The main things about the Wii U that make it a very excit­ing new con­sole are the ideas it’s brought along with it.  After a few days get­ting to play with the new sys­tem, I already have some spe­cif­ic sto­ries as to how some of those ideas are pan­ning out real­ly well.  I also have some tales to tell of some of those awk­ward moments adjust­ing to a new way to play entails. 

Off-Screen Delight

The one prob­lem with launch­ing a new sys­tem right before Thanks­giv­ing is just after I’ve just got­ten start­ed, I’m already pack­ing every­thing up and cart­ing it off to anoth­er loca­tion.  The Wii U is clear­ly built specif­i­cal­ly for this sce­nario as I’ve had mul­ti­ple chances to enjoy the off-screen fea­ture dur­ing my trip.

I’m a slow pack­er and I real­ly like to watch Net­flix as I pick out clothes and such.  With the Wii U now in my arse­nal, as I packed this year, I was able to beam Net­flix down to my gamepad.  Not only did this give me the abil­i­ty to eas­i­ly bring my stream­ing video to the bed­room, but I was able to car­ry it around as I packed in dif­fer­ent areas.  Once I was done, I was also able to push one but­ton to have Net­flix instant­ly back on my TV.

Once I arrived in my home­town, I got back to my child­hood bed­room with the first TV I’ve ever owned.  With the Wii U fix nag­ging at me, I decid­ed to hook up my con­sole.  My old TV couldn’t han­dle it.  It was tiny and only had a stan­dard com­pos­ite hookup in the back.  To solve this issue, I sim­ply plugged the sys­tem into pow­er, put my New Super Mario Bros. U disc in the con­sole and played right from the gamepad.

The delight of not actu­al­ly need­ing a TV to pow­er up some of your games and get some play­time is hard to describe.  It makes for a great amount of flex­i­bil­i­ty when you’re play­ing games and is a fea­ture that’s very hard to ignore about the console.

The “Oh Yeah” Effect

While my impres­sions of the con­sole have large­ly been pos­i­tive, I have had a few awk­ward moments.  One of these came about while play­ing the large­ly under-appre­ci­at­ed Zom­biU.

As a gamer, I’m used to there being one gen­er­al area that needs to be focused on.  Sud­den­ly, with the gamepad thrown into the mix, my atten­tion needs to be split.  In a game like Zom­biU, this fact adds a lot of ten­sion to the game mak­ing it exact­ly what it needs to be, but there may be a few inter­est­ing moments along the way.

When first jump­ing into the game, I was enthralled by the map I sud­den­ly had in my hands on the gamepad.  So enthralled, that after about five min­utes of play­ing the game, I real­ized that I hadn’t looked back up at the TV in quite a while.  I was so into get­ting the tri­an­gle to get through the open­ings in the walls that I didn’t think about the fact that the image on the TV might just be a tad more interesting.

Zom­biU has a built-in way to make sure this doesn’t hap­pen through­out the entire game and I’ve found myself doing it much less as I play through the game, but there is def­i­nite­ly an adjust­ment period.

The Digital Water Cooler

There was so lit­tle infor­ma­tion about Miiverse before the Wii U launched, that I real­ly didn’t know what to think about the ser­vice.  After get­ting some hands-on time with how this social media net­work actu­al­ly works, I’m more than pleas­ant­ly surprised.

You know that feel­ing when you’re play­ing a game and you go to work or school the next day and chat with the oth­er peo­ple play­ing that same game?  Miiverse takes that con­cept and builds it into their con­sole as a social media net­work.  At any point you can hop into Miiverse and share what’s going on with your cur­rent game and get almost instan­ta­neous feed­back about it from oth­er peo­ple play­ing the game.

Play­ing Nin­ten­do Land at one point, I was try­ing my hard­est to get all the way through DK’s Crash Course, which is decep­tive­ly dif­fi­cult.  Upon final­ly con­quer­ing the course, I decid­ed to post a screen­shot of my con­quest to Miiverse.  With­in a few min­utes, peo­ple had already com­ment­ed and hit the “yeah!” but­ton, which is akin to the like but­ton on Facebook.

Play­ing Zom­biU ear­li­er today, I went out and killed the zom­bie ver­sion of my first sur­vivor and post­ed a screen­shot of it to Miiverse not­ing how it was a bit more dif­fi­u­clt than nor­mal to take him out.  With­in moments, along with a stream of approvals, I also had some­one prof­fer the infor­ma­tion that they get stronger depend­ing upon the amount of points they’ve earned.

This kind of com­mu­ni­ty sur­round­ing the games real­ly does add some­thing very spe­cial to the expe­ri­ence that you’re not going to be find­ing any­where else.  I’ll have more details on my expe­ri­ences with Nintendo’s lat­est as I have more to offer.

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