Wii U (2012)

Following another crazy Christmas season, some of us may have found ourselves with a little extra cash as a result of working the most undesirable shifts of the entire working year. For me, that happened to be Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, Australia Day and the ever so joyous New Years Eve. However, nothing dulls the pain of not being able to kick back with a beer over the holiday season quite like splurging on a new console. Since I got my Wii U on Christmas day and have picked up some new titles, I thought it was time I sat down and talked a little bit about the console, its software and its potential.

First of all, I am a big fan of the console itself. Like many gaming fanatics, I opted for the 32GB model. This particular version comes with a few extras that aren’t included with the 8gb model, such as a sensor bar and the pack-in title Nintendoland. I was really happy to see Nintendo finally making the shift into a world of HD compatibility by including a HDMI cable. While this may seem like a no-brainer, we are talking about a company that started shipping consoles with RCA cables in 1996 and thought, “This seems good. Lets go with this for another 16 years.”

The Wii U’s release also marks another milestone for Nintendo and their attempts to integrate alternative controlling techniques into gaming. While it still shows glimpses of the Wii’s motion controls, the Wii U’s games revolve heavily around the new tablet controller. While it takes a little bit of getting used to, the tablets design is great. The hardware is sturdy and is easily rechargeable using the dock that is included with the system. This is a huge plus, as I can only imagine the amount of AA’s that this touch-screen-touting controller would chew through in a few hours of gaming. The touch screen, while it doesn’t recognize multiple touches or gestures at the one time, is still well implemented and reminiscent of the tried and true DS screen.

The large criticism that was put forth by many gamers who bought the console upon release was the large, several-hour-long system update that commenced when first booting up the console. While updates were needed, they where miniscule in comparison to the day 1 update.

During my initial set-up I found that a few questions that I had about the console were promptly answered. While I was aware of the systems backwards compatibility with Wii software, I was still in limbo about hardware compatibility. Since I had bought my original Wii shortly after its release, I was still in possession of my original, non-motion plus bearing Wii remotes. Luckily, the Wii U still recognizes these controllers and still allows for the use of the Wii Motion Plus peripheral when needed. The initial set up walks you through creating a Mii, an online account and even setting up the game tablet as a secondary TV remote.

This whole experience made for one of the simplest setups of any console that I have owned. The setup is simple and the onscreen prompts walk the user through every step of the process. Nintendo has always managed to cater to the first time user and the Wii U does just that in terms of ease of setup and use. While the hardware is solid and the setup is easy, this does not maketh the console. Since it’s announcement at E3, the console was boasted to reform the relationship between Nintendo and the hardcore gamer. However, the fastest way to a gamer’s heart is through the consoles software…