I remember November 18th as being a very confusing day. Nintendo released the Wii U in North America, yet there just wasn’t a whisper in the wind about Nintendo’s brand new console. I remember slow clapping for the big N when I heard that the price of the Wii U would fall in the $300 – $350 range, and even giving them the necessary praise for Nintendoland and New Super Mario Bros U, fine games that deserve any and all recognition, and possibly showed a strong launch window for the console. Respectfully, I do not regret my purchase at all, but the Wii U is like dating a girl that’s never watched an episode of Breaking Bad. You really thought it was going somewhere, things were really promising in the beginning, but there just isn’t any chemistry. Here’s why.
#5. Backwards Backward Compatibility
Some of you know that launching a Wii disc on your Wii U is not the smoothest of experiences. Having your system reboot into a type of ROM based mode, while taking upwards of 3 minutes to boot up completely makes you completely regret the fact that you just put Anubis II in your Wii U. Good luck transferring your Virtual Console games to it as well, as you only have the 512kb available memory on the Wii U for Virtual Console storage.
What really disappoints me about the backwards compatibility on the Wii U is the misstep they took with the GamePad support for it. Wouldn’t it have been cool to curl up on the couch, turn on the lamp next to you, and play a classic Wii game like Super Mario Galaxy before bed, and let Nostalgia tuck you in? To play The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword under your coffee table? Play Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the TOILET? Absolutely. But my god, I dream of the day I am able to play Anubis II in the shower. But besides all of that, what really irks me is the resolution parameters for Wii games on the Wii U. 480p? That’s understandable. I don’t expect Nintendo to upscale every single game to its 16:1 size, but having to manually change the aspect ratio of the Wii U to 480p just to play a Wii game? No thanks. I would seriously rather just turn on my Wii.
#4. Sub Par GamePad Innovation
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is an awesome game. Fantastic reviews all across the board, tight game play, and it was simply gorgeous. Some of you may have heard that it does not support the Wii U GamePad. Well, you would be right. It’s very clear that the big N is treating the GamePad advertising the same way as the previous console’s motion based controllers, but with the wands, they showed great support in their games. If Nintendo can’t show support for the GamePad on one of their main first party games, what provides incentive for third party developers to do the same?
Donkey Kong was one of their very first original IPs, and I would imagine it is treated with a very high regard at their offices. I was playing the original Donkey Kong in my Power Rangers underwear after watching Space Jam, which I assume is extremely important for Nintendo to know. More reason the GamePad isn’t being supported as it should? Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai made it clear that he does not intend to use the Wii U GamePad for much, if anything, in the highly anticipated sequel to Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
#3. Minimal Third Party Developer Support
What is something the Xbox and Playstation platforms have in common? That’s right! Batman: Arkham Origins DLC, good job! I’ve heard a lot of reasons why Third Party Developers aren’t hopping onboard the GamePad Paddy Wagon. Underpowered CPU, lack of publisher support, Nintendo’s rigid and strict guidelines for release, among many others. This is, of course, a huge issue for the console. Maybe developers are treating the Wii U as a last generation console, partly due to its graphical power and crippled internet issues. But we need Third Party Developers because I fear the day we never see a sequel to Anubis II.
Nintendo has always relied on its first party games to keep their consoles afloat, and that’s all fine and dandy, but every console needs third party support. Nintendo has been making a push for the support, like getting Bayonetta 2 exclusively on the Wii U, Ninja Gaiden 3, and Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition to name a few. Nintendo is trying to broaden its gaming catalouge, but unfortunately third party developers are falling off the train like that time James Bond got totally shot on that train in Skyfall (That was awesome).
#2. Wow, Miiverse is Terrible
I don’t really have to go into this all too much. Anyone that currently owns a Wii U knows just how confusing Nintendo’s Miiverse truly is. I had my first experience in this confusing universe on the 3DS, because I made the mistake of clicking on that tiny green thumbnail in the upper right corner of the screen. Three minutes in and I was more confused than that time I walked in on my flatmate attempting to recreate that one scene from Grease (Yes, that scene).
Miiverse sports a confusing layout, a barely pieced together network of interaction, and the ability to communicate via message board by plain text or drawings. The layout, I stress, appears incomplete and all over the place. You can post status updates aping Facebook and Twitter, but minutes-in someone “yeahed” (SP) my post, and it felt wrong. But you can draw beautiful pieces of Nintendo brand art! However, let’s just say I didn’t see a lot of “art” on here. Most of it was crudely thrown together pictures of a stick figure Mario and Peach doing it. Because, of course.
#1. Nintendo Has No Clue What the Internet Is
Let’s forget that Xbox Live exists. Let’s wipe The Playstation Network away. Steam? Pretend it’s nonexistent. Now, imagine only having Nintendo’s Online Network as your primary source of communication for all things gaming. Done? Welcome to 2005! Let’s be frank, Nintendo is not caught up with the times when it comes to Internet connectivity.
Friend codes, sparse online features, and a horrible “social network” (Miiverse), keep it from truly competing on even that level with their competitors at Microsoft and Sony. Nintendo does not believe in it, and being the traditional company they are, it doesn’t seem like their minds are going to be changed on that fact any time soon. Now, In some ways it works well, I personally have had an extremely fun experience with Monster Hunter Ultimate for Wii U, but a good 80% of Nintendo’s online presence needs cleaning up. Nintendo’s couch appeal has always been strong, but their internet game? Not so much.