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Wii U console and controller

Wii U: The Facts

Nintendo’s Wii U has sat on the sidelines of the tug-o-war between the Xbox One and Playstation 4. Its graphics perform at slightly above the level of the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, yet it’s loaded with features associated with the new era of gaming. It was released a year ago, but its game catalog has moved past the dreaded launch period each console offers. Let’s take a look at what Nintendo’s successor to the Wii has to offer.

(Note: while the Wii U originally launched in both Basic and Deluxe models, the Deluxe has since become the default model, with nearly all bundles using the Deluxe model. Shoppers would have to go out of their way in order to buy a Basic model for less value.)

Hardware:

  • 8 GB internal flash memory (32 GB Deluxe only)
  • Four USB 2.0 ports, two in front and two in back
  • Wii sensor bar
  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • HDMI cable
  • Plastic stands for the console and tablet controller (Deluxe only)
  • Several bundles exist that include free games and/or controllers
  • New Controller: includes the standard face and shoulder buttons and dual joysticks for play, with a six-inch touchscreen in the middle. A stylus is included and slides into the tablet when not in use.
  • Special Features:

  • Backwards compatible with all Nintendo Wii titles, including Virtual Console titles purchased from an older system.
  • Video apps including Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Plus, and Google Streetview, all of which also utilize the tablet controller for off-screen viewing
  • Free online features and multiplayer – compared to the monthly pay subscriptions enforced via Sony Playstation Plus and Microsoft’s Xbox Live, Nintendo hosts online gaming and other features free of charge
  • Miiverse – a kind of social media within the Wii U network that allows players to leave messages on public boards about games, using text, drawings, and in-game screenshots.
  • Multitasking – the ability to pause a game, check certain other features (online store, download status, Miiverse) and resume the game.
  • Account management – players can set up individual accounts on the console, including password protection and parental controls
  • Off-screen play – Wii U and Wii games can be streamed directly to the tablet controller, leaving the television free for other uses
  • Downloadable games – titles are available in the eShop for direct download to either the Wii U’s internal memory or an external hard drive
  • TVii – the tablet controller can be used as an elaborate TV remote
  • Deluxe Digital Promotion: Until December 31, 2014, all titles purchased through the eShop on a Wii U Deluxe will get 10% credit back for use in the eShop, redeemed in $5 increments
  • Other Considerations:

  • Retail price of a Deluxe model bundled with at least one game: $300
  • Internet required for system and game patches, as well as transferring games from a Wii
  • Used Wii and Wii U titles will be playable
  • While the Wii U uses a blu-ray disc drive, it does not play DVD nor Blu-ray movies
  • Less than half the power consumption of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, to say nothing of the Xbox One and Playstation 4's relatively large impact on energy bills. (see links below)
  • Games:

    Nintendo Exclusives

  • Super Mario 3D World
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii U
  • Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
  • The Wonderful 101
  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
  • LEGO City Undercover
  • Sonic: Lost World
  • Mario & Sonic at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games
  • ZombiU
  • Wii Sports Club
  • Wii Fit U
  • Nintendo Land
  • Wii U games also available on Xbox and Playstation consoles

  • Skylanders Swap Force
  • Rayman Legends
  • Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us
  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • Just Dance 2014
  • Resident Evil: Revelations
  • LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
  • Angry Birds Star Wars
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