Are you planning to buy a Wii U?

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Bill Loguidice
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For those wondering, Nyko's

For those wondering, Nyko's Net Connect USB Network Adapter works just fine with the Nintendo Wii U. It's debatable how much of a performance boost you'll get over the Wii U's wi-fi connection, however.

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Bill Loguidice
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Paul H wrote:

Shawn, that game sounds a lot like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles on the GameCube. Nintendo got really innovative for a short period of time with games that used the GBA-GC link cable to play multiplayer games. It was a huge hassle to set up at the time but now that we have DS's and 3DS's with built in wifi and screens that are visible in poor lighting I've been shocked that there have been few to no games made that take advantage of the potential.

I think that's been a big part of the problem with why innovative multiplayer gaming that has required additional hardware has not caught on or been tried more--it's too difficult to set up. The reality is, online multiplayer is far easier to get going, since nearly everyone is online. Some of the second screen stuff on the Xbox 360 has potential, as does Vita interaction with the PS3. The Wii U controller is a natural, but for the time being it's limited to a single player, and it's theorized by Nintendo themselves that if you half the frame-rate (30 FPS) you can max out with two touchscreen controllers. Still not quite there, still not quite enough.

It's quite possible that the next Xbox or PlayStation console will do something similar to what the Wii U is doing, and it's also likely that if they go that route they will allow a full four screen-based controllers. If that's the case, then we can start to go down the innovation path. The alternative is PC games that can make use of tablets and smartphones we already have to create a Personal Area Network (PAN) for gaming. That's another option that could also be quite practical--make use of the devices everyone already has.

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Paul H
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Shawn, that game sounds a lot

Shawn, that game sounds a lot like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles on the GameCube. Nintendo got really innovative for a short period of time with games that used the GBA-GC link cable to play multiplayer games. It was a huge hassle to set up at the time but now that we have DS's and 3DS's with built in wifi and screens that are visible in poor lighting I've been shocked that there have been few to no games made that take advantage of the potential.

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Bill Loguidice
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Some quick Wii U thoughts

I have Tank! Tank! Tank!, New Super Mario Bros. Wii U, Scribblenauts Unlimited, and NintendoLand (which came with the Deluxe package - the only version of the system you should ever buy). I didn't get to try SMB yet and only got to play one land in NintendoLand, but it was certainly fun. I played "Balloon Trip Breeze," which, believe it or not, is a bit reminiscent of the C-64 classic and one of my favorite games ever, Mancopter. Scribblenauts Unlimited certainly seems like a strong entry in the series. Man, if someone were to combine the Scribblenauts engine with a more traditional adventure game or RPG, it could be something pretty amazing. As it is, it's quite a bit of fun creating just about anything out of thin air. Tank! Tank! Tank!, which apparently is based on a little known arcade game, is so far pretty dreadful. Simple and repetitive. The most fun part was taking a picture of your face (or whatever) to use as a character face. Sad. We'll see if multiplayer saves the thing.

The two screen thing is a bit distracting so far, but the potential is definitely there.

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Matt Barton
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Brilliant!!!

Brilliant!!!

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Shawn Delahunty
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Instant On = Seconded

All in favor? AYE!

Love that about my wife's IPad. Even with my customizations, it still takes my Linux laptop about 25 seconds to come out of disk-hibernation. Now granted, it restores all of my windows and applications precisely as they were (I literally run 12 virtual desktops of stuff, most of them full), but still. I'd use the freeze-to-RAM, but the power consumption of it on this stupid HP is a pain.

I also like the hybrid tablet/notebooks--though the ones that feature a 3/4-sized keyboard just annoy me. I don't mind a bigger device--I'd prefer the larger screen real-estate anyways. A cumulative/hybrid with all the power of a laptop, but featuring the superb CPU power scaling & options of a tablet, would be perfect. (As Bill commented, a tall order right now, but I do believe they're coming...)

Question / Scenario for everybody to chime in on:

My earlier comment about wanting multiple touchscreen controllers for the Wii-U got me thinking about something that I've never seen. Would people be interested in a game, say an RPG as I previously described, that coupled together several tablets to a console? Something like this:

  • The individual stats/inventory/equipment stuff that ran as a client on an IPad / Android / Surface, which connected via LAN to a gaming console.
  • The console would handle the full 3D "action" display, take all the character inputs from the tablets, and handle the character display & motion.
  • The console would coordinate the triggering of "sub-games" that would run on the client tablets... i.e. the Thief who tries "Lockpick" on a door gets a personal display on their tablet, in which they have to do some kind of delicate finger-dance + gyroscopic tablet motion to successfully pick the lock.
  • Similarly, you would have "Spellcaster" moves, "Cleric" moves and so on.
  • The tablet clients would handle a good bit of the load-processing, easing things for the console. (This could exploit a good bit of existing programming technology already used for multiplayer networked games, and actually have little to no lag compensation required.)
  • If one of the characters decides to split off from the main group for some reason, the tablet then takes over the display for that character. This would require an extra bit of interface work, so that the normal tablet character display could be slid out of the way to allow the player the in-game action perspective.

There are a bunch of other things which could be done with this mechanism---for a D&D style game, you could have a special display for the DM where they can configure upcoming attacks & such, all the stuff normally done behind a "DM screen". You could also implement the "private note" mechanism our DM used a lot, sending small notes to one player or another, to let them know of things their character detected/sensed--then it was up to the player whether or not to tell the rest of the party.

The interesting part, to me at least, is that this is something which could be done NOW, with existing tablets and consoles. There's nothing really tricky about the programming at all--especially for a 3rd person isometric kind of RPG game. The lower graphical demands of the engine mean it could run on the tablets easily when a player pulled away from the group into "splinter mode" or whatnot.

Any thoughts?

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Bill Loguidice
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I agree. I think the Surface

I agree. I think the Surface Pro tablets are the wave of the future. As long as they don't lose what makes a tablet great, while providing the stated benefits of a traditional laptop, I think we'll really have something special. That's a tall order, though.

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Matt Barton
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I agree about the instant-on;

I agree about the instant-on; that ALONE is enough to make them damn useful. That's why I often find myself using my phone to check email these days; it's just so much more convenient than having to get a PC started up. I think though that the tablets of the future will be have all the functionality if not more than laptops, though, so the need for a separate device will become increasingly irrelevant.

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Bill Loguidice
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Matt Barton wrote:

My theory is that this gen, a LOT of people rushed out to buy iPhones and iPads and then wanted to try out gaming. As the hype dies down, though, they're going to realize (again) that you're better off playing games on a console or PC. I think tablets will just fade out; we're going to be moving back to more full-functional devices.

That's assuming tablets remain the way they are and stagnate, which they won't. Let's face it, the biggest technological evolution is happening on tablets and smartphones right now. It's not unreasonable that those could be the center of our computing universes at some point (the minor attempts in that area up to this point have failed for the most part, but that was both timing and execution, not a failing of the core idea). They're already easily as powerful as PC's from just a few years back. Think about it, insane resolutions, ability to output to a full HD display, ability to use a wide variety of peripherals, etc. It's all there.

Unless you own a proper tablet (iPad and select Android tablets--eventually Win RT tablets should get there), you won't quite understand how amazingly useful an instant on device is with a reasonably large screen really is. It makes a regular device seem clunky in comparison.

Regardless, there is going to continue to be lots of interesting innovations on the tablet and smartphone side. The problem with traditional consoles and gaming handhelds is that by design they need to standardize on a generation for as long as possible. Tablets and smartphones have no such restrictions and can innovate and/or put out dramatically improved hardware literally every three to six months.

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Matt Barton
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That's a great point about

That's a great point about the iPhone and the Wii! I hadn't thought of that.

If I were a game console maker, though, I'd just focus on being able to play games. I think few people would care if they could watch Netflix or check their Facebook (or whatever is they think they want a game console for) if the gameplay was rock solid.

I also don't see the iPhone gaming or tablet market lasting much longer for games. It's been a gold rush, but we're going to see ghost towns forming soon.

My theory is that this gen, a LOT of people rushed out to buy iPhones and iPads and then wanted to try out gaming. As the hype dies down, though, they're going to realize (again) that you're better off playing games on a console or PC. I think tablets will just fade out; we're going to be moving back to more full-functional devices.

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