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(From Guardian Unlimited)
When looking at the Nintendo Wii U, it's important to remember that when the Wii launched in 2006, some people laughed at the console's intention to "disrupt" gaming.
It didn't look like a disruptive piece of kit -- but it was. The proof lies in the fact that Microsoft and Sony subsequently felt obliged to create the Kinect and Move, not to mention the entire generation of people it introduced to video games. But surely it couldn't pull of the same trick again with Wii U?
Oh yes it can. Although there was trepidation mixed in with the excitement when we pitched up at Nintendo's still half-built booth at E3, on the day before the press conference at which it would launch Wii U, for an ultra-exclusive sneak preview of the new console.
Which was conducted in a gloriously cloak-and-dagger manner -- a wristband had to be obtained, security insisted we hide our press badge, we were given a lengthy list of questions we couldn't ask, photography and audio-recording devices were strictly banned, and we had to wait outside a demo room sealed by a blast-door that would tax a professional safe cracker.
Upon entering the inner sanctum, Wii U itself, although apparently hooked up to a big screen, initially remained concealed -- indeed, the console remained a shadowy presence throughout, partly hidden in a cupboard. What we could see of it resembled a slightly more rounded Wii, but in truth, it …