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The Nintendo Wii U: What You Need To Know
By Dan On 20 Nov, 2012 At 11:36 AM | Categorized As Featured, Gaming News, Tech, Wii U | With 0 Comments

So the Nintendo Wii U console has launched earlier this week and news is spreading throughout the gaming world like the plague. And I figured because I’m such a nice guy that I’d let you know what the deal was with this new console. This includes any downfalls which there are sure to be a few with any electronic devices’ release.

Here’s everything you need to know.

It’s been six long years since the release of the Nintendo Wii and it’s about time Nintendo joined the rest of the consoles in their new fangled High Definition gaming experience. This console has been said to be the next generation but i’m not convinced. I feel that the Wii U more closesly rivals the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Nintendo Wii Vs. Wii U

A comparison of the Nintendo Wii (top) and the Nintendo Wii U (bottom) – Image Courtesy of Engadget

The Wii U is a brand new device that offers a new way for gamers to enjoy their games. Mainly with the introduction of the GamePad. Nintendo wants gamers to be able to play their games without the restraints of a television. But this all comes at a cost; the Wii U GamePad has an extremely limited 3 hour battery life which means if you want to pull off an extended gaming stint you’re going to need to the charging cable.

With this new GamePad you will be able to interact with games like you have never been able to before. Interesting new methods like flicking on the GamePad brings new things to home consoles that only tablets and phones have been able to previously. Nintendo even has a game called Nintendo Land to show everyone how exactly the Wii U’s GamePad will change the way we play games. Think a game full of tech demos.

Nintendo Wii U Gamepad

The New Wii U GamePad – Image Courtesy of SlashGear

Now you might be thinking, what games will be available to me when i pick this thing up? Well you’ve got a slew of quality games to hold you over until more come from other third party developers. Assassin’s Creed III, Madden NFL 13, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Epic Mickey 2, Just Dance 4, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Batman: Arkham City, Ninja Gaiden 3, Mass Effect 3, Skylanders Giants, New Super Mario Bros. U, and ZombiU among other titles. This is a pretty impressive launch list, much better than the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 had when they launched.

The guys over at PC Perspective a much respected place for PC enthusiasts have actually gone ahead and taken apart the Wii U and given us the lowdown on what went in to making Nintendo’s new console. You can take a look at the pictures and video here.

But let’s remember, everything isn’t as happy and wonderful as Nintendo would like you to think it is. There are already some problems and frustrations happening with the hundreds of thousands of Wii U owners out there.

The first problem noted by quite a few vocal people on twitter is the giant 5 Gig DAY ONE firmware update to bring a few things including online functionality to the Wii U. Most of the complaints were about the time needed to download and apply the update which some said ranged from an hour to four plus hours of updating. I’m sure millions of PlayStation 3 owners chuckled at this one. But that’s not all, there were quite a few people who actually ended up turning their Wii U’s into $400 paperweights by turning the console off during the update and bricking it.

Firmware update for the Nintendo Wii U

The Update Screen on the GamePad – Image Courtesy of NintendoLife

So there’s one thing you’re going to have to do before you start enjoying your system. Imagine the shock and horror on all of the children’s’ faces when they plug in their Wii U Christmas morning and see this huge update staring them in the face.

One very strange issue that people are finding is that if you’re under the age of 18, you will have to pay fifty cents to join a Nintendo Network ID. This is apparently the work of the Parental Control system that if accidentally triggered will force you to pay fifty cents via a credit card to confirm that your parents really said its okay to create an account for a minor.

Quite a few people have even been having some problems with the WiFi on the Wii U. The console just wouldn’t see the WiFi SSID and people were at a loss. Luckily this is a minor problem that can be solved by manually inputting your SSID and password. For the full fix go ahead and check out our bros at Kotaku.

One user even reported that he was able to access a debug/administrator menu and was able to monitor users, reset passwords, and delete things. Now we all know Nintendo isn’t particularly known for their online services and the Wii online service was shoddy at best. I feel like this was just a fluke and won’t happen again. Nintendo has already closed the ability to access these debug menus.

And of course there are some slow loading applications and things on the Wii U, but let’s give them a break. Its one day after launch and these will be fixed as the console’s life cycle progresses.

The god awful friend code system of the original Nintendo Wii is a thing of the past with the brand new Friends list and friend adding mechanic. When you sign up for a Nintendo Network ID you can choose a name just like a PSN ID or an Xbox Live Gamertag and you can be added that way. Welcome to the new generation of consoles, Nintendo.

Wii U Nintendo Network ID

Adding a friend is now easy! – Image Courtesy of Kotaku

You can transfer most of your original Wii data to your new Wii U via an SD card. The transfer seems to be a simple process that transfers over save data, WiiWare and Virtual Console games and save data, any DLC, Wii Points, Wii Shop Channel, any Mii’s on the console and any WiFi connection data. You can even use the new Wii channel on your Wii U to see the original Wii menu.

It seems like a pretty solid console and if the Wii U’s availability is anything like the original Wii’s during the holidays it’s going to be difficult to get your hands on one. But I believe the third parties will get a grasp on what exactly the Wii U can do and will turn out some really interesting games that really take advantage of the new console’s unique features.