1 station, 1 game room)
- Just Dance 4 (1 game room)
- Game & Wario (1 station)
- Rayman Legends (1 station)
-There might have been a few other stations, but I can’t seem to think of any others. It was mostly what was listed above. The game rooms had some couches and wide space to be able to interact better with the environment.
Wii U impressions, thoughts, handling, Gamepad, controls:
First off, lets discuss the Gamepad. The very first time I held it, I was the game master for New Super Mario Brothers U. This Gamepad is VERY comfortable to hold. I made sure to get a good grip on it to see how it would be held normally since for NSMB U, you only need to hold it with one hand as your dominant hand you use to add blocks for other players to jump on via the touch screen. I played around with the buttons a little and it just felt great and was not a burden to hold. I then interacted with the game by adding many boxes for the players to jump on and they seemed to appreciate most of the help I could provide. Some cases I just couldn’t save them in time as there were 4 players to assist. It felt natural to touch the screen to create these colorful boxes. More to come on the Gamepad later when I get to Project P-100.
Next I began to play New Super Mario Brothers U via Wii Remote Plus. I was not certain if this game requires this or not (likely not). The game honestly didn’t impress my wife or I very much. It honestly felt like it was the Wii version, New Super Mario Brothers Wii, that we were playing. I got to play 2 of the 3 demo levels and the game pretty much felt the same. I haven’t played the Wii version in a little while, but it seemed to me that the jumping mechanics became more floaty than what I was used to. The gliding for the Flying Squirrel costume seemed to work better for downword gliding than side to side. Maybe I didn’t get enough practice in or wasn’t holding the run button while gliding, it just was different then Mario’s other costumes which help him float in mid-air. Sadly, I was unable to try out the Yoshi part as the game master seemed to have trouble assisting players to get up to that area of the level.
Next we moved to Wii Fit U which was stationed immediately next to the station we were at. My wife played the trampoline game where you just stand flat with your feet and then go up to your tip-toes on the balance board. You were able to move the Mii back and forth and to the right or left on by shifting your weight. It looked fun to play with probably minimal effort or excersize. Next I got to demo it and play the Luge game. I really felt some abs burn as well as my quads since my legs were off the floor to balance my bottom on the balance board. The game was fun and felt some sort of excersize as the Mii raced down the track. Basically you balance on your bottom and shift left or right and to speed up you lean back tightening your abs. It felt pretty good when I was done.
We then went to the neighboring game room to see Just Dance 4. We played with 2 other guys and felt like it was basically the same game just with new songs and dances. I was unable to get to try puppet master mode, but my wife did check it out when I was at Project P-100. She thought it would be fun and is now very interested to pick this game up for when I buy the Wii U.
Next we felt a little thirsty and grabbed a blue Jones Soda, a Wii U cookie and waited to play some Nintendo Land. The cookie was nothing special, just a sugar cookie with a paper Wii U logo on it. We first played Luigi’s Ghost Mansion game with 3 others. While the concept of the game seems fun, I didn’t find it terribly fun to play (as a Mii). Either that or I didn’t get to completely understand the game which is entirely possible. Basically the match ended pretty quickly as the ghost easily took us down. I felt it took way too long to revive fallen team mates, and the ghost is easily able to sneak up on you and kill you instantly. It seemed we tried to continually revive players while the ghost moved freely around and killing us very quickly. We probably only took like 10-15 seconds off the ghost’s life during the 3-4 minute game.
Next we split up and I waited for Project P-100 (she returned to Just Dance 4). I then took the time to clear my 10 street passes on my 3DS while waiting (I got 16 total). The players in front of me ended up leaving the line quickly because the game froze mid-demo. I waited until they reset it and I was first in line. This game looked and played amazing! This game is a day one buy for me now after experiecing the demo. The Gamepad felt nice to hold again and graphics looked good both on the screen and the Gamepad. The Gamepad showed 3 different forms to merge your superheroes together as, showing a sword, gun and one other I didn’t get the opportunity to try. The game played really good as I went around collecting superheroes and battling some giant aliens. The sword technique was easy to draw on the touch screen as it is just a vertical line. The gun shape was a sideways L. The aliens were not drop dead easy and were not incredibly difficult either. It felt quite balanced for the portion I got to play. The controls were very simple with X and A using team or individual attacks. The buttons felt they were comfortable to use and familiar like using the 3DS, SNES Gamepad or the Wii’s Classic Controller. Sadly, the game froze again during my demo; but I was happy I got to play it for 6 of the 9 minute demo.
While waiting for my wife to finish Just Dance 4, I watched some people play Zombie U. I didn’t get a chance to play that one, but I’m not really into that type of game genre. We met up I wanted to do some more Nintendo Land. We waited some more and got to watch some people play the DK game. It looked fun and I wish I could have tried it. Then some people cut in front of us and got to play Luigi’s Mansion Ghost hunt. We headed to another station. At this one we watched some people the Zelda quest game. That one looked fun as well, but I didn’t get to try it. They made an annoucement that it was ending soon, but we got to play the Animal Crossing Candy collect game (with 3 others). This game felt like it was the same as Luigi’s Ghost hunt, but you were able to see the Game Master chasing you. The idea is to collect 50 candy as a team. We tried to work together, but the game master was too good and took us out easily. The team can only collectively die 3 times. The second round we got to 25 candy, but then was defeated as the event ended.
On the way out, they gathered everyone together for a Mario trivia game. They had 4 questions with 4 Mario toys to give out. While I knew the answers, I did not get called on. One was “When does the Wii U come out?”, the answer was “Holiday 2012”. Another was, what was Mario’s original name, answer: Jumpman. Another was what are 3 features of the Wii U Gamepad, the guy answered the touch screen, gyro sensor and clickable control sticks. I can’t seem to remember the last question, sorry everyone. Finally, on the way out they gave everyone a Mushroom or Shell cake/marshmellow treat. Again, nothing special; but it felt good to eat something Nintendo looking.
Overall, the system looked much better than Wii (obviously). I did get a good look at the system and it appears to be about the same width as the Wii (when on it’s side), but about 2 Wiis in length (if they were ducktaped together). The height of it seemed to be slightly taller. I got to see both the black and white consoles. The black looks much better, but I’d get the white if it was the only option. The Gamepad felt great to hold, the screen was responsive and looked good while using it. The graphics looked significantly better than the Wii (as expected). I didn’t get to play with the Wii U Pro controller, but I did see it from afar while some people were playing Rayman. I am very impressed with what I got to play, I just wish I had more time to check out Game & Wario and Rayman. I will definitely be a day 1 buyer. I’d like additional time with Nintendo Land to get a better feeling for it. Project P-100 will be a day 1 buy, my wife very much enjoyed Just Dance 4 and we will be getting that one. New Super Mario Brothers U I will likely get, but was somewhat disappointed with it.
I had some original photos, but appears I lost my camera. All I have is the 2 that got posted to Facebook book via the application for the event. I’ll add some pictures my wife took when we got those onto a computer.