This post is part of my Video Game Platform series.
The next video game platform I am going to cover in the Wii U. Here is the basic information on it:
- Platform – Wii U
- Platform Holder – Nintendo
- Price – $299.99
- Major Platform Exclusives – Mario (Super Mario Bros. U, Super Mario 3D World), Zelda (The Wind Waker HD), Splatoon, Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Brothers
- Online Subscription – None
Now let’s dig into these a bit.
Wii U Hardware
One thing you will notice about the Wii U is that the hardware is cheaper than either the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4. Nintendo works really hard to keep the price of its hardware down. The downside to this is it is not as powerful as either of the other consoles.
So why would you buy a Wii U instead of an Xbox One or PlayStation 4?
There are two things that set it apart from the other consoles. The first is the platform exclusives, which I will detail in a little bit.
The second is the hardware itself. When the Wii came out in 2006, it started a revolution with its motion controls. Both Microsoft and Sony jumped on the motion control bandwagon, although without anywhere near the success of Nintendo. Between its novel controls, the inclusion of Wii Sports that brought non-gamers in, and the lower price ($249.99 in North America), the Wii was a huge success, selling over 100 million units.
Nintendo attempted to similarly revolutionize the industry with the release of the Wii U. This time, they added a tablet to the console.
Unfortunately, the tablet has not revolutionized the industry as they hoped it would. That being said, there are two features of it that make it pretty cool.
Asymmetrical play – The tablet allows developers to create games that allow for asymmetrical play. This means one player will be doing one thing on the tablet while up to 4 others will be doing something different on the TV. The greatest example of this is Nintendo Land, which lead to a great, recent video game memory for me.
Play off the TV – The other thing the tablet allows is for the player to play a game on it instead of the TV. This can be good if there are several people in the house wanting to use the screen at the same time. So your gamer can play something on his Wii U while you watch something on TV.
The negative of these things is Nintendo is really the only one taking great advantage of the features.
The Platform Holder – Nintendo
Who is Nintendo anyway?
Nintendo is the granddaddy of platform holders these days. It has been around since the 1800s and has been making consoles since the early 1980s, when they released the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The follow system to the NES, the Super NES, is considered by many to be the best console ever made.
Nintendo, more than any other platform holders, marches to the beat of a different drummer. While Microsoft and Sony are chasing more and more powerful hardware, Nintendo is willing to try something different. Sometimes it works, as with the Wii U. And the sometimes it does not.
The other area Nintendo sets itself apart is in its treatment of its exclusive franchises. Instead of going for big budget action and pushing the limits of content, Nintendo strives to create high quality, family-friendly games. If it is a Nintendo game, you can bet it is good and the content is acceptable.
Platform exclusives is where Nintendo really shines. Nintendo owns some of the most iconic franchises in video games. Nintendo consoles are the only places you can play Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, Metroid, and Kirby games, among others.
The thing that makes these franchises great is not just the characters but also the quality of the games. Two of my favorite games of all time are The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Metroid, both on the Super Nintendo. Looking at this list of “video games considered the best“, you will see 5 Nintendo games in the top 10.
These platform exclusives and the lower price makes the Wii U the secondary console of choice for many gamers. They may go back and forth between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 but they will also have a Wii U.
Modern consoles are doing a better job of including tools to help parents control the content their children can access. The Wii U is no exception.
Check out this video from Hungry Gamers on how to setup the parental controls on the Wii U.