Shield Pose is a rhythm game tech demo for the Wii U shown at E3 2011.  This demo was single player and took advantage of the Wii U controller’s motion sensing capabilities as well as the ability to use the new controller’s screen to look at different areas within the game world.

The game would show a pirate ship on the TV screen with a crazy looking pirate.  If a player were to hold the Wii U controller up to the TV screen they would see that pirate ship on the screen, but it would be further away.  So the image on the Wii U controller was more like a first person view of the action, while the TV screen was a zoomed in perspective.

If the player were to move the controller to face to the left or right side of the TV screen, they would notice that there were two other pirate ships on each side of the initial one.  These ships couldn’t be seen on the TV screen at all and if a player wanted to interact with them they would HAVE to do so by looking at them with the Wii U controller.  The same thing goes if the player wanted to look up, where they would see the moon above the initial centered pirate ship.

The demo would give players a quick tutorial on these movements and more.  The objective of Shield Pose is to block incoming sticky arrows from the pirate ship, or ones fired high from the move, in rhythm to the music.  The pirate would tell you either Center (for the center ship), right (for the ship on the right), left (for the ship on the left), or over (for arrows fired high so to look up at the moon).  After each volley of arrows the player would have to flick the Wii U controller down to get the arrows off the shield.

The game starts off each with just one or more arrows coming from one direction.  Then combos would start up with arrows coming from various directions such as Left, Center, Over.

The game would warn you when to lift your shield up by saying “Hey Come On!” when the shield/Wii U controller needed to be picked up or placed in the position where the first arrows would be coming from.  When it was time to flick those arrows off, by thrusting the Wii U controller down, the game would say, “And Down!”

At the end of the demo it would ask you to shake the Wii U controller around as fast as you could.  This effectively charged up a blast that the player could attack the pirate ship with.  To attack the user had to thrust the Wii U controller from their chest at the screen, which was very satisfying.

The demo was fun and the demonstrator, Shaun O’Neil, was incredible.  He was getting into the game with me, dancing and pointing to the directions I needed to turn to, and was offering advice that is seldom heard from anyone working booths at E3.

I’m not sure if we will ever see Shield Pose again but it was a great showcase for the motion controls and the way the Wii U screen can offer a new view into a game world.

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