Nintendo's 23-game Wii U launch targets more than just families

By Jeffrey Peterson

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Oct. 25 2012 2:26 p.m. MDT

Video game fans are anticipating the release of Nintendo’s new console, the somewhat confusingly titled — but potentially revolutionary — Wii U.

When the successor to Nintendo’s motion-controlled Wii hits store shelves on Nov. 18, it will be accompanied by the biggest launch title lineup in the developer’s long history of entertainment and innovation.

From the first day, gamers will have a whopping 23 titles to choose from, according to a news release. Just by way of comparison, the Xbox 360 launched with 18 titles and the PlayStation 3 with a scant 12.

What’s more, Nintendo has promised an additional 29 titles to be released before the end of March.

Parents should note, however, that there will also be more variety in the Wii U lineup, including some titles that carry the Mature rating.

In the past, Nintendo has been criticized by hardcore gamers for focusing too much on family-oriented content and casual gaming experiences. As a result, the company has developed a reputation for only making “kiddie” games.

With the Wii U’s launch lineup, however, Nintendo is offering titles that attract older core gamers, including some of the season’s most highly anticipated cross-platform titles like “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” and “Assassin’s Creed 3," both of which are rated M for blood, gore, violence and strong language.

The Wii U’s innovative GamePad — a hybrid controller/touchscreen tablet that adds a second screen — offers a unique gaming experiences. Nintendo marketing executive Scott Moffit describes it as the “preferred way” to play multi-platform titles.

Speaking with Gamespot, Moffit said, “You can imagine how a game like ‘Call of Duty’ would work on the Wii U — the GamePad will allow you to declutter the TV and pull gaming items like maps down and not interrupt your interaction (so you can) enjoy the cinematic quality of the game on the TV.”

The Wii U will also offer exclusive titles that aren't for kids, including Ubisoft’s “Zombi U,” which is also rated M.

However, the push to recapture core gamers doesn’t mean Nintendo is abandoning the family-friendly content that helped it sell nearly 100 million Wii consoles over the past six years.

When asked about the Wii U’s target audience, Moffit said, “It’s a simple answer: the Wii U is designed to appeal to everybody.”

Alongside the more hardcore offerings, the Wii U will launch with a number of titles aimed at younger gamers, including “Scribblenauts Unlimited,” “Rabbids Land” and a sequel to 2010’s critically acclaimed “Epic Mickey,” which reunites two of Walt Disney’s earliest animated creations.

Of course, no new Nintendo console would be complete without some of the company’s iconic characters appearing in one form or another. Although bigger franchises like “Super Smash Bros.” and “Mario Kart” are noticeably missing on the new system, Nintendo fans will at least be able to play as the world’s most famous Italian plumber in the frenetic multiplayer platformer “New Super Mario Bros. U.”

Finally, one of the most talked about titles on the Wii U has been the mini-game collection “Nintendo Land,” which puts players in an amusement park with themed attractions based on some of the company’s classic properties. “Nintendo Land’s" assortment of mini-games include everything from “The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest” to the Pac-Man-inspired “Luigi’s Ghost Mansion” to “Donkey Kong: Crash Course.”

If nothing else, the mini-games in “Nintendo Land” should be enough to whet gamers’ appetites until each of Nintendo’s beloved properties inevitably receive their own full-length games.

When the Wii U hits stores Nov. 18, it will be available in two bundles, a white 8GB model and a black 32GB deluxe model that comes packaged with “Nintendo Land.”

For a complete list of Wii U games, check out the official Wii U website at www.nintendo.com/wiiu.

A native of Utah Valley and a devoted cinephile, Jeff studied humanities and history at Brigham Young University.

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