Being the video game equivalent of Disney, how is it possible that we still do not have an actual theme park dedicated to Nintendo's history? The company intends to remedy this with a virtual one named NintendoLand. Set to release alongside the company's new high definition console, the Wii U, NintendoLand is comprised of 12 areas inspired by Nintendo properties that provide innovative gaming experiences.
NintendoLand is being pitched as the new console's equivalent of Wii Sports; it'll be that killer software that will explain to the masses what the Wii U is, what innovations it brings to the video gaming table, and why it is worth the price of entry. I can safely say that, while seeing NintendoLand may not make you a believer (I certainly was not one after merely witnessing the game's debut), actually playing the game undoubtedly will.
So far, about half of the areas have been revealed. NintendoLand offers takes on respected series like The Legend of Zelda (adventuring as a team) and Donkey Kong (motion-controlling a fragile vehicle through an obstacle course), as well as the underutilized F-Zero (racing). While these all present exciting ways to play, the most impressive areas shown so far focus on the industry's newest buzzword: asymmetric gameplay.
With the Wii U, your Wii's old controllers do not go to waste. As evidenced through NintendoLand's Luigi's Mansion and Animal Crossing inspired areas, up to five players can participate in a local game (one using the Wii U GamePad and four using Wii remotes). In "Luigi's Ghost Mansion", all players are dropped into a Pac-Man-like maze. The GamePad holder, who has a complete view of the maze, directs a ghost on the controller's screen with the goal of catching the other four players. Everyone else, whose focus is on the TV, need to weaken the ghost with their flashlights in order to defeat it. Unfortunately, they cannot see the ghost. Whenever the ghost passes near a player, however, that player's remote will vibrate, so it takes ample coordination between the four players to find the ghost before it grabs hold of them.
In "Animal Crossing: Sweet Day", the four players with Wii remotes attempt to pilfer an allotted amount of candy from the village's trees. While playing as the thieves in this cat-and-mouse game (who become slower as they pick up more candy) is loads of fun, it is the GamePad player that has the most mind-bending experience. This player actually controls two guards, one with each analog stick, to prevent the theft. Keeping your eyes trained on four moving targets while simultaneously managing two directionally diverging guards is one of the freshest gaming ideas I have ever tried.
I have been assured by a reliable source that, while there are only 12 areas to play games in, what has been shown so far represents only a paltry 5% of what the game has to offer. That promises an astonishingly extensive experience for what many might consider, on first glance, to be a meager mini-game collection. It has not yet been determined if NintendoLand will be packed in with the console similar to how Wii Sports was with the Wii. However, given the breadth of content, I would be incredibly surprised if it was.
Will NintendoLand have the same success as Wii Sports in bringing non-gamers to our hobby? Time will tell, but as long as people give it a fair shake and approach it with an open mind, NintendoLand and the Wii U certainly have the potential to be an industry game changer.
Writes for a few media outlets, does graphic design work for a few clients, as well as production work for a few studios (all poorly). Believes the best correlation between the words "twilight" and "sparkle" has less to do with vampires and more to do with a sarcastic pony.
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