By Chloe Barrett
On my twelfth birthday, I asked for a Wii U as my present. The console was being advertised on the TV almost every day, and if you stepped into a game shop you were greeted with a colourful display full of Wii U exclusive games. As a young kid, I was delighted with the console. Whether it was my friends coming over to play some party games on it or me just happily anticipating new releases, I got a lot of fun from the console. However, it did not exactly go down as Nintendo’s best invention, some have even called it their worst.
After Nintendo’s phenomenal success following the numerous DS consoles and the fan favourite original Wii, they tried to expand on their selection. What about a system that you could play on the TV but also as a portable gamepad? No, not the Switch! The Wii U. Maybe in 2012 the idea was too advanced, because Nintendo did not deliver. Or perhaps they waited too long to release the console that was frequently marketed as the successor to the Wii as many of the players gravitated towards other brands in the six years.
Some of the common critiques about the system are very understandable ones. The portability factor was a disappointment to many. While the Wii U console was plugged in and you had the gamepad in your hands, you could play games on it. But that was providing you did not move too far away from the console whilst playing. If you walked away, the game would lose connection and be unplayable until you returned to the room where the console was situated. It was not portable! The heavy, clunky gamepad was also not a desirable device to be carrying around even if it was portable, nor was the appearance of it particularly appealing. It had some capability with certain games, but many did not utilise it, essentially making it useless to some degree. The 3DS consoles happened to be still selling and new models were being released years after the Wii U . As a result of that, both consoles shared some titles. Looking back on it, the console was just not on the same level as the previous systems.
However, the console did of course have some positives. For example, the option of playing original Wii games easily on the Wii U was great. Many of the bestselling games had been reduced at that point, so you could pick up some real bargains to play. There was a huge library when you consider all of the previous releases and the new Wii U additions over the years. Many games also had remakes developed for the Wii U. The HD Zelda games were a fantastic surprise and almost worth buying the console for, especially as the price had dramatically lowered over the years. The online system was a big hit too. It was free, and you could join the Miiverse platform to talk to gamers, which has unfortunately since been shut down. Overall, the Wii U also had improved graphics and gameplay features, it was a genuinely fun console to play on. The Switch is sometimes declared as what the Wii U was supposed to be, and it is true in many aspects. But, if the Wii U was never released, perhaps we would not have the new, successful model that many adore. It might not have been a great console, but I still have good memories of it.