wii draw. uDraw. etc.

With all the buzz surrounding Kinect for the Xbox 360 and the launch of Move for the PS3 last week, Nintendo wii seemed to have gone all quiet. So it was quite a pleasant surprise when I opened up the latest copy of Edge magazine on the tube this morning to see a graphically gorgeous page all about the wii’s latest developments.

I’m actually a fan of all three consoles, can’t choose between them – they all have different attributes and pitfalls (the PS3 controller is not my friend, you have to PAY for Xbox LIVE, graphics on the wii aren’t as good…etc.) And I actually own one of each – including the handhelds – so I was getting worried that Nintendo were lagging.

The great thing about their latest tech though, although it’s developed by THQ and not Nintendo, is that they’re continuing to recognise that the wii can’t compete in the hardcore gaming market and are continually exploring more family and ‘grown-up’ friendly avenues.

Enter uDraw. Digital artists are not going to like this as it’s a bit of a dumbed down version of a Wacom. But for kids and less computer-savvy ‘adults’, it looks like it does the job perfectly. uDraw is basically a tablet with a stylus as the controller; the usual wii controller slots in (much the same as it does for Guitar Hero) to provide access to the main buttons and B trigger.

The key launch game – continuing the ‘family fun’ theme – looks to be the digital version of Pictionary where new console-only game features have been developed, and the game is played by passing the uDraw pad from player to player. A number of other games are also in development, all of course have drawing at the core of their play mechanic.

As is often the case, the uDraw will launch in the US first – it’s looking like November this year – and make it to Europe after that. Whether this will be in time for the Christmas rush is as yet unclear, i’ll keep you posted. And to be honest, unless it gets wildly inflated, the pricepoint isn’t looking too unreasonable either at this stage, less than the wii fit anyway.

I will hopefully post a full post-launch review as soon as I can; being the creative type and gaming freak, I will certainly be getting one. And whilst I do think of myself as an above average gamer, I love these type of developments from Nintendo as it gives me a softer gaming side to fall back on when I don’t necessarily feel in the mood for gunning down a swarm of graphically realistic swarming Nazi zombies.



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