Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 29, 2014

Does the blank Wii U controller screen in Donkey Kong hint at a future ‘gamepad-less’ sku?

This is what the current buzz (bzzz! bzzz! bzzz!) is all about today. The reader must understand that Nintendo lives with an ‘integrated hardware and software’ philosophy of business. I am not opposed to ‘integrated hardware and software’, I am opposed to the integration increasing costs and removing game variety. For example, integrating ‘omg 3d’ with the 3DS not only made the 3DS more expensive, it pushed all games for it to be ‘omg 3d’. Not everyone likes ‘omg 3d’ especially for handheld games.

The Wii and DS show how integrated hardware and software is to be done correctly. The Wii had motion controls while the DS had a touch screen. Some games used them. Not all of them did. Both additions added variety to gaming instead of removing it. Motion controls and touch screen created bridges while the gamepad and 3d create walls. Motion controls were not expensive and neither was the touch screen (or microphone). What I love most about the Wii and DS is how inclusive they were. If you didn’t want to play with motion controls, you could use the Wii-mote’s attachment to create a new controller or even use a Gamecube controller. With the DS, many, many games did not use the touch screen and the touch screen became optional for many. Motion controls and touch screen should not apply to every sort of game as games are different. Unfortunately for us, Nintendo  wants to push 3d into ALL games. Some games 3d goes great with such as racing games. Other games 3d does not go well with such as Super Mario Brothers.

The 3DS was sold as the 2DS without the ‘omg 3d’. So there is a recent precedent that the Wii U could appear without the gamepad.

The real question is whether a gamepad-less Wii U would sell. Would I buy one? Hmm. I think I would if it was possible for me to get a gamepad later separately. If there is no way for me to get a separate gamepad, I wouldn’t buy a gamepad-less Wii U. I’d just get the full package Wii U. Remember that the premium black Wii U was all that sold when Wii U launched.

I’d prefer stripping out the gamepad over stripping out backwards compatibility (though I fear that is coming).

I’ve actually been thinking of getting a Wii U (which isn’t possible anytime soon due to extremely limited funds being needed in more important areas). I usually go for a console when it has six games I want to buy (three have to at least be out with three up and coming). For Wii, it was Twilight Princess, Wii Sports, Excite Truck, and the Virtual Console (along with the upcoming games). For DS, it was NSMB DS, Meteos, Final Fantasy 3, Bomberman (the best DS game), and several others. The 3DS will always be a no-go because how it cramps my hands, how the D pad is in the wrong place, and the ‘omg 3d’ crap. For the Wii U, I’d get NSMB U, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (I’ve been thinking of getting into this franchise), Mario Kart U, and two more games. I do not know what those two games are but I hope something for them comes out. Monolift X’s RPG? Then I’d need something else.

I’m seriously considering when I move to NOT get internet connection. I’m finding Internet just makes me waste a bunch of time reading ‘updates’ to shit that I shouldn’t be looking at. Add in a data plan to the cell phone, and I would not need internet for email and basic news. I already have hundreds of hours of shows digitized which can be watched with a simple hdmi cord to the computer and TV. I don’t need Netflix or any other streamer. “But Malstrom, what about Steam? Da Steam needs da Internet!” Screw Steam. I have plenty of GOG games to play. There are also some older games I wouldn’t mind getting back into. “But you can’t play multiplayer without internet, Malstrom! Durrrr!” Sure you can. It’s called LAN. With how cheap and prevalent laptops are, it’d be easy to get multiplayer games rather than hooking up and lugging around bulky desktops.

I’m wondering if having MORE INTERNET in my life is a good thing. I remember reading ‘real books’ when it wasn’t around. What’s better? Reading forums and blogs or reading classics like Aristotle and Shakespeare? Which is more substantial?

But, yeah, give me a gamepad-less Wii U. According to this, the console costs $228 in parts. The Gamepad costs $79 in parts. The Wii U currently costs $300 (it launched at $350).

The Wii popularity was at the peak of $250 (launched) and $200. Without the Gamepad, Nintendo could easily drop the Wii U price to $250. I doubt they’d drop it anymore because the purpose of dropping the Gamepad isn’t to drop the console’s price but to regain profitability.


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