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Associated Press
Nintendo’s Wii U GamePad and console are unveiled Thursday in New York. The console will start at $300 and go on sale in the U.S. on Nov. 18.

Nintendo’s Wii U to launch Nov. 18

– Nintendo 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 last week 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.

Whether the Wii U can bring people back will depend on Nintendo’s ability to lure people in with classic games from “Mario” to “Call of Duty,” entertainment features that go beyond gaming and a price that doesn’t break the bank.

Nintendo first announced plans for the Wii U last year, but it hadn’t disclosed the price or availability date until Thursday.

The Wii U will start at $300 for a basic model, which is just $50 more than what the Wii initially sold for.

Nintendo Co. has been trying to drum up excitement for the Wii U. What sets it apart from other consoles is the tablet-like Wii U GamePad. This controller allows for asymmetrical gameplay, so two or more people can play the same game but have different experiences.

Players can also turn off the TV entirely and play on the GamePad, watching the game on the tablet’s screen and using the controllers on the sides.