Wii U: The Little Console That Could

The Nintendo Wii U, a controversial topic in the world of gaming. Where do I begin? I only just recently jumped on the Wii U bandwagon, after debating over whether or not I wanted to spend the money on it since it’s release in 2012. Now, as a proud owner of a shiny new Wii U, I’m really beginning to notice the level of hatred directed towards the Wii U from the wider gaming community, both online and in conversations with people. So I have decided to take up arms for the Wii U and discuss what makes it a great little console.

Wii U whiteThe number one thing that makes the Wii U something a bit special is the games. Nobody makes games quite like Nintendo. It’s the games that sold the Wii U for me.  Whether it be The Legend of Zelda or Mario, deep down everyone has a Nintendo game that they love to bits. They are wonderful, feel good games, they’re such fun to play. The Wii U has been a little lacking in the choice of titles released to date, but there are a bunch of new games on the way for the Wii U in 2014 – Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Bayonetta 2 and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Personally, I’m still waiting for a new HD Zelda game for the Wii U, make it happen Nintendo. Another bonus with the Wii U in terms of games is that the Wii U allows you to play your old Wii games, unlike the other consoles out there with no backwards compatibility. All you need to do is sync a Wii remote to your Wii U and you’re ready to play. A lot of the game related complaints I’ve been seeing online is the lack of third party support for the Wii U. I’m sure most Wii U owners also own another console. I am content to play third party games on any of my other consoles, so that’s not an issue for someone like myself who owns a PS3, XBox 360 and a PS4. The Wii U definitely wouldn’t cut it as a lone console for a serious gamer but it works well it’s a companion with other consoles. I still firmly believe a Wii or Wii U is the best console for families and kids. Children shouldn’t be playing Call of Duty. Children should be getting to know and love Mario and the rest of the Nintendo crew.

On to the gamepad. I have a controller with a touch screen in it! I can control my television with it! I can use it to switch my TV off then continue playing on the gamepad without forking out any extra cash (eg. PS4 + PS Vita), what’s not to love!? Okay, so it’s bulky, feels a little weird to hold at first due to the size of it, the constructions feels somewhat cheap – it would be must nicer if it was made from the same kind of plastic as the 3DS XL, but once you get used to all of those things, it’s pretty fun. As someone who has to wear glasses at all times, I found the gamepad a little irritating due to the light from the screen causing some glare, but that’s only a small, personal niggle. But if you also wear glasses, it’s something to keep in mind. Another complaint to mention is the battery life. Sure, it isn’t great. But perhaps the short battery life should be a sign – when the battery dies get off your butt and go outside!

I picked up the 8GB version for $249 on sale bundled with Skylanders Swap Force, that’s $99 slashed from the original marked price. I probably would not have paid $348 for it. And I definitely would not part with $428 for the 32GB model. That’s madness when $548 can buy you a Playstation 4. Shoppers aren’t going to give the Wii U a second glance when you can pick up a 500GB Playstation 3 for $20 more, a console which has very similar hardware and has a much, much larger library of games. The price really lets the Wii U down. If you can find the Wii U on sale, or pick up a good preowned console, then jump on it. But it isn’t good value for money at the regular price.

If you look at the Wii U as a stand alone console and forget about any of the competitors, it’s a lot of fun and it is going to get even better in 2014 as the new games hit the shelves. But comparing the Wii U to next gen consoles isn’t a fair comparison. The critics are being far too hard on Nintendo. Take a moment to appreciate all the wonderful things Nintendo have given gamers over the years. A Nintendo NES, SNES or Nintendo 64 was probably the first console for anyone under the age of 30 reading this. Have a little faith, grab a Wii U and start playing without comparing it to your PS4 or XBox One. You’re just ripping yourself off by doing that. Enjoy the awesome Nintendo software for what it is – a serious amount of fun. Set aside Battlefield 4 or Call of Duty: Ghosts or Assassins Creed IV and set off on an adventure with Mario or Link. You can thank me later.