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.
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.