So, you want to be an artist? It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be expensive. It’s going to leave you homeless, bewildered, and missing your left ear. That is, unless you want to do it on your Nintendo Wii. A near ridiculous notion, THQ games might have actually developed a functional and virtual artistic studio for Nintendo’s little console that could. Described as a “first of its kind,” THQ’s uDraw GameTablet is an up and coming peripheral for the Wii that acts as a motion-controlled virtual paintbrush and canvas. It works in conjunction with a series of programs also developed by THQ, which include: uDraw Studio, Pictionary, and Dood’s Big Adventure. An all-encompassing set of programs, Executive Vice President, THQ Kids, Family, Casual Games and Global Online Services, Martin Good boasts:
“We’ve designed the uDraw GameTablet to offer something for everyone: the kids can doodle, save their creations on an SD-Card and print their artwork for display on the refrigerator. Students can improve their skills through in-game tutorial lessons. And the whole family can sit down together for family game time with products like Pictionary.”
It’s interesting to see a developer take the idea of casual gaming a step beyond gaming itself and into purely interactive entertainment — but is the product solely for entertainment?
Recently, THQ released a video demonstration with artist, David Kassan. The video was simple enough for just about anyone to follow, but hard to believe nonetheless. Kassan illustrates, in real-time, a portrait of an unnamed man using the GameTablet in conjunction with the uDraw Studio program. In the earlier stages, the work almost looks as if it were on Microsoft Paint, but after Kassan’s initial steps it is impossible to not be impressed by the power of the program. Kassan manages to create a portrait that is not only rich in color but also deep in tone and perspective.
Does this mark a new era in the way the artist creates? Will this bring all you bewildered wanna-be artists out of the closet? And why isn’t Nintendo, the leading force in interactive innovation, the one to claim this accomplishment? According to Steve Singer, the Vice-President of Licensing for Nintendo of America:
“We are impressed with THQ’s innovative design and focus on bringing a new gameplay experience to the Wii…” He goes on to say, “Nintendo is committed to providing fun and unique experiences and THQ’s uDraw GameTablet seems destined to continue that trend.”
Although Nintendo had limited success with its own artistic titles in the past (*Cough*, Mario Paint *Cough*) if THQ’s GameTablet garners enough success with the mainstream we all might live to see a WiiPaint or WiiCasso perhaps? Ridiculous and slightly offensive speculation aside, be on the lookout for the uDraw GameTablet peripheral and its three-adjoining titles this holiday season.