One screen is so old hat

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.

[source, via]