Nintendo started capturing the world’s entertainment minds in 1983 when it released the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System)- that was the one that everyone HAD to have, with the cartridges that you plugged into it, with Duck Hunt and Super Mario Brothers, and everything was in COLOR, and the controllers were more than just a joystick. Now, we’re using the 8 bit graphics as templates for crafts with perler beads like this:
Brought over from Japan, Nintendo created a swarm of characters that have lasted for generations: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Link, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi to name a few. As each generation of tech evolved, Nintendo made choices- which path do we follow, what games to we add to our collection, and what consumers do we want to attract? Their newest generation of full-sized console, the Wii U, was introduced in 2012, and has slowly made its way into libraries and library programs across the country.
WHAT: Nintendo’s Wii U (Wee- U)
RELEASE DATE: November 18, 2012 (North America)
CURRENT PRICE: $299.99 with 32 GB Memory with game and Wii U Game Pad
AGE RANGE APPEAL: Tweens (8-12), Some teens (attracted by the iconic characters), older adults easing into wireless gaming and sports
- GamePad- unique to Wii U, TV-type looking device that allows one player to control selections, actions, and menu options. Needed to control the system, and highlighted to parents as being able to let a player continue the game while others utilize the TV for movies or TV shows.
- Wii Remotes and Numchucks: same as from the Wii, they are wireless remote devices that point using the sensor bar, can detect motion, and are generally used for the games. The Wii U can utilize between 1 and 4 Wii Remotes depending on the game being played.
- Wii Pro Controller: Nintendo’s attempt to bring in more hard-core gamers, a controller that looks like other console system controls, with similar buttons and arrows for game play.
MOST NUMBER OF PLAYERS IN PROGRAMS: Currently, I’ve seen 8-10 depending on online modes of games, number of controllers available, and wifi connectivity strength.
PROS TO THE WII U:
- Youth and age friendly: when Nintendo was thinking about where it wanted to go with its gaming platforms, they decided to focus on more family entertainment rather than the hard-core shooter games, and it comes through in their line-up of games for the Wii U. Approximately 14% of all Wii U titles are rated Teen or Mature, which in the gaming world is amazingly low. The Wii U gaming pantheon is one where you can easily find games that will work for programs with little chance of issues regarding content.
- Easy set-up: the Wii U is one of the easiest consoles to set-up in the current generation (comparing Wii U, PS4, and XBOX ONE). Cords are color coded, instructions are on the GamePad, and indicators for low batteries or other issues pop up on the Game Pad and other screens.
- Backwards Compatibility: Unlike the PS4 and the XBOX ONE, the Wii U will take Wii games via disc, so if you have a Wii for your library already, those games will work on your Wii U. Additionally, Nintendo support will walk you through transferring your data from the Wii to the Wii U so that any trophies and stats that you (or your teens/tweens) have gotten won’t be lost (they did for me and we were overjoyed we didn’t have to go back through the different levels of Mario Kart Wii just to unlock the content again). For previous systems (GameCube, etc.) you can download games via the Nintendo Network and purchase them to keep on the Wii U- so if there’s a favorite version of Smash Brothers or Kart that your teens love, you can purchase it and have it for a game night.
CONS TO THE WII U
- Too Young: Because Nintendo has focused so much on the family market, a lot of tweens and teens consider the Wii U a “baby game” time. Just as any movie that is G or PG is considered “too little,” anything that’s rated E or E10 is considered to be “too young” for the more advanced gamer- especially when I have kids as young as 5 telling me that they love playing Grand Theft Auto at their house. It can take a lot to sell older teens to come to a program that isn’t showcasing a favorite game such as Mario Kart or Smash Brothers.
- HDMI Only Please: The Wii U, like the other consoles, comes with only an HDMI connector to plug into your projector or monitor. That’s wonderful if your library system has upgraded your tech along with your gaming systems. However, if you have to juggle around with the typical AV set-up, you’re going to need either to cannibalize your Wii cables or to purchase adapters such as this adapter to make your Wii U show on your TV.
- Lack of Titles: One of the really nagging things about Nintendo is that they’re really behind in producing titles. The new Super Smash Brothers that came out recently was originally scheduled for last year, as well as the new Mario Kart title. Yes, Nintendo is adding other houses’ titles such as Assassin’s Creed, Lego Batman, and Call of Duty: Ghosts
but the lag means that games are getting stale, and Nintendo is quickly losing market share and interest to Microsoft and Playstation- which it cannot afford.
OVERALL: The Wii U is a great younger entertainment system, and easy to use for tournaments and family-type gaming. If you feel that you want to run your programming with Mario Kart, Smash Brothers, and cooperative play games, this one is perfect for you. The other consoles are more versatile with the amount and types of games that they have and different functions that they serve; however, no one has the iconic characters that Nintendo does. If I could pick two gaming systems to purchase, this would be one, but if I had to choose just one gaming system, I’m not sure I’d depend solely on this one.