Saturday, November 17, 2012

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

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'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.

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?


  1. Sounds cool and probably a good plan with the gamepad case. *DROP* *Whoops* *$100 replacement*

    What games did you pre-order, just NSMBU? I definitely think ZombiU could be fun.

    As for camping out, did you see the video with Reggie walking the line in NYC at the Nintendo World store today? (asking where is Triforce?) Yeah, that was me next to his chair. (side note: ignore the IP you see me posting from. I'm going through a few proxies.) :-p

  2. It looks clunky and awkward, if you ask me.

  3. To me the nubs look like the little rubber grips they put on electronics for when you place it on the table.

  4. "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?"

    Nope. I tried it at a Wii U press event and it felt quite comfortable actually! I won't be picking up one at launch due to economic reasons but Nintendo Land is so far my favourite title compared to NSMB U and Rayman Legends. Simply because I beat some people at Mario Chase. Yeah, one game I'm actually good at, lol

  5. Well, NSMBU was from NewEgg with the $12 off, even though I did pre-order that when I reserved my Wii U at GameStop back in September, which means I have $5 at the GameStop for something...AND I have been tempted to pass by Old Navy on Black Friday for that $40 deal. Grab some clothes, get a game. I just don't want to wait in line, and battle the madness. Being that we will have Nintendo Land with the Deluxe, and NSMBU for later, I have been debating on the other Wii U game(s) to grab. Another one really caught my eye tonight on the demo station, that I had looked at before, but didn't think much about...Tekken Tag Tournament 2!

    Perhaps I'm going to stumble upon the mega-billions lotto ticket in the morning on my way to pick it up...and I'll just buy every single game available for it. :)

    As for the camping out thing, I did watch the video you sent me. How can you wait to be first, but not be there? LAME! You were playing MK7 right? Or NSMB2? I don't remember, but I was waiting on bags of Doritos to be passed out with some Mountain Dew because of the company Reggie was keeping in the video...

    Thanks for the comment!

  6. The front images don't do it justice really, because of how they have it contoured on the back slightly. I think it'll be interesting to see if people stick with the GamePad, or default to the Pro Controller over time. I would imagine with the GamePad being a big selling point for the console, that Nintendo will try to keep it the "center of attention" though, and hopefully third party developers can provide some fun experiences with it.

    Thanks for the comment!

  7. They are built into the plastic, as plastic, so it's kind of odd. I'm guessing they are there to be a bit of a grip right at the bottom, and I wouldn't have probably noticed if the game didn't require to be held in just one hand while playing.

    Thanks for the comment! Are you planning on picking up a Wii U tomorrow?

  8. I'm looking forward to giving Metroid Blast a try in Nintendo Land. I'm not sure what other mini-games will stand out to me, or even Mrs. Coffee and Bean 1, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays and what everybody thinks.

    Speaking of Rayman Legends, I did beat the demo tonight on my GameStop's demo unit, and even the twisty part in the one level.

    Thanks for the comment and feedback!

  9. Do you think Xbox's smartglass technology will make the Wii-U not seem like a big deal?

  10. Not really sure. Just from a few hours with the Wii U though, the UI is pretty impressive and the GamePad functionality so far is definitely a positive for the system.

    The Netflix app being able to flip from the TV to the GamePad instantly is very impressive, and the browser on it works well.

    I don't have a 360 though, so I won't be able to see how smartglass functions (now that I think about, I don't even have a PHONE or TABLET that would function with it...).


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