Nintendo may be on top when it comes to innovation in the video game industry, but it is by no means infallible. For every success attributed to the brand, it's easy to point out an equally prominent failure that the company had in the past.
Of course, there is nothing is wrong with failure - so long as one is willing to learn from it and make corrections in the future. One such failure was the Wii U GamePad that came packaged with every new Wii U, and true to form, Nintendo is more than willing to admit that it was indeed a disappointment and is keenly aware to not make a similar error in the future.
In an interview, Eiji Aonuma, the producer of The Legend of Zelda, openly admitted the Wii U GamePad was flawed in design and actually disrupted gameplay. In fact, he mentioned that if that concept was used in a real-world situation, it would likely have disastrous outcomes.
"We realized that having something on the GamePad and looking back and forth between the TV screen and the GamePad actually disrupts the gameplay, and the concentration that the game player may be experiencing," he said. "You have your car's GPS system on your dash. If you had it down in your lap, you're going to get into an accident!"
Indeed what he says is true, but the real issue with the GamePad - and probably why it could be labeled as a failure to begin with - is that what it offers is inconsistent. On paper, the second screen is supposed to offer an extra view and options to play, but in reality the experience that one has with the screen differs greatly depending on what players are trying to do with it.
For example, there was almost nothing wrong with using the GamePad when it came to playing games off the TV screen. In most cases, there is little to no difference between the GamePad and handheld.
On the other hand, its flaws begin to take shape when the gadget is used as a second screen for certain games, primarily because many games in the Wii U library rely on the GamePad to varying degrees.
For instance, on one side of the spectrum is Xenoblade Chronicles X, which requires the GamePad for activities such as navigation, fast travel and the FrontierNav. In fact, that's all the GamePad is used for, so players can rely on the Pro U controller for everything else and simply use the GamePad when they want to access the map.
On the other side of the spectrum is Star Fox Zero, which requires the use of the GamePad screen in various circumstances, most notably when locked onto an enemy in all-range mode. The controls do work, but the second screen only grants players a view from the cockpit, forcing them to constantly look at their television screen in order to get a broader view of the action. Unfortunately, this can often lead to the very situation Aonuma references in his statement: an accident. Crashing into enemies is a very real danger with this required mode of play and it can be costly.
To be fair, it would be easy to question why there are games like Star Fox Zero present if bigwigs at Nintendo were aware of the GamePad's shortcomings. However, in the end, the fact that they're aware of them at all can only mean good things for Nintendo going forward. Just like how Nintendo is hesitant to jump back into VR after the fall of the Virtual Boy, something like the GamePad is unlikely to return until Nintendo finds a way to give players a consistent gaming experience when using it.