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Wii U prototype is literally a Wii duct taped together

by Andrew Yoon, Dec 07, 2012 11:30am PST

Noteworthy game developer Chris Hecker generated quite a bit of controversy when he famously described Wii as two Gamecubes duct-taped together. While Wii's graphical prowess has become less of a point of contention over time, similar debates seem to be rising over Wii U's equally-underpowered specs. This time around, it isn't an outspoken developer that's bringing the duct tape--it's Nintendo themselves.

In the latest edition of Iwata Asks, Nintendo's president revealed this early prototype of the Wii U, which literally tapes together two Wii Remotes and a monitor. Not only was the early GamePad prototype conceived in such a practical way, Nintendo's Tatsuya Eguchi noted that early software simulations for Wii U simply used two Wii consoles.

Takayuki Shimamura from Nintendo's EAD studio revealed that "about 30" software prototypes were developed using this prototype device. Some of those games eventually led to the development of Nintendo Land's various mini-games.

Wii U's precursor

The GamePad was inspired by yet another odd prototype: a Wii Zapper with a screen attached to it (seen above). The genesis of this concept was the desire to have gameplay using both a small screen in your hands and the television screen. According to Eguchi, that was "the start of two-screen gameplay" for Nintendo's internal teams.

"We tested gameplay that involved moving the Wii Zapper and having images from the Wii move in sync on a monitor in your hands. It was fairly well received," Shimamura described. "Thanks to this prototype, however, we were able to explain the structure of Wii U—having a screen in your hands—and it became more compelling."

Given Nintendo's success with the Wii U so far, perhaps duct tape isn't such a bad thing after all.




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