I have been a Nintendo Brand Ambassador for about 4 years now and have gotten to do some really cool things. Remember when they had a Nintendo DS Lite party for my friends and I and everyone got a free Nintendo DS Lite? Or when they threw a Wii Fit party for my friends and I and then I gave a Wii away on my site? How about when they took us up to the Hancock Center for free dinner and drinks then gave everyone a Nintendo DSi? Or when Nintendo and Netflix partnered and I threw a game and movie night party? Not to mention all the fun things they’ve sent me in the mail over the years! And then I thought last year took the cake, when they sent me to Seattle for the launch of the Nintendo 3DS….
Well, that was all awesome, but this past weekend? This past weekend Nintendo sent me to Los Angeles, West Hollywood to be exact, to get a preview of the new Wii console, Wii U.
To ramp up for the Wii U launch on November 18th, Nintendo is doing a road show and visiting cities across the US to give brand ambassadors and VIPs a preview. They actually had an event in Chicago over the summer but I wasn’t able to attend. I was so excited that I would be able to finally see the new Wii in L.A.
We all met in the lobby of The Standard, where the out-of-towners were staying. I got to see Justine again, which is nice because she has been my main contact at Brand About Town for years and I do not get to see her often. I also quickly realized that some of the brand ambassadors that I met at the Seattle event were there and so I didn’t have to remeet every single person over again. Unlike Seattle, where there were 90% women, this event had many men and women. Not sure about the different groups, but a lot of the guys seemed to be big on YouTube. When everyone had gathered, we boarded a bus for Siren Studios.
The Wii U event was like a party! Loud music, lots of black light and stations set up all over. A few games, ZombieU, Batman Arkham City (which, I kept accidentally calling Batman Arkema City, after my friends), Just Dance 4 and Sing Party had their own rooms. The rest of the games were stationed all around. The brand ambassadors were not the only VIPs there to play so it was pretty packed. I did not get to play as many games as expected, but did get to see a lot.
The main difference with the WII U is that the Wii U GamePad includes a 6-inch touch-screen tablet. It still has the physical sticks, directional pad, face buttons and trigger buttons, but also a touch screen. I was afraid at first that this was going to be beastly and heavy, but it wasn’t. The controller was light and designed in an ergonomic way that felt good in your hands.
It was interesting to see how the different games used the controller differently. I have seen Dallas play Batman Arkham City a ton on PlayStation. And as with most first-person games, he always has to stop and access a menu where he can switch weapons and stuff like that. When I played the Batman game, a lot of that stuff was on the touch screen. So I could drag weapons onto a directional pad on the screen and then when I pressed the directional pad it would trigger the weapon as I’d designated. There was also the option to move the whole controller up and down and left and right to aim before shooting. Or you could just use the buttons to do it.
In the Sing Party game, which I spent way too much time in, the Wii U GamePad was used to display lyrics for the singer. So, unlike Rock Band where everyone has to face the TV, the singer could face the crowd and sing to them, while the audience looks at the singer and the TV to get their participation indicators.
In Just Dance 4 you hold your Wii motion sensor controllers, that you already own if you own a Wii, and when you dance, these controllers sense how well you’re doing. One person can go into “pupper master mode” with the Wii U GamePad controller and pick which moves the dance participants have to do. They can also make the dancers strike a pose and choose who did it best to award extra points.
I played a game called Rayman Legends. For this game I actually played with a Wii U Pro Controller, that was very much like a Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 controller. I liked this game a lot. My friend on the trip, Janet, used the Wii U GamePad controller to do other things in the game while I was playing.
I saw that there’s a new Wii Fit game, Wii Fit U and I could see that there were new games inside of it, but I didn’t get to play.
I also did not get to play Ninja Gaiden 3, but I heard that you could throw stars from the Wii U GamePad controller onto the TV, which seems pretty cool.
After a few hours of hands-on play, we had to go. As a parting gift we got these chocolate Mario mustaches on a stick. Yumyum.
I hear that the new controller can be used as a TV remote (TVii) and that the Wii U will be able to stream Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video and YouTube. And that it also has NFC. I’m excited to see how that works, since I’ve never used NFC for real before. I can’t wait to see one of these out in the wild to really get a feel for how all of it works.
As always, a big thanks to Nintendo for this awesome opportunity! I had so much fun in Los Angeles, checking out the Wii U, seeing old friends and meeting new ones!
I’ve been trying to keep track of stories and photos that other ambassadors have shared:
- Pretty Sandy Feet: A little bit birthday, a little bit Nintendo & a little bit like the end of Summer
- The Glamerous Life: GlamReview: Wii U (The Standard West Hollywood too)
- Ashalah: Weekend Recap: A Los Angeles Quickie
Crazy. I know it was a different event, and not everyone was a blogger, but even a year ago in Seattle I had a mile-long list of blog posts on the event. This year? So much Twitter, Facebook and Instagramming!
Disclosure: It might be needless to say, but Nintendo provided the airfare and accommodations on this trip. I was not paid, or even asked, to write this post.