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The Wii U GamePad, demonstrated on Thursday by Nintendo’s Bill Trinen, will start at $300.
Friday September 14, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) -- Nin tendo has a knack for changing the course of video games, appealing to the masses from kids to grandparents even if its technology isn’t the most advanced.

The creator of "Mario Bros." and "Donkey Kong" said Thurs day that it will launch its first high-definition gaming console on Nov. 18 in the U.S., later that month in Europe and on Dec. 8 in Japan.

It’s the first major game console to launch in years. But Nintendo is merely catching up on HD with Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp., which began selling their own HD consoles six and seven years ago, respectively. The question is whether a touch-screen tablet controller, coupled with TV-watching features, will be enough to surpass them.

The original Wii console revolutionized gaming and surpassed its rivals not because it had more power or better graphics, but because it gave people a new way to play. Its motion-sensing controller wasn’t the most advanced, but it got people off the couch, swinging virtual tennis rackets, bowling and flailing around in living rooms around the world.

But over the years the novelty faded even as the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 have managed to keep loyal, hardcore gamers enthused with massive shooters and multiplayer features.

The Wii U will start at $300 for a basic model, which is just $50 more than what the Wii initially sold for. For $350, gamers can buy a deluxe version that is black instead of white. The deluxe model will also have a charging stand for its controller, 32 gigabytes of memory instead of 8 and "Nintendo Land," a smorgasbord of 12 popular Nintendo games.