News Article

Nintendo DS Inspired The Uniqueness Of Wii U

Posted by Andy Green

Former president's philosophy still being put into practice

Wii U is currently the system on everyone’s lips. It’s the first home console to add an extra screen to the television with the inclusion of the GamePad, but it’s not the first time Nintendo has added one to its hardware.

In an interview on Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun, President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, and Shigeru Miyamoto sat down with Shigesato Itoi, the creator of the EarthBound series, to discuss the changes that have taken place over the years at Nintendo.

When looking at the next piece of hardware to come after the Game Boy Advance, Miyamoto recalled a change from traditional upgrades whereby the previous system would merely have its specifications increased.

When we developed the DS, we started from the question, ‘If we make a high spec Gameboy Advance, is it something people will want? If you make the same sort of thing, there's no uniqueness to it. When there's nothing unique, all you get as a result is a price war.

Nintendo's former president, Hiroshi Yamauchi brought up something unique, something that wasn’t simply a spec upgrade: a 2-screen handheld.

At the time it was a revolution and Miyamoto, when toying with the idea of two screen gaming, made quirky little games for PDA systems – the closest thing to a DS that was currently on the market.

This philosophy of adding something unique to a console’s successor is still going strong at Nintendo, even after the departure of Yamauchi. The Wii U certainly came about with his philosophy in mind. Satoru Iwata observed that though the former president had no direct input with Wii U, his fingerprints can still be found all over it.

Even before the DS was born, we often heard Mr. Yamauchi say ‘Don't do the same as what's been done before' over and over.

Nintendo did just that with Wii U, creating a console that had never been done before, upgrading the specs of the previous system while also adding something unique.

What are your thoughts on this? Was Nintendo right to add a second screen to its home console? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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User Comments (25)



Auracle said:

I think Nintendo's philosophy of doing something unique is excellent. That's one of the reasons why I enjoy Nintendo games/systems so much.



ultraraichu said:

Thumbs up on nintendo's philosophy, doing something new instead of just focusing to improve (specs that is).
Although the Orly Owl would like to have a word with you on the title



ouroborous said:

I thought the idea of the 2-screen DS was crazy when it first came out. I just didn't see the point. And although the graphics were a bit lackluster, especially for FMV (Metroid Prime Hunters I'm looking at you!) they came out with a few must-have games like Zelda and Castlevania and ultimately I was in. But the original version of the DS was horrible, dim, clunky and just plain ugly. The DSLite was pretty sweet though, I stuck with that all the way up until 3DS and I still have it for a good reason wink, oh and because I didn't want to lose the GBA slot either. I really wish 3DS got more love in the US, though that's partly Nintendo's fault since the game roster has been the slowest for any system ever and they still release DS games which totally undermines the 3DS.
The DSi seemed like a pointless and much-too-soon upgrade (geez I hate to even call it that) but the DSiXL was a cool idea, just not really worth it after already buying a DS and then trading it for a DSLite. However, when the 3DSXL came out, I immediately traded in my teeny 3DS for the XL and will never look back. The XL should have been the standard model to begin with, the "regular" sized one has FAR too small of a screen. The 3DSXL isn't clunky at all as it's on par with PSP and PSV which people were already used to as the average standard size for handheld gaming. Makes me sad that I ever put up with the tiny screen on the DSLite and the regular 3DS(mini?). But ah well, better gaming ahead and I LOVE the 3D effect and refuse to buy a Vita since it doesn't have that. Wish they really put the 3D effect to better use in more games though.
Sorry for the super-long post, thanks for reading! (I should really be writing articles).



Emaan said:

The DS was truly revolutionary. Its really neat to see all these ideas of theirs come full circle in one console. The DS's two screens, one being touch and the GBA-Gamecube connectivity for asymmetric gameplay. It all comes together really nicely.



JuanitoShet said:

That's why Nintendo is my favorite company of the Big 3. They always go for change, and I enjoy the end results.



WiiLovePeace said:

Yeah I'm loving the 2nd screen, being able to play home console games while having the TV do something else is really fun



DerpSandwich said:

It's a new way to play, and at the end of the day that's what I'm going to remember. It's what pushes the industry forward.



nin10dodude said:

It was actually thought up before the DS. When they connected the Gameboy Advance to the Gamecube.




I'm happy with everything except the price (and slow loading time - lol). Not as revolutionary as DS and Wii, but a very good follow up. Hopefully devs respond and try and get innovative with the console.



Drewroxsox said:

Wow... Nintendo didn't even have to announce this, considering most people figured this out :/



NeonNerd said:

@nin10dodude and thought up before that when the Neo-Geo Pocket Color and SEGA Dreamcast where connected by link cable and to a lesser extent when the Dreamcast was connected to a VMU device (though it is somewhat primitive in comparison.)



rjejr said:

You people are so polite here - I was going to go with either "ya think?" or "Duh".



LittleIrves said:

Everyone who reads this site should read Nintendo Magic. Only goes up through 2009 or so, but so much of the history and R&D tidbits foreshadow both the 3DS and WiiU. It's neat to see how the higher-ups in the company have been thinking about ideas for a long time, and sometimes decades later an idea comes to fruition in the market. What could be next....?

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