Tuesday, October 23, 2012
10/23/2012 09:09:00 AM Magic the Gathering , Nintendo , Nintendo Wii U , Pokemon Snap , Rhythm Heaven , Rhythm Paradise
The Wii U is more of an elaborate console than many people care to realise, and it is indeed the ideal system to see both grand innovations in the form of new IPs, as well as major reboots of some of our favourite games, old and new. You may have seen a lot of these floating around other sites and forums a while ago, so I thought to explore some very befitting ones of our own that could actually make worthwhile experiences on the console. Some are new game possibilities, some may be sequels/ instalments into already existing game franchises, I can’t really explain any further – there is absolutely no need to. Just take a good, long read.
The GamePad already has the control basics down – it’s basically the lower-half of a DS, only with more to offer. Utilising slightly tweaked touch-screen controls in conjunction with its motion control capabilities could make for a fresh new angle for a Rhythm Heaven game. Not to mention that if it could also make use of the Wii U’s asymmetrical multiplayer gaming capacities, we could get a melodious local co-op experience in some fun, simple yet expansive mini-games for up to five players – for example, one player has the GamePad (with which the controller played the main rhythm), and up to four other players wield Wiimotes (with which the controller(s) played a combined back-up rhythm).
Imagine using the GamePad to alternate between tapping cymbals and drums using the touchscreen, and having a supporting player or two using their Wiimote/Nunchuck combo to simulate playing guitar notes in the background – it’s an expanded Rhythm Heaven experience with other familiar game elements integrated. This could introduce comfy multiplayer gaming at a very fine angle for Rhythm Heaven – it’d be a new aspect for the series entirely. It’s a neat concept, especially with the myriad of simple possibilities of combined touch and motion controls, and a whole TV screen to fill with the amiably colourful hand-drawn artistry that is Rhythm Heaven – undoubtedly a potential favourite for families who are fans of the big screen.
The GamePad has a range of technology to be utilised combined into one neat little rectangle, and one of the more interesting modern capabilities the controller sports is made visible by a little square in the corner – namely, the NFC (near-field communication) square. If you’re unfamiliar with how NFC works, think the Skylanders’ Portal of Power; the Skylanders figures you buy physically in the real world are able to be used and played in the video-game by scanning them in via the Portal of Power. Smart trick, right? Well, now you should be able to imagine the same for Magic: The Gathering on Wii U using the GamePad. You’ll be able to gather all the cards you own and collect in the real world and scan them into the Wii U to fiercely duel and trade with in-game, and what better, with equally stimulating players online all over the globe. And as a minor plus, the GamePad’s touchscreen would also be a simple and effective way of managing and utilising your virtual card deck more easily, especially in the heat of battle.
Another thing that would enhance the experience of the potential fantasy card-based game on Wii U would, of course, be Miiverse. Having a solely dedicated game “bubble” of sorts for enthusiastic Miis to crowd round and chat in is probably the best thing you can have for something of the gameplay Magic: The Gathering involves (and it’s something that’s not too easy to achieve on the internet nowadays) - you could be sharing hints and tips on dueling strategies, discussing the latest card decks available, and even sharing in-game screenshots of your character’s rare cards from the game to flaunt among other users in awe. All these little social touches that’d be inevitable on the Wii U are what make card-trading games fun, communal and interesting enough to become a wide phenomenon.
Again, we bring ourselves to the handy contrivance of the Wii U known as the GamePad. In Pokémon Snap, the main task of the game was essentially to go around taking inspired shots of different Pokémon in a host of different environments – and obviously, that’d mean controlling a camera in-game. Now controlling a camera in-game using a standard game controller can prove a little awkward and sluggish at certain intervals, especially when you need a quick motion to capture that perfect image at that exact second – and the GamePad is the perfect solution for this, while having the opportunity to bring in a few more innovations of its own.
The GamePad is fundamentally a free-form second screen in the palm(…s) of the gamer, and that opts to make the concept of in-game photography much more natural and appealing. Basically, the gamer holds up the GamePad overlapping TV screen and is free to physically move it around in their hands (yay, motion controls) to get their desired viewpoint for the shot, and at the tap of a button, the shot is taken - simple, fast and a lot more immersive than just using a standard controller. The GamePad screen could also implement helpful camera-like features to assist the player in their picture-taking, e.g. alignment markers, a timer, automatic snapshot options and the like, as well as being the centre for managing the photo-album and inventory for the player. Nifty, eh?
Another wonderful feature of the GamePad a Pokémon Snap sequel on the Wii U could make awe-inspiring use of is the controller’s gyroscope. By slowly turning the GamePad around in your living room (or wherever else you may game), you could get a vibrant 360 view of the area to look around as though you were in the game yourself, truly embedding the gamer into the realistic feel of the game. It’d be absolutely remarkable.
Last but not least, yet another feature that deems the Wii U the perfect console for a resurrection of Pokémon Snap is, in fact again, Miiverse (surprise, surprise). Remember how popular it was to share your pictures from the game back then, with all the Nintendo/ Blockbuster campaigns and all? With a discussion board of gamers devoted to the game, players would be able to take their glorious HD in-game Pokémon screenshots and share them on the network with many other interested gamers and even share hints and tips of achieving new items, upgrades and the best photographs possible to accomplish the game. Just another one of those welcome touches that completes the entire experience, right? Nintendo really knows how to implement its ideas successfully, I’ll give them that.
That’s the end of Part 1 of this feature for now – don’t forget to stay tuned for Part 2. What are your opinions on the Wii U and its prospects for gameplay, in particular with the games articulated on above?
- Farida Y