Wii U Launch From the Sidelines

The main reason I held off on the 3DS when it first launched was because none of its launch lineup interested me. I wasn’t sold on the thing until I played a kiosk demo of Super Mario 3D Land. I wouldn’t say the Wii U is in exactly the same situation for me but… well kinda.

I might even be trying to get one if I wasn’t trying to build a new computer, or land myself an iPad mini. From what I’ve seen, despite the level of negativity on certain forums, the Wii U at launch looks pretty good compared to most new platform launches.

I watched a couple of livestreams showing off the OS and a few games and at the very least I like the look of eShop and I’m interested in the implications of MiiVerse. For once a console launches and I’d be able to buy just about every one of its interesting exclusives digitally. MiiVerse, as I’ve speculated in previous posts, actually seems like a slickly-designed social network wholly contained in a console – something pretty much unseen.

The middling hardware reviews mean literally nothing to me because I have no metric to put them up against. So The Verge gave the hardware a 6.5. What’s a nine out of 10, or 10 out of 10 piece of hardware?

I can tell you what I felt when I tried out the controller a couple weeks ago, for those who still haven’t. I can tell you that I like the D pad and face buttons a lot – they remind me of the DS Lite pad and buttons which is a very good thing if you ask me. Even the start and select buttons felt great. The touch screen quality-wise lies somewhere between the 3DS bottom screen and an iPhone, which makes sense considering the entire console costs less money than an unsubsidized iPhone.

My only issue is that the controller is so wide that having my fingers on all four shoulder buttons makes it a bit uncomfortable for my thumbs to reach the pad and face buttons. That’s mainly due to the stick placement though, which is the opposite of the PS3 controller’s.

Game-wise, if there’s one reason I would be feeling “left out” by not owning a Wii U yet, it would be New Super Mario Bros. U. That’s kind of strange considering how bad I am at 2D Mairo games and the backlog I have with them (pretty much… all of the main ones). There’s just something very “Nintendo” about being able to buy the console on launch day and start playing classic Mario on it. Maybe it’s the fact I haven’t been able to do that since 1991.

I know a lot of people complain about how each New Super Mario Bros. game has been more of the same, but honestly, I still want to play them. To me it’s one of those franchises that will remain interesting as long as the developers keep providing me with new level design under the same rules. This is probably because the guys making the games still have credibility as exceptional level designers. To me, that’s what ultimately matters.

After the dust has settled on that game though, what is there other than enjoying NintendoLand with your family and possibly playing ZombiU (of which I’ve heard good things)? I still fail to find a situation where the 3rd party ports (which I hear are fairly sloppy) are appealing.

This is why I think the Wii U will look like a much better investment by April 2013. The system’s launch lineup is probably better than most in gaming history, but it ain’t no Dreamcast. By April we should have Rayman, Pikmin 3, possibly Wii Fit U (I honestly want to play that), and most importantly Hideki Kamiya’s The Wonderful 101. In comparison, I think that looks better than the first year of the Xbox 360 or the PS3.


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