The Wii U has been launched with some lackluster sales, especially when compared to, well, anything else. The “tablet” gimmick is obvious with the controller with a screen on it. It looks like a Leapster pad. Nintendo was obviously hoping to prey off the “every 9 year old wants an iPad nowadays” mentality, and I can’t really blame them, but at the same time, it was an incredibly juvenile and erroneous move. Why is that? Let’s see…
First and foremost, they continue to lag behind in power for a modern console, and to clarify, I’ve never been one to really care for how “powerful” a console is, but for Nintendo, the “casual gaming” demographic isn’t the one they should be pandering to, but I’ll get to that later. The Wii U is a fairly underpowered console – sure it can make Mario and pals look kind of nifty, but in the end, it’s a small leap from the Wii in terms of power, and in a market where Sony consoles can replicate vaginas and Microsoft consoles will beat off your eyes and clean up after it, Nintendo really needed to step up their game, not necessarily for the players, but for the developers, who are having trouble creating/porting their games to the Wii U because of either the lack of processing power, or the convoluted programming environment.
Secondly, Nintendo’s reliance on gimmicks is getting a bit old. The 3DS is cool, I’ll be honest, but 99.9% of the time, I guarantee you that you have that 3D slider set to OFF. There are some great games for it, as Nintendo has always excelled in the handheld market, but the Wii U’s tablet controller is, quite frankly, pants-on-head stupid. As mentioned above, it’s an obvious attempt at quickly cashing in on the “tablet craze,” which is this thing where people thing that these slabs of glass with touch screens are so amazing and cool with all of their “apps,” when in reality, they should have just built a proper desktop PC, but then again, these are the people who are okay with impulse buying a $600 tablet, so I can’t shed much of a tear for them.
Their worst misstep has been something of an issue since the Gamecube and Wii – the first party games aren’t good enough quality to get Nintendo’s hardcore fans interested. The “New Super Mario Bros.” series is tired and repetitive – each iteration being the same exact thing than the last, with a few minor tweaks and some new worlds. Skyward Sword was relatively fun, but the whole thing with the Wiimote got tiring after a while, and at the end of the day, it was a generic and repetitive Zelda title. Mario Kart Wii was monotonous, and again, another big ball of the SAME SHIT AS BEFORE. Now, they’ve got an HD remake of Wind Waker coming to Wii U. Why Wind Waker you ask? Who the knows, because if they wanted to guarantee I’d be buying a Wii U, they could have remade “A Link to The Past,” and I’d have mailed them a signed, blank, check. What about all of the other fantastic IP’s that Nintendo has access to that could draw in their REAL market? Star Tropics, Donkey Kong/Country, Excitebike, Ice Climber, F-Zero (YES!), Mario Kart, Star Fox, Kirby, Metroid, and so on and so forth. ALL of those games done properly with innovation and new stories to be told, could have completely rejuvenated Nintendo and brought them back to the forefront of the gaming world, but instead they make shitty ports and reboots of the aforementioned for their handheld systems and completely ignore their home consoles, all while filling shelves with overpriced shovelware that’ll end up in bargain bins anyway.
I can appreciate Nintendo’s efforts, but at the same time, I’d like to kindly damn them and their children for being so short sighted about their own product(s), and the ignorance of their own intellectual property – much in the vein of SquareEnix, but that’s an entirely different post (hell, it’ll probably be a novel.)
If Nintendo doesn’t do something fast to boost sales, they’re going to take a huge loss with the Wii U, and if Sony and Microsoft go through with the ever-spreading rumors of absurd DRM for both companies, I can see another video game crash on the horizon, just like ’83.
The idea of playing with the TV off is a great one, but the rest of the gimmicks feel forced and unnecessary.
The HDMI is nice, but it's still late to the party, and you'll be hard pressed to find anything that looks truly "next gen" on the Wii U.