An Apology/Love Letter to Nintendo and the Wii U

I want to open this up with an apology to Nintendo. Then I’m going be long winded as to why I’m saying sorry thus adding to the dramatic flair of the overall blog post. It’s a thing; I looked it up.
The Wii U launched on November 18th, 2012 and like most Nintendo systems it was a dramatic departure from the more “traditional” consoles. For those that might not remember the main difference was the GamePad; a controller with a touchscreen in the center. It was an interesting idea and the media was fairly excited to see what this little system could do.  While it received pretty decent reviews initially the general conscious was it lacked two thing; third-party support and overall focus.
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The Gamepad, as revolutionary as it was, was weird. Nintendo wasn’t very forthcoming with information at first. Developers weren’t too excited about redesigning their games to work around it. Not only that, the Wii U was underpowered compared to the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. This was fine for first party titles designed specifically for the Wii U, but porting games from the other consoles was challenging or impossible. A few stand out third party titles like Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Rayman Legends were kicked around and were just as fund as you would expect them to be. However, you could get those games on the other consoles so it wasn’t much of a draw.
On top of all that the worst thing to happen to the Wii U (in my humble opinion) was the marketing. See, there’s a strategy that most gaming companies use to promote their hardware that a lot of people don’t realize. In order to hook in the younger crowd you don’t put younger kids in the commercials. If you show older kids playing a game younger kids will assume it’s the cool thing to do and follow suit. Parents (that aren’t gamers themselves) are just waiting to hear which console the kid wants so they can buy it. If you can convince the younger crowd that your console is “cool” you’re in. The Wii U failed to do that with poor marketing that focused around little kids and accessibility. It made the console look, for the lack of a better way of saying it, boring.
The Wii U came and went and most people remember it as a failed console, and that’s exactly what it was. The Switch, Nintendo’s current console, sold 14.86 million units as of January of 2018. That’s in less than a year of being on the market (March 2017). While that alone is pretty impressive it’s also a little depressing for the Wii U. In its six year life span the Wii U sold a total of 13.56 million units before Nintendo pulled the plug in the same month. It only took a year for the Switch to outsell a six year old console.
It’s 2018, the Switch is killing it in sales, and the Wii U has been forgotten for the most part. That, or course, didn’t stop me from buying one a great deal. A friend of mind recently bought a Switch and had no use for his Wii U. For a 32GB Zelda edition Wii U, with three Wiimotes and 20 games I paid $40. I don’t care if you hated the Wii U with a passion, you can’t deny how great of a deal that was. A Wii U (non-Zelda edition) used goes for about $150 at GameStop and most of the games are still over $40 each. I couldn’t pass it up.
I hooked the console up to my living room TV proceeded to factory reset the thing to start fresh. After the initial setup of the console I created a Mii (Nintendo’s avatar/profile pic equivalent) and I was good to go. Well, I thought I was until the Wii U calmly explained that it required some system updates. After the Wii U was updated and ready to go I poked around the interface a bit. It seemed easy to figure out and was a lot faster than I thought the aged console would be capable of pulling off. I finally grabbed a game and threw it in.
The first game I tried was Super Mario 3D World and let me tell you, I had a blast. Not only was the game gorgeous to look at but the controls and mechanics were perfect. I forgot how fluid first party Nintendo games always were and immediately felt like I had been missing out on something special.  Next my son wanted to try Mario Maker so I switched the disc. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him have that much fun with the Xbox One or PS4 (both in my house) before.
The biggest shock/joy was when four of my children played Super Mario 3D World together. They had some serious fun and didn’t argue with each other like so many Halo matches. It was the same pure joy I remembered when I first played the NES or SNES. It was amazing to see again. I quickly realized the Wii U wasn’t as bad as everyone had been leading on. I immediately felt bad for not buying it when it was in production.
To come back to the first statement I made, I’m sorry Nintendo. I jumped on the “make fun of the Wii U” train without giving it a chance. Dismissing the console as a silly toy for kids and complained that Nintendo was forgetting about their core demographic. I didn’t realize, like so many others, that they found a way to make a gaming console that both catered to old school gamers and the new. For whatever reason they didn’t get the message across to us in a way that we could realize what we were missing. The biggest takeaway for me from this experience is I’m back in the Nintendo camp. I will be purchasing a Switch as soon as possible.
Welcome back to my life Nintendo, I should have never sent you away. Now you can bring as much joy to my children as you did when I was their age.

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