JOELL-IRELAND.CO.UK | Ramblings and Life Blogging of James Joell-Ireland

The last 7 days has been a real eye opener for me. Once what used to bring me untold amount of fun to my living space has become increasingly stagnant. A culmination of rehashed experiences and lack of innovation has seen my own personal experience with video games become a frustrating and rather un-fun affair. With the added weight on my shoulders with running a game review website, I was close to chucking in the towel.

My personal life leaves less room for gaming these days - I get up at 6:30am and get home by 7:00pm and the allure of sitting around playing video games on the 48 hours before I have to go back to the job that pays my bills simply isn’t there. It’s not a notion of that I feel like I should be out the house, more aching for a new visceral experience whether that be from absorbing gameplay, emotional storytelling or simply experiencing a new way to play.

There are very few games I actually feel engaged enough to complete. Uncharted and Mario are two such series’s that engage every single time, regardless of how many iterations, others though aren’t so lucky. Fallout is so huge that I will never complete it, Mass Effect is too sci-fi I cannot engage with and there still is no sign of GTAV. All other franchises seem to stagnate too quickly, even the original Assassins Creed I haven’t completed because the repetition became so monotonous. Repetition of objectives are a fine line, somehow GTA pulls this off, probably because of the abundance of side distractions break up the formulaic gameplay. Just Cause had a tonne of potential but faltered due to the cruddy storyline and travel times between missions. Sandbox games are very dangerous games to make, the last of which I really enjoyed was Saints Row 2.

The lack of new IP’s is rather depressing, but we the consumers only have ourselves to blame. We keep buying the same games, so publishers keep feeding them to us. When consumers got bored of guitar based games, the marketplace dried up for them, blow and behold they stopped making them. If only consumers could rinse and repeat the same process for franchises that have been around too long for their own good, such as Medal of Honor and Call of Duty.

There is hope on the horizon though, just when I was chucking in the towel - Nintendo announced there new console at E3. Graphically as competent as an Xbox 360 but with better processing power, what the new Wii U has under the hood will satisfy the cravings for a HD based Nintendo machine. That however is not the most exciting part, if it was it would compromise the whole post I am writing today.

Wii U will change video gaming the same way both the Wii and Nintendo DS did, but this time much more in the favour of the core gamer. It’s controller which is arguably a gaming version of a swiss army knife, boasts so many features that it would simply blow your mind. Features include a six inch touch screen which is able to display what your console is playing whilst also featuring other game elements whilst you have the game on screen, is just one of the features that change the way we play games completely. From using the screen as alternative view points, an inventory, straight down to actually being a physical in game item - it allows developers to use the screen in crazy ways as well as removing the HUD completely from the main game screen and into the controller itself.

The controller also has a microphone, camera, accelerometer, dual analog sticks, d-pad and rumble features and that does not even touch the surface of what it can actually do. The console will also have a sophisticated online presence which means for the first time purchasing a Nintendo product won’t leave you with a lacklustre online experience. The console is also Wii backward compatible too, so all existing peripherals will work - including the classic controller. The scope developers have for this new machine is totally bewildering and it’s the first console since the N64 that I have really been truly excited about.

Console gaming maybe rather stagnant at the moment for innovation but it’s about to get rather exciting both in handheld with the Vita and in the livingroom with Wii U. Roll on 2012!

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