Ok, so that happened.

It can be hard to remember why we got into this. Behind all the schedules, behind all the work, I like to think that I still have that childlike wonder that lets me see the world as I used to: full of possibilities and fun. Not easy. I catch myself joining in with snarky comments on Generic New Game #4, because, well, it’s just easy to hate. I find that, at least as a designer, we tend to wear the mantle of the “projects greatest critic.” He who wears that mantle isn’t always a designer, but most times I think it ends up that way. It is a heavy mantle for those that wear it, and I find that, like the One ring, it corrupts those that wear it. The heavy burden of being the critic just makes you hate. You live with constant hate; we become Haters. Maybe I’ve already been corrupted, maybe not.

But not today. Today was all smiles.

How do I feel about the Wii U? In a word: yes.

I do not 100% know WHY I feel the way I do, so let me start with what I DO know. I do not like the Wiimote, but I like the Wii U mote. What follows is… at best a rambling on how to explain why I feel this way – take with grains of salt, friends.

Before I get to the Wii U, let me speak, for a second, about the Wii (sans U). I own a Wii, but with few exceptions, I find that the content is just not for me. I love fighting games; I love action adventure games. I like, in short, animation driven experiences, where precise input drives precise action. Can the Wii console handle games like that? Yes, of course. Can the controller handle games like that? Yes, of course. Is the controller’s INTENT for games like that? I have to say no. The controllers intent, in my opinion, was not to reinvent older style games, but to invent newer style games. Something that it did, for better or worse, admirably.

How is this different than the Wii U? I can’t really put it to words very well, but I think that it has largely to do with that spark of childlike wonder. If I were to imagine those controllers as lenses, and I were to peer back at the games I have always loved I have completely different reactions. With the Wiimote things are just… hazy. I saw the games I like, but I didn’t see how they changed for the better – they just changed.

When I looked at the Wii U remote I just couldn’t stop thinking of ideas. Here are some I shared on twitter already:

  • Your controller could be a portal into an alternate dimension (or time), always active, and you could track what was going on by looking through it. Imagine being able to look into the realm of the Fae like in Hellboy 2.
  • A Fatal Frame game where you have to hold up the controller to see the ghosts. The potential for scares is just off the charts.
  • Sci FI RPG with strange language all over the walls, but you could hold up the controller to see real time translations.
  • A new Condemned style game where you have to use the controller as a black light or a xray like device. One of my favorite parts from the first Condemned has you following a paint trail with the use of a black light. I loved that part. Fights would break out and you’d have to find your way back to the trail. It was super intense.
  • Tomb raider / uncharted game where you could interact with puzzles on the touch screen, or flip through a handmade journal on your controller. One of my favorite additions to the first Uncharted was Drake’s journal, and I was so happy to see them not only bring it back in the second one, but also increase its importance. To me, there is nothing more “Indy” than opening up that trusty beaten journal and solving a riddle. To have that at my fingers tips, and then, oh man, the ability to scribble my own notes in it? YES PLEASE!
  • Elder Scrolls game with melee combat on the buttons and magic casting with symbols on the screen. Melee, for me at least, is just always going to have to be button driven. I require that tactile feeling / feedback, but what if instead of being forced to have a single spell “equipped”, I could have access to my full spell book. Drawing runes, or mixing runes on the touch screen to create altered effects.

Maybe it is just me, but I read those and I just get excited. It gets me excited, because, frankly, I have never seen myself as that much of a “ideas” guy. I’ve always felt more like the “hand a problem to get solved” kind of guy, so if someone like me can see such potential… what do the really smart guys think? Heh. I hope it’s something great!

Basically, and this is my personal goal for this week, it’s time to take off the mantel. It’s time to shut down the hate core processor. Time to put down the haterade. For this week, at least, I’m just gunna wonder what could be possible… #wiiuideas