Countdown to Nintendo Wii U Launch: Gamepad

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Nintendo’s new video game console, the Wii U, launches on Sunday, November 18th. The system will feature high-definition graphics and a wide variety of games across many genres. However, one of the most distinctive features of the Wii U is the system's very unique controller.

The Wii U’s gamepad merges together the more traditional style of controller with a tablet-like touchscreen in the center.

This allows players to see the action on the screen. Some games can be played in full on the gamepad, even allowing another person to watch another program on the TV screen while playing. Other games offer supplementary information, such as a map display.

The new gamepad also allows for what Nintendo calls “asymmetric gameplay.” One example the company provides is New Super Mario Brothers U, a launch title. One player, with the traditional gamepad, can put down blocks to help (or hurt) other players using more traditional controllers.

At launch, the Wii U (both Basic and Deluxe models) will come with one of these gamepads. In North America, additional gamepads will not be sold at launch. However, no titles at launch support more than one gamepad at a time. Instead, other players can use controllers from Nintendo’s previous video game console, the Wii.

However, a “Pro” controller will be available at launch. This is a more traditional style of controller, with no touchscreen built in.

The Wii U launches November 18th in North America.

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