By: Lara Murray
Nintendo struck gold when they released the Wii in November of 2006. A revolutionary system that used motion controls in its games, it became a success due to the simple fact that anyone could enjoy it, regardless of gender, age or experience in gaming. Following its success, Nintendo launched the Wii U in November 2012 to similar acclaim.
If a family doesn’t own the Wii, then the Wii U is a gaming must. Keeping with its predecessor by inheriting the motion control feature, the Wii U also introduced a separate handheld gamepad that functions similar to a tablet. The game pad works like an interface for controlling the Wii U’s menu, but it can also control the television while the system is on. The game pad also works like a second monitor, making it possible to switch the display of certain games from the television to the gamepad. Play can then be resumed, freeing up the television for family use. Multiple user accounts can exist on the same system, but game save data is shared among all accessible accounts.
Unlike the Playstion 3 or the X Box 360, the Wii U cannot play DVDs or Blu-Rays, but it has access to stream media from Netflix. Parental controls on the Wii U allow concerned moms and dads to restrict certain content from children’s accounts like games based on their ratings as well as other modes of entertainment like the aforementioned Netflix and YouTube, purchasing software from the Shop Channel, posting or accessing the MiiVerse (a social media outlet where Wii U users can comment on their favorite games), and overall Internet access.
The Wii U is backwards compatible with Wii games, meaning that a family can play any Wii game on their Wii U system in addition to the games available for the Wii U, but Wii U games cannot be played on a Wii console. The Wii U’s catalog of exclusive games is small at this time, as is the case with any new console, but over the next few years it’s expected that game releases will fade out on the Wii in favor of exclusive releases on the Wii U. The Wii U also has a “Virtual Console”, which is an emulator that plays classic games from former Nintendo systems and some Sega systems after they are purchased from the Shop Channel.
At a price of ~$350 for the deluxe bundle packaged with goodies like a 32GB hard drive and the game Nintendoland, or ~$300 for the just the system with an 8GB hard drive, parents on a budget may opt to fill a home’s console vacancy with an original Wii, which retails at about half the price of the Wii U but comes with the cost of missing out on worthwhile exclusives, specifically Nintendoland and New Super Mario Bros. U which are both available now. With a reputable back catalog, the Wii U is a favorable option for a family looking for a next-generation gaming console with something everyone in the family can enjoy.
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