Hey guys, I just got back from one of the Wii U Experience sessions being held in Los Angeles this weekend. This is a Nintendo event touring the country and showing off fans various upcoming Wii U titles, including ZombiU, The Wonderful 101, New Super Mario Bros. U, Pikmin 3, and more. It was a relatively short event (only about 2-2.5hours long), and the kiosk lines varied in length, but it was great to get to see the new system before launch.
I received an invitation through my Club Nintendo membership, which allowed me to not only attend, but invite up to three guests. Unfortunately, one of the two friends I invited couldn't make it, and traffic was a mess, but I still had fun. We checked in at the front of the building, and my friend registered on a laptop they had on the scene to automatically upload photographs on his Facebook. We were giving passes that we could scan at different locations in the studio to have these photos taken and uploaded, which is pretty nifty, but I had no interest in using it. I somehow ended up in a room reading the lyrics to "Call Me Maybe" aloud right after that. SiNG Party isn't a bad idea, but from I could tell, there's not much of a 'game' to it, such as a performance indicator or score. There's nothing wrong with that, but I do wonder about what kind of price you put on a game that technically isn't a game.
Despite the Wii U GamePad's size, it's relatively light, and mostly comfortable. My main concern are the grooves on the back of the controller making your fingers rest on the triggers, and would likely make hitting the L and R shoulder buttons more awkward because of that. It took some time for me to adjust to The Wonderful 101, but that was more due to my unfamiliarity with the game's mechanics.
The Wonderful 101 does play a bit like a more action-oriented Pikmin, but I was surprised the game reminded me of Okami, of all things. Moving the right analog stick will cause a line to appear, and you can draw a shape to make the characters take the form of a gun, a sword, or a fist. This ability goes beyond the combat, though, such as one area requiring me to make the fist and use it to twist open a gate. It was still a very action-centered game, but I didn't make it very far before my time ran out. The game even crashed while I was waiting in line, so that was kind of funny.
I wanted to try out ZombiU, but that had a bigger line than the other kiosks. Other than video games, there was an area that allowed you have have your picture taken with Mario-themed props, and some folks making free flavored shaved ice snacks. I even saw Mega64's Rocco at the event.
That about wraps everything up. We were all given chocolate mustaches on our way out, but mine melted pretty quickly. Curse you, California weather!