Posts Tagged ‘Wii U’
The Wii U was Nintendo’s follow-up to the widely successful Wii, but amidst an overall lack of interest to gamers it was met with mostly resistance. The slogan “How U Will Play Next” was far from accurate and thanks to a lack of consumer understading of what the console on top of the scruitiny leveled against the library it was never much of a success. Still, Fred has fond memories and he takes you through the journey of the Wii U from announcement to today.
With the arrival of Zelda Twilight Princess HD being released on Wii U this week and ever circulating rumours that that next Zelda game will be released to the Wii U and Nintendo’s follow up console (codename NX), I though this would be an opportunity to review just what has happened with the Wii U and why Nintendo seems keen to move on from this console despite pockets of success.
First off it’s worth acknowledging that the Wii U is far from a failure and this console will not be the end of the company. After all, if Nintendo can survive the awful Virtual Boy it can survive most things. The Wii U is a console that had the best intentions behind it: it wanted to bring the tablet experience to the living room along with exclusive Nintendo IPs that you can’t play on any other system. I initially always felt the Wii U was like the DS of video game consoles, where you would have two screens to look at. Unlike the portable, though, you would have to do some significant head movements to view the different screens. There are games made for this console both first and, yes, third party that really made the most of this set up. Despite the criticism ZombiU was a very clever experiment in having the player manage inventory on the tablet screen while action was happening in real time on the TV adding to the horror and tension of the experience. Rayman Legends (a game I adore across all platforms) was originally a Wii U exclusive and it shows on other ports of this game. If you play the game with other people, one player can use the tablet control to manipulate the environment and assist the other players. Another example is Unepic, a very cool indie title which uses the tablet to allow you to manage inventory. Yes, all of these titles were released to other platforms, but they’re examples where developers made the most of the hardware without making it feel like a tacked on gimmick.
Normally we focus on retro here at Gaming History 101, but I don’t think it’s ideal or responsible to ignore the present either. Despite the handful of modern reviews and the potential plan to re-introduce the Gaming History X podcast, I still think the strength of our site is to remain retro focused. I still get psyched waiting for E3, seeing the new hardware and software on the market, and reflecting on things to come. Right now is a weird time for console gaming. The PC trumps the consoles yet again but I feel this time around there was never a loss of momentum for the complicated pseudo console that has been the PC and from the time of the PS4 and XB1’s release that gap has only grown wider. Meanwhile Nintendo is this awkward dichotomy of complete control over the handheld market and a niche presence on consoles and some disturbing trends that are exploiting retro fans are emerging. When you suddenly see the cooperative gaming development, media, and zeitgeist all get together and remember the games of the past to provoke interest, those of us that never forgot may be tempted to get a bit elitist and a bit resentful. I personally took issue with the concepts of Gex suddenly entering the world of big press podcasts, the fact that IGN is desperately seeking to keep hold of its massive audience while juggling the departure of major talent and the lack of regular game releases of note, and don’t get me started on the people that just plain like to generate revenue on playing emulated games completely without context and making fart jokes over them. Then I realized I have no reason to care. Let everyone do what they want to do, besides I’ve always conceded that retro content is something to be shared and not competed against. Just as there will be indies who give content away for free to the enjoyment of all, there will also be businesses attempting to make a quick buck off of it. Since we here at Gaming History 101 have no ads, no income, and are not a business, we are in the unique position to have, literally, nothing to lose. With that in mind I would like to take our retro context and take a look at the state of gaming – consoles, PCs, handheld, mobile, and potentially VR – and give a quick oversight as we approach the 90 day mark to E3.
This week we celebrate Jam (@Jamalais) coming on board as a permanent co-host, a slew of retro news, and onto the more modern topic of contemporary consoles. Now that the gang’s all here, we dissect the current state, conditions, and factors of the previously called “next gen” and loosely discuss the upcoming future.