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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.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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