Nintendo shows off Wii U to club members at Comic-Con

In case anybody forgot, Nintendo has a new console coming out this year.  People in the industry have gotten to see the new machine in action at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles both last year, when it was announced and again this year on Nintendo’s huge chunk of E3 convention floor space.  Luckily, Nintendo decided to let a few more people, namely Club Nintendo members, check out their new HD machine at their Nintendo Gaming Lounge at the Marriot Marquis & Marina, next door to the International Comic-Con.

Nintendo did have a presence on the floor of the San Diego convention center where a few DS and 3DS titles were playable and the new 3DS XL was on display.  The Nintendo 3DS XL is a new version of the Nintendo 3DS system with 90 percent larger screens that launches in the U.S. next month.  Just outside their booth, a couple of Nintendo reps were directing gamers to the Gaming Lounge at the adjacent San Diego hotel.

The Nintendo Gaming Lounge featured a Kirby bean bag lounge for those worn out from the four day convention and for those with endless energy to burn, a Just Dance floor.  At kiosks spread throughout the room was the surprisingly large 3DS XL handheld console.  The upcoming New Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Kingdom Hearts 3D and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate were being shown off, to name a few.  As somewhat of a surprise, Charles Martinet, the voice of the iconic Mario since the mid-nineties was on-hand Sunday, to sign autographs.

Nintendo Club members got to go behind the curtain to check out the new Wii U system with a wide variety games.  Many of the upcoming Nintendoland mini-games were playable including some that up to five players could play with the new Wii U GamePad and four original Wii Remotes.  Ubisoft’s Zombi U, Batman and Ninja Gaiden for the Wii U were all out for display.  Some of the animations in Zombi U were a little unrealistic but the textures and particle effects all looked great.

I confess, I was looking for some graphical inferiority in the upcoming games but even as somewhat of an HD snob, I was unable to find much to complain about.  Those used to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 controllers will need some time to adjust to the surprisingly light GamePad but, as an aging lifelong gamer I can vouch for its effectiveness.  The new gameplay mechanic of using the screen in Zombi-U and Batman to scan your environment will also no doubt require some getting used to.  After spending the most time yet with the new console, I am confident the Wii U will make a big splash when released later this year.

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