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Remembering the Wii U: Nintendo's Dreamcast

December 27, 2017 2 min read

[The Wii U is one of those consoles I always wanted to buy, but could never bring myself to dropping the cash on for the luxury of playing just a handful of admittedly-awesome games. OmegaSiets sends off the recently-Old-Yeller'd console with a nice little retrospective paying tribute to some of its finer games. Are there any he may have missed? Tell us in the comments below! - Wes]

With the Switch now officially launched and several months into the next generation of Nintendo games, I thought it might be a good time to look back on its troubled older sibling. Nintendo certainly has been quick to sweep the Wii U under the rug following the Switch's release, and who could blame them given how abysmally it under-performed? The system struggled immensely out of the gate, with Nintendo heavily banking on the repeat success of the Wii by using the same branding and packing in another party game in the form of Nintendo Land. Unfortunately as we all know, it backfired spectacularly on them, with Nintendo vastly underestimating consumer fatigue toward the Wii brand and running a lackluster marketing campaign that failed to communicate what the system even was.

However as the Dreamcast has demonstrated, just because a console wasn't popular doesn't mean that it wasn't good. In fact, over time the Wii U brought out some of the best in Nintendo, perhaps serving as an important learning experience that helped them in some ways rediscover their roots. As time progressed, it seems Nintendo was forced to reconsider their strategy and recognize that they could not take the core market for granted anymore. Whereas the Wii often took classic Nintendo franchises and tried to make them more accessible to casual audiences by sacrificing depth and challenge, the Wii U instead opted for tried-and-true easy to learn but difficult to master gameplay, or in some cases just outright demanded your full commitment with no hand-holding whatsoever. Their philosophy had shifted toward the idea that ultimately challenging but rewarding gameplay will speak for itself, and you don't have to sacrifice challenge in order to be fun or accessible. After all, the original Super Mario Bros. was a brutally difficult game, and that game sold like...well, Super Mario Bros. Which is to say, it sold a lot of fucking copies. So people can handle more heat than we give them credit for.

Remembering the Wii U: Nintendo's Dreamcast screenshot