Nintendo is easily the console gaming system I know the best. Although I haven’t had a Wii in well over a year, I’ve own every single Nintendo console ever produced. I’m not counting handheld here, since I’ve only owned a gameboy color, and a gameboy advance for a little while, but as for consoles, I’ve had them all, and for the most part, I’ve loved them for what they were.

Gaming on a Nintendo system is an entirely different experience than their competition provided by Microsoft (XBOX) and Sony (Playstation). They’ve appealed to the family friendly environment, while still managing to pull in many more serious RPG gamers. Franchise characters like Mario, Link, and Donkey Kong will forever be legendary icons of the platform, and if Nintendo wants to keep their track record of excellence within their specific target market, they’ll need to make some vital changes, specifically to hardware.

For starters, Nintendo needs to beef up their consoles and go full HD. It’s about time they live in a world with great graphical rendering, and gamers want to see more than just a head with some dots for hands and legs. They need more than straight edges on rectangular bodies. Basically… they need graphical enhancements badly. With their announcement coming today, which will focus on hardware, I’m hoping to hear that they’ve finally made the move to higher visual quality for their products.

Aside from graphics, the user experience of playing a Wii U needs to be carefully constructed with their new controller system. It will undoubtedly have a touch-screen interface, that’s for sure, but there have been talks of more integration for the Nintendo 3DS. This is an area they need to watch their steps with, because if they put too much reliance on their handheld platform, their fans may become a bit upset. You see, we don’t really want to have to buy another console to get the full experience of gaming on a Nintendo console. The only reason I stress this concern, is because of recent reports that the next Super Smash Brothers title may be moving toward allowing users to build up their characters on the 3DS handheld, and then battle online with the Wii U. I would hope that Nintendo continues to produce complete games with each console, and won’t rely on integration between the two platforms for the complete experience. That would make a lot of people upset. We don’t necessarily want to spend another $100 for another system in order to get the full experience.

Another area Nintendo really needs to get working on is online play. Nintendo’s attempt at online community was a very poor one with the Wii. Connection lags, glitching, and disconnects were commonplace with the Wii, and playing games like Smash Brothers with people all over the world shouldn’t be such a sour experience. In my time with it, however, I will say that although it took a while to get a race going with Mario Kart, once inside the game, it did a lot better. The network play online did gradually get more and stable as time went on, but in my opinion, it’s just not good enough. Nintendo needs an excellent online interaction from its gamers, just like XBOX live and the Playstation Network have done for their competition. It would make their fan base more of a community, which would do nothing but help Nintendo.

Their conference today should tell us more details on the hardware we can expect from the Wii U, and hopefully a bit about network play as well. It’s time Nintendo catered a bit more to those who take gaming a bit more seriously, and not just to kids and families who play Wii Sports as a regular family activity. The console shouldn’t just attract those looking to get fit. It should attract those looking for an immersive experience in seriously powerful titles. I’ve seen the power of the Wii, and what it can do. I want more. They need to give gamers more. The Wii U is hopefully the answer.

I have no doubt that Nintendo will own E3 with their announcements. They’ll probably even generate more buzz than Halo 4. More coverage coming all week-long. You can keep track of all the stories about E3 from HotTips! by clicking the banner under the site menu bar.

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