Why I’m Sold On Wii U GamePad’s Multiplayer

Why I’m Sold On Wii U GamePad’s Multiplayer

While at this year’s Tokyo Game Show, I got my first hands on with the Wii U. Other Kotaku editors have used the Wii U plenty, but since I didn’t go to E3, this was my first. Prior to picking it up for the first time, I really didn’t have high expectations for it — nor did I have them for the game I was to play, Tank! Tank! Tank!.

OK, yes, the Wii U GamePad is ridiculously large. It’s so wide! I felt like I was holding a tray much of the time and wanted to carry around drinks on it. But with that board-sized controller, you get a decent-sized screen. That’s the killer app here, that screen. And once you get used to it, the controller isn’t so bad to hold (though, I do think people with small hands, such as small kids, might find it tricky to use.)

Released by Namco Bandai, Tank! Tank! Tank! is a party game based on Namco’s popular series of arcade games. It’s aimed at kids — Namco is quick to point that out. And that’s fine. I have two young kids, and I know they’d really dig Tank! Tank! Tank! What I was surprised about was how much I dug it. Here’s why.

There’s a local multiplayer mode in the game called “My Kong Mode”. One player (well, the player with the Wii U GamePad) is a large King Kong type character. The other players are the tanks and use the traditional Wii Remotes. The GamePad player has an overhead map, while the tanks do not. There are multiple tanks and only one Kong.

I played both Kong and the tanks. When I was Kong, I’d switch between looking at my screen and looking what the tanks were doing doing their screens. I didn’t have a problem looking back and forth — but someone I talked to at the Tokyo Game Show complained that his vision problems made switching back and forth headache inducing.

When I switched to playing with a tank with the Wii Remote, it really hit me: I wanted that big overhead map the Kong player had! Like, I wanted to peek — and suddenly not having that crutch made the local multiplayer experience very, very different. Usually when you are playing local multiplayer on a console, you can see everything the other player was doing. I loved how the Wii U totally pulls the carpet out from underneath you. It’s a dynamic that often get from board games (sometimes, yes, from handheld games) — that desire to see what your rivals can. But with the Wii U, local multiplayer can put them on a totally different footing with the Wii U GamePad.

Since extra pads are so expensive, I don’t see many third party developers making games for two Wii U GamePads. But just throwing one into the mix seemed to create a different local multiplayer experience. It’s very much a welcomed one, at that.


    • not me, my wii sits unused for over a eyar, while the ps3 gets daily use. New is nice, but only if its interesting long term. Whats old is what has worked for years.

      • Wii was a casual console – Nintendo admits it. Wii U is Nintendos attempt to make a more hardcore consoles. Dont lump things into the same category when there are obvious differences.

        • You know though – about half way through the wii’s life cycle they made the same play for the core, and we got some great games (i.e. DKC: returns), but the fact is that it wasn’t a sustained effort. I don’t see why it will be any different this time.

          • Ah no. Nintendo new from the start they at that point in time could not compete for the hardcore market with the likes of sony and microsoft. The GC showed how painfully apparent this was (coming last and all). Trying to make a play for the hardcore again like they did with the GC would have been suicide for the company. Thats why they changed focus to Casual gamers. It was a smart move and it won the first place in that generation – and most importantly market recognition. Thats all they needed – to be recognized in the console market dominated by xbox and playstation.

            Even if you believe they attempted to court hardcore gamers with the Wii the fact is with out the significant third party support the ps3 and 360 enjoyed there was no way it could be seen as a true hardcore console, sure it had Nintendos Gems, but very little else.

            How it wont be different this time? Lets see (guess it has to be repeated over and over before you get it) Full 1080p graphics capable (not just a minor selection of games), promise of better online similar to competition, standard controls with addition of new controls for new types of play, and most importantly the games, especially from third parties. Games like Assassins creed, Mass Effect, Bayonetta 2, Tekken etc (plus many more), which havent been on a Nintendo console in a long time are suddenly showing up on a nintendo home console. Yeah everythings the same (*rolls eyes*). Only to a blind deluded fanboy.

    • Yeah lets forget the Article talking about how Reggie doesnt believe the Wii U collect dust or the constant misinformation that its on par power wise to 7 year old consoles. Wii deserved the criticisms but it looks like the Wii U is a serious attempt to change things.

        • you completely missed the point. My point wasnt the article itself, merely the fact that while there has been positive Wii U news, there has also been Negative – ie perpetuating the Wii collects dust myth to the Wii U and the constant and unfounded Wii U is on par with 7 year old console nonsense (new CPU GPU and 4x more ram = same as 7 year old tech? what a load of nonsense, nonsense that fanboys have been peddling to dull the shine off Nintendos new console)

          Next time read the argument before commenting. Oh and what did you expect Reggie to say about the collecting dust? Hes a PR guy sheesh must everything be spelt out to you (But like i said the point wasnt the content of the article, its the fact there have been positive and negative news about the Wii U)

          • Wow… Terrak.. that seems like a fanboy remark.. Yeah the WiiU seems ok, but come on.. My pc from 7 years old was better than it is going to be. So yeah.. Nintendo are making you pay a lot for old hardware at the end of the current consoles lifespan. And lets face it, with that extra screen, which the other consoles dont have to render for, the WiiU shapes up to perform similarly to those consoles. SO by all means get excited, but dont go and think you are getting a power house, or ‘the next generation’ console. Its current gen.

      • Stevorooni you’re an idiot, it’s obviously 1201.
        On a serious note, for the WiiU I’ve seen the nunchuck, wiimote, gamepad, pro controller and the zapper (gun thingy).
        The main ones would be the Wiimote (and nunchuck), Gamepad and Procontroller.

        • The zapper isn’t a controller, it’s just a shell for the remote and nunchuk. If you’re going to count that then you should count the bazillion-and-one other useless shells, like the tennis racquets and golf clubs, light sabres and wheels, etc.

  • It’ll be the same old story for me.. and I think a lot of people. We’ll buy a Nintendo console because it’s innovative, interesting, has titles that we’ve grown up with and want to continue to play (Zelda, Mario, Starfox, Metroid etc) and it’s great to whip out when some mates pop around. Like the Wii was/is a great party console.
    Serious gaming will continue to be done on the PC though.

    • Too bad Nintendo threw Starfox and F-Zero under the bus with the Wii and didn’t even manage to deliver on all their franchises.

    • Basically this (although I tend to use my 360/PS3 in place of PC for most non-Blizzard things).
      I tend to buy each console eventually once they have enough exclusives I want, the Wii U might not end up being my primary gaming machine once the PS4/XboxWhatever come out, but I’ll still get my moneys worth.

    • You PC guys have been saying that since 90s, and it still hasn’t caught on with the gaming public. And it never will. Give up, please. PC gaming will always be niche crap for the rich who can afford updating their PC’s every 6 month.

  • The Wii-U could succeed in bringing something new to gaming if developers capitalise on the fact that there are some good experiences to be had from using the controller in creative ways. (Heck, Penny Arcade already stated what we all were thinking http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2012/09/10). Frankly, I think it’s a mistake for Nintendo to try and be “cool” by bringing the games we’re already playing to the Wii-U instead of positioning it as a completely new interactive gaming experience. Hopefully this time it won’t get buried under mounds of shovelware that cheapen the experience and ensure that innovation with the technology goes nowhere.

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