Thinking about buying a Wii U? Not even sure what a Wii U is? Well, we’ve got you covered.
What is it?
The Wii U is Nintendo’s new gaming console, and basically the next generation of the family-favourite Wii. It’s a completely separate system, though it uses up to four old Wii controllers in addition to the new, tablet-like GamePad that comes bundled with the device. Wii games will work in the Wii U, but Wii U games definitely won’t work on the Wii. Got that?
In Australia, the Wii U “Basic Pack” will set you back $349.95 (NZ $469.95), and includes a white Wii U console with 8GB internal storage, plus one of those fancy new Wii U GamePads. The Wii U “Premium Pack” costs $429.95 (NZ $569.95), and comes with a 32GB black Wii U console and GamePad, a stand for the GamePad and console, a charging cradle for the GamePad, a sensor bar and a game called Nintendo Land.
The Wii U GamePad
The Wii U GamePad is part controller and part tablet. Think of it like the newest cousin to the Wii and handheld DS family – it’s the best of both worlds. It’s big enough to need two hands to hold, but thankfully the GamePad is incredibly light. It has its own touchscreen that responds to a finger or stylus when using things like in-game menus.
The screen can be used in many ways; games like Assassin’s Creed III primarily use the second screen as a place to put a permanent map, but other games like the minigame-laden Nintendo Land use the screen as the primary viewing point for the player — they can see more on that screen than the other people looking at the TV, which makes for some interesting hide-and-seek type games.
The neatest thing about the GamePad screen is that it can be used as the ONLY viewing point when playing Wii U – you can transfer a game from your TV to the GamePad so you can keep playing when someone else in your family wants the TV do so something else entirely.
Whilst you can use old Wii controllers and the new Wii U GamePad, Nintendo’s also offering a professional-style controller which very closely resembles the Xbox 360 controller in appearance and overall layout.
Yeah, but what about the games?
For its 30 November launch, you’ll be able to get some exclusive Wii U games plus titles that have already been released on other consoles.
Wii U-specific titles include the aforementioned Nintendo Land, the mature gamer-friendly ZombiU (yep – it’s a zombie game!), Transformers: Prime and the newest Mario game, New Super Mario Bros. U. Wii U gamers will also be able to play big-name titles like Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Mass Effect 3: Special Edition and Assassin’s Creed III.
Other Nintendo franchises will soon follow suit – Pikmin 3 is due for the Wii U next year, while there are rumours that franchises like Zelda will be released shortly thereafter.
What else does the Wii U have?
Quite a bit, actually. For the first time, well… ever, Nintendo’s making it easy to interact with friends online. You can sign up to the Nintendo Network with a unique ID (“SuperGamer,” for instance) and look up other friends using their own IDs. Once connected, you can interact with your friends in the MiiVerse. The MiiVerse has a news feed — much like Facebook — where you can keep up to date what what your friends are playing. The MiiVerse’s “Wara Wara Plaza” will let you chat with other users via the GamePad’s in-built camera, or via touchscreen-created images.
Too long; didn’t read
In short, the Wii U is a very family-friendly console. With Nintendo games like New Super Mario Bros. U, your children can be entertained with wholesome fun, and at night, parents can delve into “hardcore” titles like ZombiIU. It’s a console as powerful as an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, with the same motion-controlled capabilities you’re familiar with on the original Wii. At $350, it’s the perfect gift idea for a family this Christmas.
Photo credit: Press image