Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wii U: The Best Nintendo Console Yet

Salmonella, Off Screen Play, and Timeless Games

We crowned the 3DS best system of this generation!  We also determined the very best games on Nintendo's handheld. Now, Matt McCrery tells us why the Wii U may just be the best system period.

Nintendo Through and Through

Let me preface this by saying that I am a Nintendo loyalist.  I don’t own Sony or Microsoft Consoles and if I’m at a friend’s house who does own them, I always make a joke about having to put on gloves before I touch the controller.   I’ve bought every console the big N has put out on day one since the NES.  So I don’t have to know anything about the NX, they’ve already got my money, but to be honest, when I slide my credit card and watch them bag up my new console part of me will feel different than I usually feel in that exciting moment.  Why?  Because for my money, the Wii U is the BEST console I’ve ever owned.

The Wii U Is Ahead of Its Time

So Misunderstood
It’s easy to be down on Nintendo right now.  The Wii U sold less than its competitors, launched with an underwhelming marketing campaign (Is the gamepad just an accessory to the Wii? Is it a handheld?) and had major issues in acquiring support from third party game developers.  All of this has led to the announcement of the mysterious Nintendo NX, which will ultimately drive the stake through the heart of the Wii U sooner than a typical console’s life expectancy.  

A control interface about to be perfected by the NX?

Normally, if I tell an associate or a relative that I played the Wii U all weekend, the response I get is, “What’s that?”  Really?  After four years, people still haven’t heard of it?  So if you quantify success or failure based on all of these characteristics, then yes, Nintendo screwed up.  While it really hurts to even type that sentence, the good news is, I, like many others (yes they are out there) don’t quantify failure in that way.  I’ll give you a three word example: The Hurt Locker.

The Hurt Locker is a 2008 film based on an Iraq War bomb disposal team starring Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie.  The film had a worldwide box office take of less than $50 million.  If you want to quantify success in terms of the box office haul, the next movie starring Hawkeye and Falcon (Captain America: Civil War), due out May 6th, will probably rake in over a billion worldwide.  The thing is, The Hurt Locker won the Oscar for Best Picture.  It won because it’s brilliant, not because people went to see it.  The Wii U is my Hurt Locker.

Wii U is the Best Medicine

On November 18, 2012, I was on day four of severe Salmonella poisoning, which is pretty horrible, and something that I wouldn’t recommend.  Still, I sucked up every bit of energy I had left to travel to the store at midnight to pick up my new Wii U.  I couldn’t even play it when I got back home.  I was that sick, but it didn’t stop me from forcing my wife to play through every game in
Nintendo Land so I could at least see it from my spot of despair on the couch.  I took solace in her smiles that night that the Wii U was going to be great.  Just about the time I started to recover, my console started to experience technical difficulties, forcing me to send it back to Nintendo for a week to have it repaired.  Side note, Nintendo’s customer service is top of the line and they really treated me more than fair during the entire process.  It really reaffirmed my love for the company.

Donkey Kong is Too Cool

That first month and a half was a rocky start and could have easily tainted my experience with the console, but it didn’t, and I don’t think anything ever could.  The minute that repaired system landed on my doorstep a new love affair was born.  I LOVE the gamepad.  I love that when my wife wants to watch Teen Mom I can pop in my headphones and play Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze right there on the couch.  Yet, I love the fact that if I want to leave the room I can still play.  Yes, I have played Yoshi’s Wooly World in the bathroom.  Why not?  For games that actually incorporated the two screen experience, I couldn’t get enough.  Sure, I died many times while trying to change out my weapons in Zombie U on the game pad, that’s what makes it great.  If I was in a real Zombie Apocalypse
The Infamous ZomiU
and decided to look through my backpack for a Kit-Kat at an inopportune time, chances are I could get bit.  Then, there are the games.  Nintendo has never had a shortage of great games, but this system is hit after hit.  Mario Kart 8? Sm4sh? Pikmin 3? Splatoon?  Let’s not forget Mario Maker, which even my two-year old can play, and play well.  Wii U still has the greatest first party lineup of any current console, with many of the games mentioned winning best racing, best shooter and best fighter awards respectively.  

Super Mario Maker: The Best Bundle Ever
From the games, to the two screen experience, to the Amiibo’s, I have never had this much fun with a Nintendo console, and trust me, I’ve experienced over 30 years of Nintendo greatness.  I only wish more people would have given this system a chance.  Nintendo took a risk when they went the route of the Wii and the Wii U, but without risk we would never have anything new and unique.  Soon my Wii U will be relegated to my basement (like the Wii before it), to make room for the NX.  I trust the company to have my best interest at heart as they move forward because they always have.  Nintendo hasn’t let me down thus far, and despite what you may read on message boards or hear from “industry experts” they didn’t let me down with the Wii U.  So when we as Nintendo fans look back 15 years from now, I hope we can all think fondly of the Wii U and its place in the historic Nintendo timeline and remember that sometimes the beauty is in the attempt. 

Is Matt right?  Is the Wii U the best console yet?  Let us know in the comments!   

Matt McCrery is an author and avid gamer.  When he isn’t writing a new novel you can usually find him sending seekers through Walleye Warehouse, yelling at his Mii to drive faster or trying to hide in the corner and hold that special flag for three long seconds.  You can follow his antics on Twitter or buy his books on Amazon.

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  1. I'm a PC junkie so my money always ends up with Microsoft, but my heart breaks every second knowing that Link is out there not saving his princess because I don't have a Wii U.

    1. Hey better late than never! Twilight Princess HD comes out this Friday for the Wii U. Seems as good a time as any to jump back into consoles. :D

      It's amazing how we Nintendo franchises always seem to pull at us, no matter how much later in life we come back into contact with them. Mario, Zelda, Metroid, DK, Star Fox... these characters have such a huge place in our childhood.