Playing- GTA V (360). Listening to- Broken Bells: After the Disco. Watching- Breaking Bad
I am a very proud WiiU owner. I don’t own a Playstation4 or XBOX1 yet and I’m completely okay with that. I know this goes against everything a gamer is supposed to feel, but screw it. There’s something… off about this age of consoles that is so radically different from when I was growing up that I think it just makes gaming right now a little more bland than in the golden days. The choices between the PS4 and XB1 are so minute that I think both of those systems at this point lack that “pride” appeal of owning either one of them.
Those of us who remember the days of Nintendo vs. Sega know exactly what I’m talking about. Or even PS1 vs. N64. There was a huge distinction between a gamer in one camp and a gamer in the other. Today you have to squint to find any real difference between the leading consoles including the physical appearance of the console itself. There seems to be some kind of push to make game consoles more uniform. From the controller layout to the secondary features such as sharing and streaming. The PS4 and XB1 are just not that different when you shake it all down, and that’s pretty boring for a consumer looking for a better or different product.
That’s why I’m having a blast with my WiiU. The WiiU stands out. It may not be as powerful, it may not have even a fraction of the blockbuster games that the other two systems have. But there’s no denying it’s unique place in the console landscape. And that speaks to me as a gamer who grew up proud to own a SNES instead of a Genesis. Let me elaborate on what I’m talking about…
Console Exclusives: When looking at the game library of Sony and Microsoft’s systems a grand majority of the standout hits are multi-platform games. Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and Tomb Raider are available for both, indistinguishable from each other and are the highlights of those systems. Now I know Playstation and Xbox have exclusive hits, and Naughty Dog games like Uncharted and The Last of Us really made the PS3 shine. But when we’re talking about titles that define a system? Nintendo delivers in spades.
Super Mario, Zelda, Pikmin, Metroid, Animal Crossing. These franchises are iconic to Nintendo and give the brand it’s identity. They are engrained in what Nintendo is, and the WiiU is hitting it’s stride with games like Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Wind Waker HD and Pikmin 3.
People give Nintendo a lot of grief because all they have to offer are their 1st party titles. But since when has that been a bad thing? When you think of the SNES you think of Super Mario World and A Link to the Past. You don’t think of Aero the Acrobat. Nintendo has always been about their premium first party titles. That doesn’t bother me at all.
Virtual Console: Anybody who loves retro gaming as I do can’t help but love that the Virtual Console is starting to pick up steam. Mega Man 2, Yoshi’s Island, Super Metroid, and now Game Boy Advance titles. Are you kidding me? This thing should be selling systems itself. Now I will say that the prices on the VC are way too steep. I don’t think anything should be selling for over $5. But as long as I’m staying frugal, I’m not going to break the bank shopping at the E-Shop.
Second Screen: No other system has the option to switch between a console and a portable on command. This is a great benefit for me as well. My consoles are downstairs in my family room, but if I feel like sitting upstairs in the living room while my wife is working on the laptop or making dinner, all I need to do is grab the Gamepad and head upstairs. I played a good portion of Wind Waker HD this way over the winter months and I played through all of Mega Man 2 this way.
In closing I want to say that in no way am I ranting about how Nintendo is better than everything else. I am really looking forward to adopting a new system this August when I invest in a PS4 in time for the Autumn game rush. And during the last console cycle I played my 360 more than any other system in my home. I just think as gamers we’re being offered less and less alternative. Things are starting to look too much the same. But amidst the three console contenders, from the controller to the games, to the functionality, the WiiU stands tall in my eyes as being a quality and unique product. Nintendo may not ever sell a fraction of the units that the other two power players will, but in my book Nintendo is doing things right.