Nintendo just announced a new console and touchscreen controller taking their groundbreaking Wii gaming system up a notch. The new Wii U looks kind of like a regular Wii with a Nintendo DS as a controller, and the resemblance is not incidental. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata announced that the new console would offer games like Smash Brothers that could be played across platforms with unique experiences on the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U. A golf game demo showed a regular Wii controller being swung like a golf club while the new touchscreen Wii U controller, on the ground, shows the ball being hit and leaving a divot. Unlike every other Nintendo gaming system, the console also supports HD video. Like the original Wii, the new console will also play games from past consoles, downloadable online.

Tuesday's console unveiling at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles comes on the heels several less than positive episodes for Nintendo. The hotly anticipated Nintendo 3DS has sold poorly so far. A hacking incident on Thursday may dashed some optimism over the upgrade to the 3DS that was announced the same day. Sales have also slumped for the flagship Wii system, though as it was already six years old, many gamers likely and correctly expected an upgrade this year.

The press conference announcing the Wii U ended without any details of price or release day, though The Wall Street Journal reports the audience seeming excited about previews of games that include classics like Mario and Zelda:

There may be a couple disappointed over the fact that [Mario and Zelda creator] Shigeru Miyamoto did not storm the stage in costume, but all in all, a great event.  Old school fans should be happy about upcoming games featuring Zelda and Mario.  And no doubt the kids can rest easy knowing that there is a new Pokemon in the works.

PS. If you're looking for Wii U reviews, The Guardian's preview works just fine.

(image via Reuters)