E3 2011: Measure Up Preview Hands-On

We draw lines and measure our results in this mathematical tech demo for the Nintendo Wii U.

Competitive line drawing? It sounds like an abysmal idea. To settle your grudges in the digital realm, you need to shoot your opponent in the head. Or you might deliver a devastating hurricane kick or toss a red turtle shell at his tailpipe. Those are the kinds of experiences you expect from a video game. But drawing a 45-degree angle? Scribbling a circle with a one-inch diameter? You have to be joking. Well, it turns out that there is a game out there (or a least a prototype of one) that includes these mathematical tests, and it's actually quite fun. Who knew? We got a chance to show off our geometric might with the power of the Wii U today and came away feeling like we were 100cm tall.

A rose would still smell as sweet if it were called "stinkweed," but sometimes it's nice to have a descriptive name to guide you along. Measure Up doesn't leave much to the imagination. You literally have to "measure up" against your opponent to see who is the best measurer around. This tech demo uses the U Tab alone (no Wii Remotes here), and the two players pass the controller back and forth between rounds. The concept is excessively simple. A command is issued, such as "draw a triangle with 5cm sides" and you try to fulfill the objective as close as possible. At the end of the round, you see how close you came and receive points based on your efforts.

Measure Up conjures the competitive fires in surprising ways. It's one thing to lose in a game of Mario Kart. "That blue shell is cheap!" is a great excuse, so you can come up short and still hold your head up high. But drawing a 3cm line when you were supposed to draw one that was 10cm long? That's just embarrassing. And it's that push to prove your scholastic worth that makes this little game so darn fun. We may not be whiz kids in geometry, but getting super-close to the correct measurement is immensely satisfying.

Like the other experiences being shown for the Wii U, Measure Up is not a game at this point. But it is a neat use for the system. The stylus controls work just as well as you'd find on the Nintendo DS, and it's just fun to prove your worth in a field usually so far away from typical games. Keep your eyes on GameSpot for more information on Measure Up when it becomes available.

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