Buy the 8GB basic Wii U in white at Amazon.com.
Buy the 32 GB deluxe Wii U in black at Amazon.com.
Nintendo sez: "The Wii U GamePad controller removes the traditional barriers between games, players and the TV by creating a second window into the video game world. It incorporates a 6.2-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio LCD touch screen, as well as traditional button controls and two analog sticks. Inputs include a +Control Pad, L/R sticks, L/R stick buttons, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons, ZL/ZR buttons, Power button, HOME button, -/SELECT button, +/START button, and TV CONTROL button. The GamePad also includes motion control (powered by an accelerometer, gyroscope and geomagnetic sensor), a front-facing camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, rumble features, a sensor bar, an included stylus and support for Near Field Communication (NFC) functionality. It is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and weighs approximately 1.1 pounds.
Other Controllers: The Wii U console is capable of supporting two Wii U GamePad controllers, up to four Wii Remote (or Wii Remote Plus) controllers or Wii U Pro Controllers, and Wii accessories such as the Nunchuk, Classic Controller and Wii Balance Board.
CPU: IBM Power-based multi-core processor.
GPU: AMD Radeon-based High Definition GPU.
Storage: Wii U uses an internal flash memory. It also supports SD memory cards and external USB storage.
Media: Wii U and Wii optical discs.
Video Output: Supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Compatible cables include HDMI, Wii D-Terminal, Wii Component Video, Wii RGB, Wii S-Video Stereo AV and Wii AV.
Audio Output: Uses six-channel PCM linear output via HDMI connector, or analog output via the AV Multi Out connector.
Networking: Wii U can access the Internet via wireless (IEEE 802.11b/g/n) connection. The console features four USB 2.0 connectors -- two in the front and two in the rear -- that support Wii LAN Adapters.
Wii Compatibility: Nearly all Wii software and accessories can be used with Wii U.
this way comes
is a blast and a half
"Epicosity" is the word my son Riley used to describe the Nintendo Wii U console, which he and his mother, Maria, and I were able to try out in San Francisco on Monday.
It was an event Nintendo set up for video-game journalists such as me who hadn't made it down to E3 in Los Angeles.
I am the main writer in the family, but Riley and Maria are both better Wii players than me, so I was grateful that Nintendo let me bring them.
The Wii U is a pretty impressive combination of hardware and software, and it adds some pretty kewl dynamics to game-playing. I want one, I want one!
But the Wii U - which has been getting notice at trade shows and events like the one on Monday, won't be available till later this year. Just in time for the holiday gift-giving season, in fact.
How it works and what it can do, and the sort of game-play Nintendo says it will be able to handle, makes clear the difference in the sort of thinking that happens at Nintendo, compared to what happens at Sony Computer Entertainment and at Microsoft's games division.
The processor that runs the Wii U is an IBM multi-core unit that can handle a lot of work. I don't know everything about its tech spex, but it may even be as capable as Sony's vaunted cell processor, which, indeed, is an amazing chunk of silicon. (IBM helped develop that, too.)
But the key difference is that developers who make games for the PS3 and the Xbox 360 tend to think in terms of making prettier graphics. They can show you the amazing code they hacked to make a superhero's cape flow in the wind, or something that controls the way shadows fall where they should in a complex scene.
All that is great and impressive.
But what sets Nintendo apart is that their developers seem to have a better grasp of the need to improve gameplay.
The Wii U - based on our very brief look at it on Monday - has a very entertaining approach to multiplayer gaming. The basic setup is one person has the Wii U controller, which is largish, and has a 6.2-inch wide screen - also, a built-in camera and lots of other functions we've read about but didn't have time to play with on Monday. (My family and I had to leave; Nintendo would have given us more time.)
The person with the Wii U controller can see what is on the TV screen, but can also see more than what the other players see.
In a new version of Luigi's Mansion, for instance, four of us gathered around an HDTV screen used Wii remotes (like from the original Wii console) to guide Mario, Luigi and other characters around the mansion, looking for a ghost. Shine enough flashlights on the ghost, you defeat it. But finding it is tough - it's invisible most of the time, and can sneak up behind your character and attack, making the character fall over in a faint.
When the ghost gets close to your player, your Wii remote vibrates, but it's not always enough warning. We all keeled over from time to time. A fainted player can be revived if a kind player shines a flashlight on them.
But Riley had the most fun - he was using the Wii U controller, which controls the ghost. On the Wii U screen, he could see where everybody was, so got to do the sneaking up and scaring.
Riley and I both got a chance at using the Wii U controller in the game New Super Mario Bros., which will be the Wii U iteration of that long-bearded franchise.
For the players with the Wii remotes, it was much like the Wii version of the game. For the player with the Wii U controller, it was a different set of activities - helping the other players by floating platforms for them or pushing bad guys around, or hindering them by pushing bad guys toward them or taking platforms away.
It was great fun, and it's easy to imagine this new console being a big hit for families and at parties.
The developers say that a lot more than five players can use the console at one time. And that - if I understand this correctly (and I may not) by combining consoles or some such, as many as 50 players can be involved at the same time.
That ought to expand the Nintendo universe.