With the hype surrounding the Switch growing and Nintendo officially confirming the end of production in Japan last week, the Wii U’s life will soon becoming to an end. Some will see it as a failed era, following in the footsteps of arguably Nintendo’s biggest console launch in its history with a console that just couldn’t find its own audience. Others will remember it for some of Nintendo’s best new IP’s and some loving memories, and that’s what this list is all about.
So sit back, relax and enjoy a trip down memory lane with a quick Nintendo Wii U retrospective…
A Touching Tribute
The Wii U had a difficult life even from its opening act, but there was some fun to be had with its slate of launch titles despite the confusion over what it actually brings to the table. Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. Wii U were the best of the early highlights, bringing with them some interesting takes on the touch pad controller, though I had more fun playing around with the games on the smaller screen whilst watching the EPL at the same time. Oh pure dual screen bliss.
Personally I consider the best uses for the Wii U’s gamepad was as a secondary map/inventory screen, which made things a lot easier to play the likes of Mass Effect, Batman: Arkham City and Zelda: Twilight Princess among others. It’ll be a shame to not have that ability going forward, given that it helped to reduce the icon clutter on the main screen.
No doubt the biggest story of the Wii U’s era will be Splatoon, which promptly made a name for itself upon launch. Traditional Nintendo cute characters aside, fans jumped on board with the idea of playing a ‘shooter’ that didn’t involve violence, blood and actual weapons. Instead, its simple premise of painting up an entire arena in your team’s chosen colour turned out to be even bigger than perhaps even Nintendo expected … again, not unusual for them. Thankfully the series will continue on the Switch, and by the sounds of it you can expect a push into the eSports arena in the process.
That Beautiful Stare
If it wasn’t for the Nintendo Wii U, we’d never have one of the most iconic moments in all of Luigi history. Just saying.
Return to the Mother (Earth) Land
The Virtual Console will no doubt live on in some way or form, but two of the biggest releases to get the VC treatment this time around were long on the wish lists of many a true fan, to the point where we never thought it would actually happen. But now that Earthbound and Earthbound: Beginnings (known as Mother in Japan) are out in the wild and were received rather well, there’s hope yet that the series will return in an all new form in the not too distant future.
Many may have missed this, but the Wii U marked the first true HD console by Nintendo (the Wii remained within the SD camp whilst its competition made the jump to the future). The results speak for themselves, especially when you see The Wind Waker HD in action. It’s truly beautiful, and one can only imagine what might have been if the console had been given a chance. But hopefully the lessons learnt here will transfer well into the Switch era.
God Damn Amiibo
Admit it, you’ve purchased at least one Amiibo this era, and probably not because of a video game. The toys to life mania that began with Skylanders and somewhat ended with Lego Dimensions had an interesting run, but Nintendo’s Amiibo products were so few and far between during launch that prices were outlandish on EBay and fans were livid. It didn’t help proceedings when Nintendo announced limited Gold and Sliver Mario’s either. But there’s something rather enjoyable, as a long time Nintendo fan, to have a highly detailed collectable that can double as a super best friend and training partner in Smash Bros.
Speaking of which, if it wasn’t for the Wii U, we’d never have the Amiibo Cock Fight…
A Different Kind of Nintendo
Most important of all, the Wii U may not have sold anywhere near as well as everyone anticipated, but it drove Nintendo to try different and unique things in the process in numerous attempts to save it. They broke into the DLC market with great success on Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8, they developed new IP’s like the previously mentioned Splatoon, and they encouraged its development teams to think differently with its existing brands (in turn creating Super Mario Maker and Pokken Tournament).
Those changing attitudes, and the move into mobile phone development, bodes somewhat positively for the Nintendo Switch, though there will always be trepidations when it comes to new consoles these days, considering we have so much to choose from and only so much in our bank accounts.
We will always miss him.
The Wii U may not be as fondly remembered as its predecessors, it may never return from the dead in a mini form thirty years from now, but we all have our fond console memories each generation. It’s been an interesting era, and personally more has changed in my own life during the Wii U’s era than any other gaming generation, so for that I say thank you Wii U for your gamepad antics, awesome games and sadly too short a lifetime. Onwards and upwards!
So, question, what are your favourite Wii U memories? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter and who knows, there may be a special prize in it for you from our collection of things we’ve forgotten we owned that we don’t want anymore but don’t want to just throw away! Yup, it’s the PN2 KINDA GOODY BAG. What will you win? No idea. But get your comments in if you’re up for it and we will be in touch with a winner.