This year at E3 a slew of music and fitness games were announced; most of them getting little attention. However the minimal coverage alluded that these music/fitness games have the potential to keep the genre alive. They've kept what we love about them the same and added new features to make for a newish gaming experience.
This allusion of the expansion of the genre came straight from the mouth of Nintendo. When referring to the Wii U fitness and music genres Reggie Fils-Aime, COO of Nintendo America, Inc. said, "Wii U will make both of these better." In other words the Wii U will make these "better" through the use of its gamepad and what Nintendo calls asymmetric gaming (playing the same game but having different views via the TV/gamepad). The music/fitness games that Nintendo is leaning on to help support Reggie's statement are Just Dance 4, Sing (working title), Wii Fit U, Sports Connection, and Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013.
The most exciting music game that Nintendo announced was Just Dance 4. In my opinion, the most exciting feature they announced was the new track list. In Nintendo's opinion, the most exciting feature they announced was the "Puppet Master Mode." Once again it comes back to the Wii U's new gamepad/controller. The player using the Wii U's new controller can change the choreography of the track by choosing the next dance move.
In Just Dance 4 the Wii U controller also offers the capability to write/doodle dedications, take pictures/videos of your friends dancing, and use stand-alone play. Like other Wii U games the stand-alone play allows for you to play Just Dance 4 while others are using the TV.
Another announcement in the form of a music game was Sing (working title). Nintendo describes the game as "A new, interactive musical performance game that will get you and your guests singing and dancing well into the night." Looks to me more like upgraded karaoke with some dance moves thrown into the mix. And don't even get me started on the song they featured in the trailer. If you've heard it once, you've heard it too many times. So beware if, for some reason, you decide to watch it.
I'm not going to completely put the game down. It does look like a game that I would have fun with while drinking (a lot) with friends. The person who controls the Wii U controller is the main performer (singer) while other players dance, sing, and clap along; following cues on the television. The Wii U controller displays lyrics and allows for audio mixing and creating playlists. All of the amazing technology is going to change the way we play music games.
Let's get into the more exciting stuff. Fitness games! Nintendo announced Wii Fit U, Sports Connection, and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013. Like the related music games, these fitness games are going to show us how the Wii U is making the genre better.
Wii Fit U is simply a Wii Fit Plus upgrade. It has the same exercises plus new ones that incorporate the Wii U gamepad. However, a cool new feature is the fit meter, which tracks a record of your physical activity throughout the day. The fit meter can then be synced with the Wii U showing you how much exercise you got that day. The gamepad allows for an easier view of the exercise/move to be completed. For example, if a yoga move has you looking down, the gamepad can be set on the floor allowing for an easier transition from move to move. Of course the Wii U gamepad allows for single-screen activities and exercises. You can play these activities while someone else is using the television and check personal information. Once again Nintendo is proving to us that the Wii Fit is, in fact, just a gamepad.
Sports Connection features the following sports: soccer, football, baseball, tennis, golf, and racing. It is similar to Wii Sports as you use the motion controllers to swing a bat, hit a tennis ball, or score a hole in one. The Wii U gamepad makes Sports Connection unique in that you are able to control football moves and formations, scan the TV to analyze your next golfing move, and of course play separately without the TV. The trailer humorously shows us this as a man is using the gamepad to race, while sitting on the toilet.
Little was released about Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013. The trailer shows that it is another typical fitness game. The Wii U gamepad is integrated more as a social tool. You can use it to share your progress, "like" someone's game play status, and select to beat your friends score. In this game it acts more as a separate remote as most of the exercise is done using the original Wii remote. Nothing too exciting to look forward to unless of course you're an exercise junkie and a gamer.
I am not impressed what so ever on the Wii U's upcoming music/fitness games. It looks to me like more of the same. Most of these games will collect dust just as quickly as the current music/fitness games I own. However Nintendo is once again being ballsy with their statements. I certainly hope the Wii U makes the fitness/music genre better but I highly doubt it. Nintendo: prove me wrong!