The Nintendo NX is on the horizon for a launch in March 2017. However that fits into the line up being a successor/eventual replacement to the Wii U or a supplimental device, there is still plenty of reason to love the Wii U. Today I want to list the top 10 things I love about my Wii U.
1 – Crisp HD graphics
Yes the specs are mostly on par with the 360 and PS3 generation, but it doesn’t keep it from making beautiful visuals. When plugged into a 1080P TV you are greeted with gorgeous crisp graphics from the home screen. The colors pop and the Windows Areo style glass buttons really stand out. Compared to our 360, the Xbox has a muddy UI which doesn’t nearly shine as bright.
As for games, there isn’t a first party title that hasn’t impressed me. Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Brothers, Super Mario World 3D all pop with color and run at full 1080P(even many at 60FPS). The same can’t be said for other modern consoles with first party games using lower resolution to hit frame rate targets or having frame issues.
2 – Intuitive/Friendly Console OS
The Wii U is a game console first and foremost. Nintendo knows this and I am glad they are tailored to those of us who want to actually play games. The UI is very intuitive and allows you to see all your games in it’s Android/iOS tiled style UI. No ads, no tabs, nothing is buried. A single action will get you to where you want to go.
Additionally the inclusion of the Mii Plaza is great. Showing popular games and those who are playing them. Directly letting me click on users and then be taken to their post on the Miiverse. It’s fun, and the Miiverse is a great place to share your enthusiasm for games but most importantly fan art. What some people can do with the Wii U gamepad is unreal!
3 – Wii U Gamepad Inclusion
Although I mentioned this device in my list of 10 things I would change, honestly it’s not a bad addition. When it’s used appropriately it works fantastic and having a built in tablet controller feels like something that should continue. I hope this continues with the next console as having a drawing space, a touch based keyboard for text entry and a screen available for off TV play are great additions to what consoles can do. Of course, if they could just include a button to enable/disable the screen so it doesn’t chew battery when you are playing on your TV, that would be great too.
4 – Local Multiplayer!
I feel out of the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Wii U, Nintendo seems to be one of the only companies who still cares about couch multiplayer. This is extremely important to me. Why allow multiple controllers to be used on your console if everyone makes games that are single player per console? I love that Nintendo has taken it even further letting up to 5 people play in the New Super Mario Bros games and up to 8(!) in Smash Brothers. That’s insane! Thank you Nintendo for still making games that my wife and friends can play together in the same room.
5 – Backwards Compatibility
I have probably logged more hours playing my back catalog of Wii games on my Wii U than actual Wii U games. I am glad that I didn’t have to keep my Wii around for this. Now I only need to finish those and then buy and play all my Wii U wishlist games before the NX launches….
6 – Virtual Console
This is another area where I have spent a lot of time. I love classic games and although the offering of games in North America is anemic compared to Japan and Europe, I love playing Donkey Kong Country, Mega Man 6, classic Zelda’s and Metroids. It’s great to have these available to play through and relive. This was one of my favorite features of the Wii and I am very happy to have it on the Wii U and 3DS.
7 – System Design/Aesthetics
You can have a Wii U in any color so long as it’s black. Ok, so there was a Zelda one for the Wind Waker remake, oh yeah and the White 8GB console from the launch of the system. Honestly though, lack of colors aside, the Wii U looks good. It’s streamlined edges and glossy surfaces make it really blend in and pop out at the same time. I love looking at it next to my TV. The gamepad is designed to equal appealing. I know some people probably find it ugly, but for me it’s perfect.
8 – Unobtrusive Updates
When was the last time you booted up a console to have it tell you an update was required before you even began to use it? I know our 360 pretty much requires updates just to sign in sometimes. Othertimes games won’t launch if an update is available. Setting me back valuable game time. Sure if you want to play online it makes sense that you need the update. This is why I like Nintendo’s model. You can choose when to install the updates and it’s not forced! If I want a quick play some offline game I can and it will only force updates when it’s needed. It also updates the system when I don’t use it which is nice. The Wii did that too, but sadly the 360 does not, forcing us to see many updates when we don’t play frequently enough.
9 – Reliability
You know what my Wii U has never done? Frozen. Yep, it’s a rock solid experience. It used to be more common that things just worked, but somewhere in the last generation the ball was dropped and other systems found ways of locking up. System updates could cause issues and games, oh boy, the patches! Yes, being that exploits and hackers are abound and in the console space, patches are unavoidable. However all updates for the Wii U have either given additional functionality or fixed issues I never suffered and never gave me new issues.
Oh not to mention Nintendo hardware tends to live forever. I have only had a single Wavebird get a loose C stick from multiple hundreds of hours of play and it still works well enough. Unlike other consoles where controllers seem to last a handful of years if you’re lucky. Piece of mind is a wonderful thing.
10 – First Party Titles
Of course this had to make the list. What is Nintendo without their games? Mario Kart 8, Smash Brothers, New Super Mario Bros, and all the backwards compatible and Virtual Console games. There is something to be said about the care and polish Nintendo does to their games. It’s something I have yet to see anyone do anywhere else. Nintendo’s games are what I love most about their consoles.