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E3 2011: Nintendo’s New ‘Wii U’ Console Will Change How We Look at Video Games

E3 2011: Nintendo’s New ‘Wii U’ Console Will Change How We Look at Video Games (photo)

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Maybe you’ve had arguments with a roommate or significant other over who gets to control the living room television. Or, maybe you’ve played a game on a tablet and really wished that you had the precision of button inputs to make the experience that much better.

Well, Nintendo has heard your cry. Announced some weeks ago after months of rumors, the next home console from the Japanese game giant was revealed this week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Called Wii U, the console comes with a large, touchscreen controller that also houses the standard set of buttons, triggers and joysticks as on other systems’ controllers. Wii U’s backwards compatible, meaning that you’ll be able to use the current Wii’s controllers, games and accessories with the incoming system. It’s designed to be utilized for nearly any of the common control inputs used to play games today. The touchscreen isn’t multi-touch, though. Nevertheless, if developers want to make a game with finger-tapping, stylus sliding or button-mashing, the touchpad for the Wii accommodates their desires.

And it’s those desires that will really shape the future of not only this new console, but of video games, as well. Nintendo only offered a handful of conceptual demos that showed what the console could do, but they harbored interesting implementations that blazed new territory.

E3 2011: Nintendo Wii U – Official Nintendo DemonstrationDemo, Shield Pose

One demo called Chase Mii created a game of hide and seek where the player with the touchscreen ran from four pursuers, using the screen to see where they were in the gameworld. The other players–who used Wii remotes to control their characters–had to shout out at each other where they saw their prey. The simple concept became even more fun by virtue of the asymmetrical design. On its own, that asymmetry opens up gameplay ideas that single-screen gaming can’t offer. Using the touchscreen as a playbook for “Madden NFL,” a map for a “Legend of Zelda” game lets you have a clean, image on the TV screen that pulls you in even more. Or, the place-shifting capability of the console/controller combo lets you view an image on the touchscreen alone, letting you play a game without hogging the TV.

The Wii U represents a shift back towards the hardcore gamer demographic that the Wii alienated with its cutesy Mii avatars, underpowered graphics and sometimes goofy motion control. With a console that supports full HD graphics, online play and motion, touch and button-based gaming, the Wii U throws the floodgates open to a torrent of ideas. It’ll be interesting to see what game designers come up with when the Wii U arrives some time after April next year.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.

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Stan Diego Comic-Con

Stan Against Evil returns November 1st.

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Photo Credit: Erin Resnick, GIFs via Giphy

Another Comic-Con International is in the can, and multiple nerdgasms were had by all – not least of which were about the Stan Against Evil roundtable discussion. Dana, Janet and John dropped a whole lotta information on what’s to come in Season 2 and what it’s like to get covered in buckets of demon goo. Here are the highlights.

Premiere Date!

Season 2 hits the air November 1 and picks up right where things left off. Consider this your chance to seamlessly continue your Halloween binge.

Character Deets!

Most people know that Evie was written especially for Janet, but did you know that Stan is based on Dana Gould’s dad? It’s true. But that’s where the homage ends, because McGinley was taken off the leash to really build a unique character.

Happy Accidents!

Improv is apparently everything, because according to Gould the funniest material happens on the fly. We bet the writers are totally cool with it.

Exposed Roots!

If Stan fans are also into Twin Peaks and Doctor Who, that’s no accident. Both of those cult classic genre benders were front of mind when Stan was being developed.

Trailer Treasure!

Yep. A new trailer dropped. Feast your eyes.

Catch up on Stan Against Evil’s first season on the IFC app before it returns November 1st on IFC.