Ever since the Wii U GamePad emerged everyone has been conjuring up new ways to use the innovative touch screen on the tablet-like controller. Games like New Super Mario Bros. U utilised it to create helpful blocks for the players on the main screen, while ZombiU used it as an inventory for players to quickly grab hold of that trusty cricket bat should they need it.
Upcoming titles don't seem to be using it all that much, however, with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, for example, going for the classic Wii Remote and Nunchuk approach.
So what does the future hold for the GamePad's touch screen? Will it ever feature as an essential part of a game in the same way typical Android games do, or will it be more supplemental?
Well, in an interview with Game Informer, Shigeru Miyamoto explained how ever since the DS it has become an integral part of video gaming because of "the ease with which you're able to design the games in a way that anybody can play with just the touch of a finger in terms of menu selections and things like that".
Nintendo is primarily utilising the GamePad's touch screen to make it easier to navigate initial and in-game menus rather than having it do any of the major controlling of gameplay.
Really for Wii U where we look at the benefit of the gamepad screen, is we really look at it as sort of a requirement in terms of how we're handling menus and sub-screens within the games. Just to make the games more convenient and easier to play.
Touch screen gaming is not something Nintendo requires other developers to use in their games, it's just available to them should they want to:
With regard to touch screen gaming, we think it's great if people want to design their games for our systems in ways that take advantage of the touch screen, but we're not going to require it. We don't think necessarily that developers should be required to have something unique that leverages the 3D visuals in their gameplay.
In terms of third party games, some use the touch screen more than others. Games such as LEGO City Undercover have it as a second screen that can scan areas and the touch elements are restricted to pressing buttons or selecting options. Meanwhile, on the other hand, Rayman Legends allows the player to take control of Murphy the frog in order to kill enemies and unblock paths for Rayman and his pals.
Even with regard to something like the GamePad, we really look at it more in terms of providing a consistent environment for the game developers so that it's easy for them to take advantage of the creation tools that are available to them, knowing that whoever buys the software is going to have access to all these different features. So rather than taking a posture of, we definitely want to push one particular direction, instead what we say is, "These are the tools that are available for you to choose from, and we hope that you'll design your games in a way that is as broadly appealing as possible."
What are your thoughts on the GamePad's touch screen? Do you think it should be used at a more integral level or is it best for navigating menus and inventories? Let us know your opinion by dropping a comment below.