Every year for the holidays, I find a place to put my dogs up for a few days and I pack my bags. In those bags, I always pack at least one of my video game consoles. You see, every year I fly home to be with my family. It’s been that way since I moved hundreds of miles from them.
I always have to go through the rigmarole of airport security. I hate airport security. They always stop me because I keep a handheld console in my carry-on luggage. When I land at my destination, my checked luggage has always been randomly checked. Amazing. I am randomly selected every single time I fly.
This year was different. This year my brother moved near me, so the rest of my family decided to come spend the holidays with us. Something was different this year beyond that, though. Not only did I not have to pack a console to take home, but I had a new console to debut to my family this year: the Nintendo Wii U.
Things were different when the Wii launched back in 2006. I was a poor college student with a job as a resident assistant. It didn’t afford me much, but it covered the cost of my housing and gave me some extra spending money over the semester. I had heard about all the new consoles coming out, but given the budget I was on, I knew I was going to opt for Nintendo’s offering. I’d preordered and picked it up with a couple of launch titles, then I was able to head home to experience it with my family.
In 2006, motion controls were all the rage. It had never really been done very successfully before. The most amazing thing was that Nintendo nailed it. Not only did they get the motion controls down, but they included the best examples of it with the system in the form of Wii Sports.
Everyone in the family was excited to try Wii Sports out. My dad wanted to play baseball with me. My mom was excited about bowling. My grandfather was even interested in getting in on the action. The Wii was a smash success with my family all around. The problem is that beyond that, it just collected dust.
Now we flash forward to Christmas of 2012. The Wii has been around for over half a decade without much love for the core gamer. It got a few excellent twilight offerings in The Last Story and Xenoblade Chronicles, but it has been otherwise stagnant. It’s now that Nintendo has chosen to release the successor to the Wii: the Wii U.
With family in for the holidays, I had a chance to see how it would hold up compared to its predecessor years ago. I wasn’t really surprised, but I think the result was interesting anyway. No one was really that intrigued in the Wii U. Mom went about her business without even asking what we were playing. My dad was interested in using it to watch movies on the Gamepad while we played Xbox. Otherwise, the only use it got was some New Super Mario Bros. U with my siblings. Interesting, considering that my parents were also excited for the PlayStation Move and Xbox Kinect.
I think this speaks volumes to how Nintendo is focusing their business in this upcoming generation. There’s obviously a focus shift back to the core gamer. Games like Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, Batman Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed 3, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 attest to that. While that is good for the core gamers like myself, this seems like it could hurt Nintendo’s bottom line.
Either way, it’s interesting to see history change.
What do you think? Are you a fan of the Wii U? Did you like the Wii and its library? What about friends and family? Let us know in the forums!