Archive for the ‘Wii U GamePad’ Category

Caffeinated Thoughts on the Wii U GamePad (demo unit).

November 17, 2012

Coffee Beans & Brew
There have been Wii U demo stations popping up in Best Buy, Game Stop, and even Wal-Mart stores around the U.S. for the last several weeks. We ventured out a few weeks back, but didn’t find a Wii U demo station on our first attempt.

This past Monday afternoon, after checking Nintendo’s Wii U demo locator, I ventured out to a Best Buy to give one a try. Upon entering the Best Buy the Wii U demo station was easy to spot in the middle of the store with the Wii U logo being lit up on top, helping draw attention to the unit. The Wii U demo unit on display was the white Wii U console and GamePad, which I believe is the standard color for the demo stations.

What did I think of my short time with the Wii U and the Wii U GamePad? Brew yourself some coffee and read my thoughts on the GamePad, and even find out one thing I found to be uncomfortable about the GamePad!

Caffeinated Thoughts
Wii U GamePad Weight – When I picked up the GamePad, I was actually surprised at the weight of the GamePad, as it was a little heavier than I was expecting it to be. The weight of the GamePad wasn’t an issue during my time with the demo unit though, but it does make me wonder if young children like Bean 1 might have trouble holding it up after a while though.

Wii U GamePad Screen Display – I thought the screen on the GamePad was very nice, better than I expected really. It displayed text and images well, and the screen was very bright and crisp, displaying text and images well. The video streaming to it from Rayman Legends worked well, and I found the game content displayed on the GamePad to be very good quality.

Wii U GamePad Screen Response – I knew Rayman Legends was available to play on the demo, so I scrolled through the list of games, which worked extremely well via the touch screen, and selected Rayman Legends. The touching of the screen worked well on the basic menu selection, and the use of the touch mechanics in Rayman Legends I thought were put to good use. I was able to use my finger(s) to tap, tickle, swipe, and drag enemies and objects in one of the levels, and all the touch input from my finger(s) to the GamePad screen was recognized without issue.

Wii U GamePad Comfort – While I was trying out the Rayman Legends demo, I noticed something about the Wii U’s GamePad that I found to be uncomfortable. Take a look at the image below, to see the one thing I found to be uncomfortable about the Wii U GamePad while playing Rayman Legends.

Click for full image size.

I’m not sure if the little ridges are there to add a bit of a “grip” to the controller, or if they are there due to design specifications and the GamePad needed them to make it all fit together nicely without any issues; but I did actually feel them against the sides of my palms while playing Rayman Legends, and not in a comfortable way. I’m not too concerned with the ridges though, as we will be fitting our GamePad with a protective case of some sort (still debating which one), but if you notice the ridges as I did it may be a good enough reason to buy a protective cover.

General Thoughts – The volume on the demo unit TV was very low, and being that the game wouldn’t let me stream it only to the GamePad, I’m not sure how loud the speaker output would have been from the GamePad’s speakers. Also, I did notice that the Wii U demo station looks like every game listed has an option to be a playable demo, but only Rayman Legends is the current playable Wii U game to demo, which I do find very odd. Rayman Legends isn’t scheduled to release for nearly another 4 months (if Amazon.com’s date is correct), so why Nintendo chose to not demo an actual Wii U day one launch title I find odd. I think if Nintendo wants to improve the Wii U demo stations moving forward, having more than one game available to demo would be a great place to start, and choosing a game that allows the GamePad to stream it for hearing the speaker output would be great as well.

I have just over 24 hours left as of writing and posting this piece, until I’ll have a Wii U that I won’t have to worry with hogging on a store demo. With basically a day left, I’m still debating on which game(s) I want to go with, and it might end up being a last minute decision, but I’m definitely leaning toward ZombiU right now.

Questions
Have any of you tried the Wii U demo station, or perhaps demoed the Wii U at an event, and noticed the ridges I found to be uncomfortable?

If any of you are in North America, are you planning on going to camp out for a Wii U if you don’t have one reserved yet, but want one Sunday? If you have a Wii U reserved, what game(s) are you getting with the system?

Can the Wii U GamePad be charged with a USB port on the console? Nintendo answers, sort of…

October 5, 2012

Coffee Beans
The Wii U’s release is just over a month away now, on November 18th. (44 days, 4 hours, 15 minutes 30 seconds away as of typing this!) Each Wii U console, whether the Deluxe Set or Basic Set, will come with a Wii U GamePad and apparently a Wii U GamePad AC Adapter. From the only pictures I have seen of it, the Wii U GamePad AC Adapter requires an AC outlet; meaning it must be plugged in a wall outlet or power strip.

While the Wii U GamePad can be charged with a cable that has to be plugged in a power outlet for it to charge the GamePad, I was curious if the Wii U GamePad can be charged with just a USB port on the console itself. After some searching and not finding any direct answer to the question, I contacted Nintendo to find out.

I asked, “Can the Wii U GamePad be charged using a USB port on the Wii U console, just with a separate cable; or, can it only be charged with a wall AC outlet?” Brew yourself some coffee, and see how Nintendo responded below!

The Brew
My first statement I sent to Nintendo on the Wii U GamePad charging issue was, “The Wii U GamePad can be charged via a cable that has to be plugged in a power outlet for it to charge the GamePad. Can the Wii U GamePad be charged using a USB port on the Wii U console, just with a separate cable; or, can it only be charged with a wall AC outlet?”

Nintendo responded, “The GamePad can also be charged using the charging cradle, which comes with the Deluxe Set.”

Good enough? Well, the response didn’t really address if the GamePad can charge using a USB port on the console, because it didn’t specify if the Wii U GamePad Cradle uses a USB port for charging purposes. I didn’t want to assume the Wii U GamePad Cradle uses a USB console port to charge, because the only images I had seen didn’t make it really clear.

So to be thorough and to clarify my original question, I sent over a follow-up question. I asked, “Does the Charging Cradle require an AC outlet, or can it be plugged into a USB port on the system? The only picture of the Deluxe System items shows the cable requires an AC outlet, no cable directly for a USB port.”

Nintendo then responded with, “We don’t have any information to share at this time.”

Caffeinated Thoughts
We have just over a month before the Wii U releases, and I’m finding it odd that Nintendo is having problems answering what I think should be simple questions about the console (and some games). I would assume the Wii U GamePad can be charged using a console USB port, but I don’t know that for sure.

If the GamePad can be charged using a USB port, why wouldn’t Nintendo just throw in a USB cable with each console, instead of producing a special Wii U GamePad AC Adapter for it? Wouldn’t a cable be cheaper and easier to mass produce, than a special Wii U GamePad AC Adapter?

You can see the Wii U GamePad AC Adapter in the image below, and also notice the Wii U Deluxe Set does not show an extra USB cable of any sort that would be used with the Cradle, just the standard AC Adapter cable.

If you are getting the Wii U Basic Set and are interested in the Wii U GamePad Cradle and Stand, you will be able to purchase it separately for $19.99.

Questions
Do any of you know from perhaps a Wii U Experience event, or hands-on perhaps at E3, if anybody specifically mentioned the Wii U GamePad being able to charge from just the console?

If the Wii U GamePad requires an additional AC outlet to charge, will that be an issue for anybody?

If you are interested in the Wii U, but haven’t pre-ordered one yet, you might want to keep an eye on the Amazon.com links below. Amazon.com is the last major online retailer to not open up pre-orders on the console, though some are expecting it not to happen at this point now:

Pachter: "Sometimes, I add two and two and get seven…"

July 30, 2012
Original photo credit – Hot Grill

Coffee Beans

     Michael Pachter continues to make news in the video game world. On July 16th, Edge-Online.com published an article where they quoted Mr. Pachter as saying, “Activision never said anything to me, but I know that [for] big games like Call of Duty they said, ‘No, we’re not putting it on there [the Wii U*] if you don’t give us a conventional controller’. So they [Nintendo*] gave in.” *bracket text added for clarification
     Was Michael Pachter’s opinion on this topic of Activision, or even another third party developer, basically demanding Nintendo make the Wii U Pro Controller or they would not support the Wii U console a well informed opinion? Was it an opinion based around the known facts of the Wii U’s controllers and the history of Activision’s support of the Wii, as people should expect coming from a “Managing Director” at an “Equity Research” firm?

     Well, when I saw the quote I decided to contact Mr. Pachter for clarification because I thought it might have been out of context, and wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. After a few email exchanges with him, and pointing out what I thought was one obvious flaw in his opinion on this subject, Mr. Pachter replied, “Sometimes, I add two and two and get seven, but I still add two and two.

     What was the context of this quote, and what flaw did I see in Michael Pachter’s original statement? More importantly, did Mr. Pachter explain his statement after I mentioned why his original opinion made no sense, in a way that made sense? Brew yourself some coffee, and take a look at one partial email exchange with Michael Pachter below, as well as a visual aid I hope can help with Mr. Pachter’s bad math!

*The PS3’s controller “d-pad” is counted as one button/input, like the d-pads on the
Wii U GamePad, Wii U Pro Controller, and Xbox 360 Controller

The Brew & Caffeinated Thoughts

     In one email exchange after a few paragraphs, I closed with “If you want to go around saying the world if flat, when the facts prove otherwise, you certainly can do that, but don’t be surprised when people don’t take you seriously. I was actually trying to get clarification on the issue, and see how you reached the ‘opinion’ you did. That’s my point.”
     In the response email he sent, Mr. Pachter said at one point, “You have a right to your opinions, and you of course have a right to think that my opinions must be based on facts. However, it is my view that my opinions can be based on whatever I see around me, and putting two and two together gets me to opinions all the time. Sometimes, I add two and two and get seven, but I still add two and two.
     I think the problem with Mr. Pachter’s defense of just coming to the wrong conclusion, or opinion, is that he wasn’t even analyzing things around him that were obvious, and he certainly wasn’t just using simple math. He was creating a problem where the solution was already known and he did so by ignoring facts and history.
     First, he ignored that the Wii U GamePad has more buttons and control input options, than the Wii U Pro Controller does. How does the Wii U GamePad not equal the Wii U Pro Controller, when the GamePad offers more buttons and input options than the Wii U Pro Controller does? Is there a third party developer that would look at the Wii U GamePad and think it doesn’t have enough input options?
     Second, he must have also forgotten that Activision has published every single Call of Duty game, except one, for the Wii. As I wrote about before, Treyarch has developed or ported each Call of Duty Wii game, and they are developing Black Ops 2; why wouldn’t Black Ops 2 be on the Wii U considering Treyarch’s support of Nintendo’s current console? Now, if he had said EA demanded a more traditional controller, that might have been a little more believable based on EA’s spotty support of the Wii with their FPS games this generation.

     Personally, I think Mr. Pachter can have any opinion on video game subjects and topics that are still a mystery such as the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4, or something such as “Michael Pachter’s Top 10 Video Games of All Time”.
     I know he meets with many video game representatives and people within the video game industry, but when he makes a statement that contradicts known facts, he should be able to explain why his statements make sense and why they should be taken credibly, when the evidence and facts show otherwise.

    I think the one thing his statement showed though, is that Michael Pachter is not irrelevant to the video game industry and especially to the video game “journalism” side of things. I think his statement was not only incorrect though, but I also haven’t seen much in his response emails that makes me think he believes he was wrong and the only clarification he has given ignored Treyarch’s support of the Wii this generation.
     I did ask Mr. Pachter if perhaps he had skipped his daily cup of Yuban coffee that day and think perhaps he answered it decaffeinated, but I haven’t received a response to that question yet.


Questions
     Do you think Michael Pachter is well informed about the video game industry, and that his original comment and his response about it to me made sense based on what we know of the Wii U’s controllers?
     Or, do you think Michael Pachter should never speak another word about the video game industry again, and a thousand of Cupid’s arrows would not change the way you feel about him?
     If you could ask Michael Pachter one question in general, keeping it civil, what would that be?