What, precisely, Nintendo are playing at is unclear. They are bringing out a new design for their original console, with the same controllers and the same essential features. It looks a little sleeker and a little smaller, true… But on the other hand, you’re paying for it by forfeiting the ability to play Gamecube games or connect a Gamecube controller.
Not crazy for those? Fair enough. In my house, the Gamecube still reigns supreme in my eldest son’s bedroom. As for me, I have my little NES in my own bedroom, and play Super Mario Bros 3 on a regular basis. I am, however, willing to accept that most people don’t see this downgrade as much of an issue, and that’s all well and good.
But consider this; the Wii U is due out soon. And by soon, I mean early 2012 or so, although the precise date has yet to be confirmed. In addition to all the same features and abilities as your old Wii has, the Wii U will upgrade on it to some extent. The old Gamecube games will still be relegated to the dustbin or the attic – that much is clear. But the Wii U comes with a new controller that is truly amazing and breaches a new idea in console gaming.
You know how often you want to watch Glee, but your husband/children/cats are playing a game on one console or another? Or, worse – you’re right in the middle of Mario Galaxy 2 when your partner informs you Top Gear is on and you have to abandon your quest for power stars. Frustrating? The word doesn’t even begin to cover the emotion.
With the Wii U, you will be able to transfer the game you’ve got in the console to your new Wii U controller’s touchscreen display. You do need the console to be on and have a connection to the controller for it to work, but you can then take your controller along and play it as though it were a handheld console in its own right. And that is convenience in a basket.
The Wii U will be able to play older Wii games, so you’re not throwing away your Wii collection by buying one… The only question remaining is, why did Nintendo slate a new Wii for release so close to the Wii U’s scheduled unveiling? Why bother with a new-style Wii at all when the only really important difference is the cutting out of Gamecube compatibility? I for one will not be getting a newer Wii… But the Wii U looks very attractive indeed. Nintendo’s business plans, however, are looking shadier by the day.