By Sunjammer 56 Comments
So I'm sort of bummed out by the focus on Wii U performance right now... I'm not religious about my games. I have invested heavily in almost every system on the market for the past decade. The general rule for me is that when a game shows up that I want to play, that's when I buy the system. For the XBOX it was Ninja Gaiden. PS2 it was GTA3. GameCube it was Metroid Prime, etc. I have no "loyalty" beyond the games. For instance I haven't picked up a Vita yet, simply because there isn't anything on there I want to play. Yet.
The same is true for the Wii U. To me, a system is not defined by its statistical potential, but by its gameplay reality. For instance, ZombiU (that name!) is what makes the Wii U desirable to me, NOT the prospect of "next gen". I think anyone who has been playing games on the PC for the past couple of years have been inhabiting the next gen for long enough to make that prospect pretty uninteresting.
I think the _actual_ issue with the Wii U is that while it's friendlier to ports than the Wii was, it's still unfriendly enough (again in terms of this nebulous "power") to mean by the next generation of PS3 and Xbox, the Wii U is again likely to receive substandard ports. If you're "into ports", or you only own one system and only ever plan to own one system, I suppose this is a real concern. Personally, I always thought the port game was the worst part of this generation. Nowhere near enough exclusives meant the PS3 and 360 were practically interchangeable, the only real reason my PS3 became my platform of choice was the horrendous noise on the 360. It's pretty sad to have a house with so many expensive bits of hardware and so much crossover the biggest difference is the shape of the case. I've really missed divergence.
As a gamer who doesn't play console games online, the single real issue with the Wii, to this day, remains rendering resolution. People like to slag on the Wii, but there are games on that system that are absolutely glorious, and would have been much, much nicer on an HD system. The gameplay was there, but the presentation was not. It's not even as if rendering at an HD resolution implies you need to spend more time on assets, as Dolphin emulator footage shows just how well Nintendo's original art holds up. So that was a real misstep on Nintendo's behalf. The Wii didn't have to be that shitty. While I understand why, it's pretty sad to hear all the "collecting dust" stories because they are so ungrateful. Donkey Kong Country Returns is the kind of game you simply do not see on competing platforms, and it's sad to see it so easily disregarded.
So with that out of the way, I'm simply excited about the Wii U just as I was excited about the Wii; It's something else. Watch dogs is most likely not going to see a Wii U release, and other ports built on legacy tech are equally unlikely to see Wii U ports worth our time. But when even Ubisoft can deliver a launch title like ZombiU that is weird enough and different enough to sell the system to skeptics, and Nintendo's dullard b-game (NSMBU) looks as ludicrously gorgeous at 60fps as it does, I just don't know how not to be at least interested in what the system is doing.
Nintendo are savants. They make the dumbest decisions in the business. There's a saying, "Nintendo always has to do one thing completely wrong". As far as I can see, their "one thing" this time was storage. The standard Wii U kit is the Xbox 360 Arcade of 2012; Why anyone would want what amounts to about 3 gigs of storage on their system is baffling. Even the deluxe kit at 32 gigs is, er, modest. Nintendo's claims that you can hook up an external HDD to augment this is just as false as their claim on the Wii that you could expand your memory with SD cards; External storage on Nintendo systems are hopeless third rate citizens. You'll have to copy stuff back and forth between your internal memory and external memory if you want to use it. It's incredible.
You'd almost think Nintendo users harbor a case of Stockholm syndrome now, with the amount of abuse they've seen from "Nofriendo". Nintendo's willingness to disappoint is uniquely brazen in today's consumer-oriented industry.
But the games are where it's at. Even the physically painful Metroid Other M was, at its core, pretty freaking sweet. I'm excited to see what the Wii U does the next couple of years. Simply because it's different.