Published on February 10th, 2014 | by Darren Bolton

Nintendo! Hey, Listen! – Wara Wara Plaza

Nintendo listen BannerWhen the Wii U was fully announced people were curious about the plaza, Wara Wara Plaza as it was known in Japan (and then subsequently the world over). Game tiles filled the screen and groups of people from all over the world surrounded them, each displaying their latest comment about that game. It was a typically Nintendo way to be social and promote the various titles on the system. It seemed pretty cute, if a little pointless.

Am I the only one who now detests the Plaza? It is the biggest waste of space on any OS I can think of, and I mean it’s literally a waste of space. Am I the only who doesn’t care what random people think about Super Mario U? Occasionally you’ll get a funny comment, or an interesting picture, but surely this could be infinitely more interesting, and more importantly, useful?! When the console takes an age to load miiverse, or access messages, or even the friends list, surely the plaza could be a perfect social hub for the things we care about? I propose completely revamping the plaza.

Wii-U-WaraWara-Plaza-and-Wii-U-Chat-wiiu-pro-2-1024x572The plaza should be a hub for miiverse and genuine social interaction with the service and the console. That would be much better than the pointless drivel we get fed currently, it just feels so detached which I feel is the opposite of what the aim of the service is.

Currently there are 10 game tiles, let’s stick with that design for simplicity but reduce it to 6 so there is room to breathe on the screen. Rather than having random people talking about random games, I would use each section to look at YOUR miiverse. Here is how I imagine the six groups to work.

1. Whoever is online at that moment, they could be holding up the game they are playing; if Nintendo introduce the ‘jump in online option’ from the 3DS and it could be an instant way to hop into your friends Mario Kart game for example.

2. A group of all the mii’s who have  instant messaged me, maybe  the last 10 I have received

3. A group of all the latest replies I have had on any of my posts (not “yeahs”)

4. Presuming they add the TAGS I mentioned in last weeks article, I would have a group of the “achievements” my friends have posted

5. Like above, high-scores my friends have tagged

6. Game challenges my friends have set

With the last two having the ability to hyperlink straight to the challenge.

This for me would be incredibly exciting, I would be obsessed with the plaza, and in turn miiverse too. What are my friends playing, what are they achieving, what high scores; what messages and replies do I have? For me, this would be the perfect hub and get me more involved with miiverse, the Wii U and the software in general. One of the ideas of miiverse is to raise awareness of games; what would make you play Nintendoland more, some random person saying “I LOVE IT”, or someone setting a high-score on Donkey Kong’s Crash Course?

I realise this is MY ideal plaza, which is why some customisation  would be absolutely perfect. Maybe you love Mario 3D world and you want one of your tiles to be that game and random comments. Maybe you want random challenges and not from friends. Maybe you love Miiverse pictures and want a group of just pictures (which have been tagged). Fine. But ultimately, having the plaza SERVE the player would make for a much better service.

The plaza should also be more “live”. I’m sick of seeing comments from days ago, and the “Game I’m Playing” being something I haven’t touched for a week. Make it as instant as possible. Pretty much every online-enabled device we have now is instant – our messages are instant, we get notified instantly when someone challenges us on games our smart phones, or has sent us a video on our PS4’s. The Wii U is so archaic in this regard, and waiting 30 seconds to access our friends list is and being unable to do much while we are there is incredibly frustrating.

From a technical stand point I don’t know what is and isn’t possible, but I do feel the plaza could be a better window into our Wii U.

Here are some smaller things that would also be excellent editions:

– Quick post to miiverse from the game tiles/groups
– Instant message friends from the plaza
– If you click on a person, show their message, not their profile (an extra click for this); isn’t the point to see miiverse posts?
– filter who we see in the plaza – friends, regional, world wide. Maybe even “frequency” options

Do you like the plaza? What would you like to see from the plaza, the hub into Miiverse and the Wii U?

This is part of a series of articles on looking at where Nintendo should go
Wii Sports

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