Nintendo adds Wii U kiosks for hands-on demos before launch

So we walk in our local GameStop Sunday and what’s that sitting beside the door? A shiny white new Nintendo Wii U. The new console launches Nov. 18.

We got to spend about 15 minutes with the machine, standing in front of several other sweaty-handed gamers who were anxious for some hands-on time with that new huge white controller with the screen built-in.

Nintendo has placed Wii U kiosks in 5,000 retail stores throughout the U.S., each with the aforementioned Wii U GamePad controller.

So where can you and Little Jimmy find it? Try Target, Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart and Toys ‘R’ Us. To find the nearest Wii U sampling station, visit http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu/events.

So what did we think? The Wii U is a gorgeous machine, brilliant white and the new Wii U Game Controller is going to be excellent when you’re playing a friend, but we really think you’re going to want two Wii U controllers. We can see this making a game like, say, Madden football, pretty competitive. No longer, theoretically, would you opponent be able to see a selection of plays your opponent is picking from. In that way, if EA Sports was to design a Wii U Madden like that, it would  be like the old Sega Dreamcast.

Graphically, Wii U is a huge jump ahead from any previous Nintendo console. These are graphics on par and perhaps superior to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. That may be disappointing to some, hoping for some nuclear leap past the competition, which is really due for a refresh.

The new controller, though, is the star of the show. It’s easy to hold, easy to operate and the on-screen guide is going to open up so many opportunities for gaming and for control of other features Nintendo plans to launch like search.

Some information from Nintendo.

Launching Nov. 18 in North America, Wii U and the integrated Wii U GamePad offer completely new experiences that change the way people play games, watch video programming and connect with family and friends. The Wii U Deluxe Set will be available at a suggested retail price of $349.99, and includes black hardware with 32 GB of memory, a black Wii U GamePad, Nintendo Land, a console stand, a GamePad stand and a GamePad charging cradle. Consumers who purchase the Deluxe Set will also be enrolled in the Deluxe Digital Promotion and earn 10 percent back in Points on all games and content downloaded at the Nintendo eShop for the Wii U. Points can be exchanged to receive Nintendo eShop credit that can be used toward a future Wii U or Nintendo 3DS game purchase. The promotion is currently planned through 2014.

The Wii U Basic Set includes white hardware with 8 GB of memory and a white Wii U GamePad, and will be available at a suggested retail price of $299.99.

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