Continuing into Tech*Cember, today I’m talking about Wii U games, library style. Obviously using a gaming console in a library is extremely different from normal household use. There are a ton of factors to consider when choosing games to purchase, especially considering the time and energy you’ve spent convincing the higher-ups to back you in this digital literacy venture. The following are some things to think about:
- APPEAL: How broad of an appeal does this game have? Will it only attract younger kids, or will it fit a whole spectrum of players?
- ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT: Does it need a special controller? Does it need a subscription to get into the world? Does it need in-game purchases in order to develop the game fully? Do you need to buy additional characters?
- PLAYERS: How many players can actually play the game at once? It may say 4 on the outside of the box, but that may be restricted to either small sections of the game (LEGO games can be notorious for this) or online battles only.
- USED OR NEW: Will your library system let you purchase games used from a local vendor or do you have to order from a specific library one? Will you be able to test out the used games within the 7 day warranty period to make sure they are fine?
- RATING: What ratings are going to be acceptable to your community, your program audience, and your library board?
- VALUE: What is going to give you the most for your money? What is going to have lasting appeal that your tweens and teens will want to play over and over again?
With those things in mind, here are some of the Wii U games that I would recommend purchasing for a library programming collection. Your mileage may vary, depending on your community.
- Super Mario 3D World: Not a competition game; however four players can be in the game at any one time with a fifth character option that is unlockable. Characters share lives and bonuses, which helps with cooperation and teamwork as they work through the levels. Very good for rotational play and tween/younger teen programs.
- Mario Kart 8: This has always been a good title for tournaments and competitions. This new version allows players to customize everything, battle with or against each other, and play out levels as well. There are unlockable levels, vehicles, and options including parachutes and custom wheels, so you might have to give a time limit to some players.
- Super Smash Brothers: Exactly what it says- take Nintendo characters, put them against amazing backdrops with insanely weird weapons that show no blood, and battle until the clock runs out. It has its own tournament mode so you can set it and go, or you can draw up your own round-robin and keep score. My tweens and teens have eagerly awaited this one, and are chomping at the bit to get to play.
There are a few that haven’t been the best in programming when solely focused on one type of console, but have worked when multiple consoles have been available.
- LEGO anything: These are extremely popular with my younger kids and tweens, but the major hang-up is that usually only two players can play at a time. Yes it says 4 on the box, but that’s in limited areas, and players can be dropped suddenly. On the bright side, these games have an engrossing storyline so that players waiting their turn have typically waited patiently and watched others play through, or helped with suggestions on where to go.
- Skylanders: This one was fun, but we had to have many different kinds of characters, and they were only available through their own separately-sold statues. The point of the character statues is that everyone builds their own powers, and takes them to their friends’ houses or brings them to the library to continue play, and it would work very well in more affluent neighborhoods. It doesn’t work so well in mine, because most of my kids don’t have their own statues, so we’re limited to what we have on hand.
- Just Dance: We’ve used this one a lot for different programs, and have had a lot of fun with it, but from time to time we get “cheaters” in the room. Unlike the XBOX or PS4, with the Wii U you have to have the controller- it doesn’t read body motion. The problem with that is that instead of actually doing the motions and the “dance,” some would just move the controller.
Do you have a Wii U that you use at your library? What games have you found work/don’t work? Share in the comments!