Remember when your family got a Nintendo Wii as a holiday gift a few years back, and you spent a few weeks, or months, gathered around playing Wii Sports and having a grand old time? Since then maybe the Wii isn't getting the love it once was.
Ubisoft wants to help! We've got another year to wait for the Wii U, but in the meantime Ubi has a new peripheral to re-energize family gaming nights. It's called the Drawsome Tablet and it's basically an 8.5" graphics tablet for the Wii with a 6.5 x 5 inch drawing surface. There's a transparency layer that lets you trace images and the stylus is wireless (great for freedom of movement, not so great from a "let's not lose this" perspective).
It comes with two games, Drawsome Artist™ and Drawsome SketchQuest™. The first teaches players to draw (or of course you can just follow your own muse) and the second uses the Drawsome Tablet as an input device. The trailer (below) had me thinking back on the very old "Winky Dink" TV series that had kids drawing on their TV screen to help Winky Dink get out of trouble! In a perfect world, the kid remembered to put the protective plastic on the TV before they started watching; this won't be a problem with the Drawsome of course.
Ubisoft has licensed The Smurfs to figure prominently in the Drawsome Artist game, so that could be an additional draw in some families.
It's nice to see video game companies offering products that encourage kids (and adults) to unleash their creativity. The Drawsome Tablet will launch on December 6th, so save a place on the wish list for it.
Now as long as we're talking about the Wii family, there's some news, or rather some rumors, going around about next year's Wii U. When the device was first shown at E3 last June we got the disappointing news that the device would only support one of those crazy tablet controllers. That meant player 1 got to use the touch screen and player 2 a regular game controller or possibly a Wii Remote.
Well it sounds like Nintendo heard our groans of disappointment and are making changes, at least according to Develop. They have a 'trusted source' who is telling them that the Wii U will support 'at least' 2 of the tablet controllers. Assuming their intel is accurate, it means we'll have synchronous 2-player gaming on the device, utilizing it's signature feature: touch controls.
Of course, we'll have to see how much that second controller will cost! We've got time, though. The Wii U won't be out until 2012, and probably not until late 2012.
And now, just in case you missed the magic of Winky Dink, marvel in the glory of interactive entertainment, 1950's style!
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.