Wii U on Holiday Weekend

Holiday Turkey, deluxe edition.

Just obtained a Wii U! First impression is that it’s an odd mix of new (tablet controller, Apple TV interface) and old (optical discs, sensor bar…although Nintendo pioneered that not long ago).

We trekked all over Chicago to find the black (deluxe) edition. It comes with Nintendoland, an assortment of minigames that hone your chops at manipulating the new GamePad. I hope to obtain a third-party title before writing a full review, which will be posted here shortly.

I basically skipped the entire last two generations or gaming consoles, during which time the notions of gaming devices has evolved and expanded to encompass non-dedicated devices. The durable success of the XBox 360 and the great leap forward of the Wii’s original interface (whose appeal even to nongamers presaged the vast casual market that Apple and its developers would tap into with iOS) proves that consoles still have plenty of life left in them, however.

One thing I have noticed in my limited time so far with the Wii U is its almost unbearable load times while you aren’t playing. Migrating for the zippy worlds of iOS and latter-day Android to Nintendo’s little Web island is jarring, which is too bad since the console is off to a solid start with some TV apps and what generally constitutes Nintendo’s first genuine attempt to bring its systems online, literally. Its molasses-like OS reminiscent of the similarly nascent 3DS (speaking of which, I really wish that all of Nintendo’s hardware worked together like Macs and iOS do – I haven’t been able to do anything but send a Mii from 3DS to computer so far).

But early faults in mind, I think Nintendo has hit upon something by moving a substantial portion of its full console gaming experience down to a mobile device (the GamePad). In an age in which I can compose most of my blog from my phone, bringing substantial creative and expressive capacity to ever smaller devices is the real race, and the GamePad feels like a new way forward so far.

With some more playing time under my belt, I’ll write a fuller review and also try to comment on what I perceive as the current arc of dedicated gaming.

-The ScreenGrab Team.

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