Here are our top 7 memorable Wii U moments.
Not many people owned a Wii U. This is no surprise: the marketing failure of Nintendo’s successor is quite well-documented. It was a scary time for the big N, and I was honestly quite worried about the company’s future. That is until Nintendo did a complete 180 with the Switch. They keep delivering amazing first-party games, and even third-party support is phenomenal. Now we know Nintendo is doing just fine, and there is very little to worry about.
That being said, I was somebody who owned the Wii U, and I do not regret the time I spent with the console. The story about how I got the console is one close to my heart, and I will share it with you today.
In 2014, my family suffered from a tragic loss. We just lost my Grandmother, who was a very warm and kind person. I used to visit her now and again, bringing my Nintendo 3DS with me sometimes. When she unfortunately passed, they left gifts to members of the family. My present just so happened to be a Nintendo Wii U, and I could not be happier. I traveled to my local game store to pick up the console.
You may be familiar with GameStop in the US, but over here in the UK, we have GAME. Mario Kart 8 had just launched, and I managed to get the Premium Black Console with the game. GAME was also running an offer where you could choose another game with your purchase. After browsing for a little while, 15-year-old me picked up Super Mario 3D World — and that was the best decision I could have made at the time.
So, that’s my story about how I got the console. Whenever I see people bashing the Wii U, it sort of upsets me a little bit. My Wii U has sentimental value, and I’ll never part ways with it. Although the Switch is the hottest thing on the planet right now, I thought it would be fun to remember some of the best moments on the Wii U. Most of its library may be available on the Switch now, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reflect.
Did you own a Wii U? Let us know down below!
Nintendo’s First New IP In A Long Time
Nintendo is obviously well-known for the likes of Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and much more. They seemed to focus on their core franchises with little innovation elsewhere. Then during E3 2014, we saw a glimpse of Nintendo’s first new IP in decades. Splatoon is an interesting tactical third-person shooter, where you play as an anthropomorphic squid-kid. The marketing drilled that idea into your brain, with the irritating “You’re a kid now, you’re a squid now!” constantly playing on TV.
Despite its questionable marketing, Splatoon included a fun single-player campaign and an addictive multiplayer mode. Splatoon was the game I spent the most time on after its 2015 release. I was an active member of the game’s Miiverse community (more on that later). The game had map changes every few hours and introduced a competitive event now and again called “Splatfest”. Splatfest forced players to choose a side in an argument and they would be assigned a specific color associated with it. While there were the general topics – such as “Cats vs Dogs” – they occasionally mixed things up, celebrating the 20 anniversary of the Pokémon Series with “Pokémon Red vs Pokémon Blue.”
If it wasn’t for the release of the squid simulator, we wouldn’t have Splatoon 2. The game cemented itself as one of the best games on the Wii U and was a must-play for all owners of the system. The original game still retains its charm after the release of its much-improved sequel – and this says a lot for an online-centric game.
Most people look back at Miiverse and think “what was Nintendo doing?” Miiverse was an online social network for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. It launched alongside the Wii U in 2012 and was discontinued in November 2017. The idea of Nintendo creating its own social network sounded like a recipe for disaster. To some degree, it was an absolute nightmare for the moderators. On the other hand, it boasted a strong community of Nintendo fans who were passionate about gaming. There would be posts you’d come across that were a bit risqué, however, there was a lot of fanart and wonderful communities overshadowing the not-too-good parts.
Miiverse separated various video games into its own community hub. For example, a game such as Super Mario 3D World had its own page. In this community, you could post advice about various levels in the game and talk about it with other people. The idea was extremely interesting at the time despite some complications. Nintendo would also create communities for E3 and individual series for a limited time. The E3 one, in particular, was always my favorite. You could gush over announcements with other Nintendo fans. It was a lot of fun to discuss what was hot at the time. I remember talking about the early days of Breath of the Wild when it was simply called “Zelda U”. Those are some memories that I will remember fondly.
The service also saw incorporation into the games themselves. In Super Mario 3D World, you could collect Stamps to post images of your favorite characters. This was considered a main collectible in the game to achieve 100% completion. A similar feature was introduced in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD. Being able to share screenshots from your favourite Wii U games was a lot of fun. I ended up creating a diary for what I was playing at the time. This got a lot of recognition from the community, and I genuinely enjoyed doing it. Although Miiverse is no longer a thing, I have been hoping for a replacement. Unfortunately, the rise of apps like Twitter removed most real need for it.
The Wii U had the best selection of Virtual Console games. It had pretty much everything, starting from the NES leading all the way up to the Wii. My only complaint with the service was the lack of any GameCube games. However, that didn’t stop the console from delivering excellent titles from Nintendo’s backlog of games. I got to experience a handful of games that I didn’t play when I was younger. One such game was The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, a title that I had always wanted to play. Although Nintendo Switch Online allows us to play NES and SNES games, I would prefer a dedicated VC like the Wii U.
The Home Screen
This sort of ties into the Miiverse. When you started up your Wii U, you’d see a bunch of Miis in a plaza. The games that were popular at the time would show up on the menu, and Miiverse posts would surround them. I found this feature to be very interesting and allowed me to discover what was popular at the time. This is where I discovered a bunch of eShop titles that I ended up loving as a result. Unfortunately, due to the Miiverse being shut down, this is no longer visible. Instead, the console’s home screen feels kind of lifeless. It’s a shame really because I loved this small detail so much!
Most people will disagree with me on this one. I absolutely love the Wii U gamepad. I found it to be the work of pure genius. Nintendo has always been a company dedicated to exploring new ways of play. This was no different with the Wii U, and the Gamepad introduced a variety of gameplay mechanics because of it. Splatoon used the Gamepad’s gyroscope to aim your gun, and this was considered the best way to play. Other features include touch controls and even camera features implemented into certain games such as Nintendoland. Although it may be considered the Wii U’s worst feature, I adored this little piece of gaming history.
The Continuation of the Wii Brand
For the final entry, this is pretty obvious. One of the Wii U’s best features is also considered its downfall. Most consumers assumed that the Wii U was an accessory for its predecessor. This caused the console to fail in sales, which is a massive shame. The Wii U was compatible with the Wii’s huge line-up of accessories and games. It meant that the Wii U was worth the upgrade because of this. You got access to a library of amazing Wii U games in addition to the Wii’s classics such as Wii Sports and Super Mario Galaxy. Honestly, this is one of the reasons I was excited to get my hands on the console.
The End of an era
The Wii U marked the end of the Wii brand and unfortunately, it didn’t see much success during its lifetime. Nintendo tried to release amazing games to entice consumers but was unable to stick the landing. I’m a strong believer in if Nintendo marketed it better, the console could’ve done a lot better. Most of the library has since been ported to Nintendo’s much more successful Switch. There isn’t much left to come over except Super Mario 3D World, but you can experience pretty much everything else on the Switch. I’ll cherish my memories with the Wii U for the rest of my life, and I won’t stop myself from picking it up every once in a while.