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The Most Interesting Wii U Experiment So Far? Thief

It's like Nintendo took a look at Spy Party and said "hmm."

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Nintendo's press conference was underwhelming, but if there's anything I've learned about Nintendo and E3 over the years, the company hides its greatest secrets in plain sight. That's still the case in 2012, in which I had my most memorable experience with Wii U so far in front of a kiosk for the charming Game & Wario.

(Did you know there aren't even proper areas for 3DS games, and everything is attached to girls with demo units?)

Game & Wario is yet another collection of gameplay experiments from Nintendo. One assumes it's being developed by the WarioWare team (it stars some of that series' more notable characters), and by far the most interesting game in the collection was "Thief."

There were four mini-games on display, with 10 apparently in the final product--hopefully this isn't a $60 game.

If you've been paying attention to Chris Hecker's Spy Party, you have a good idea of what to expect from the much simpler Thief, a game about hiding in plain sight.

In Spy Party, however, while one player is sneaking around, another wields a sniper rifle. There's no such violence in this mini-game, and no reason for anyone else to be holding Wii remotes or nunchucks. All that's needed is a single GamePad. The section opens in a city bustling with people. The player holding the GamePad is dropped into the mix, and must do their best to blend in. Besides walking, there are apples to be picked up, and while none of the other characters are interested in the apples, they're constantly walking over them, which means you have an opportunity for trickery. To succeed as the thief, you must make that seem natural.

It's to your advantage to keep the GamePad concealed--you don't want anyone else knowing your strategy.

Once you've collected all the apples, it's time for everyone else to chime in. You hand the GamePad over, and the group is presented a line-up of characters, all of which were at one point or another featured on the screen. The group must then collectively vote on the thief.

In this case, it was some random dude from the show floor. He got me, though, and we both laughed pretty hard. Let's pretend he was leaning over my shoulder and cheating.

These moments seem to epitomize the greatest promise of Wii U. We just need more of them. Lots more.

Patrick Klepek on Google+