Nintendo Wii U

Release Date: November 18, 2012  Publisher: Nintendo

“Hello Welcome to Mario Kart” “Do a Barrel Roll!” “Our Princess is in another castle” “HEY LISTEN!” If any of these quotes made you crack a smile, then at some point in your life, you’ve experienced the magic that is Nintendo. Originally founded back in 1889 as a Japanese playing card company, Nintendo is currently the most financially successful gaming company in the world. Their influential impact on the game industry and its culture is unparalleled, but will Nintendo’s newest home console, the Wii U, take the world like the original Wii did six years ago? But first things first, what is the Wii U? The Wii U is not a peripheral or add-on to the Wii. It is an entirely new system and will be the first system available in the eighth-generation of video game consoles. It’s the true successor to Nintendo’s highly-popular Wii system. Although the original Wii was a critical success for Nintendo after lackluster GameCube sales, the system was far from perfect. Nintendo, rather than focusing on their already established hardcore gaming crowd, focused on appealing to the public masses that hadn’t played video games before. It was a true “Blue-Ocean” marketing strategy that proved to be brilliant move for the company, but displeased the longtime Nintendo fans. One of the main goals of the Wii U, is to recapture the hardcore gaming crowd (you know the people who play Call of Duty religiously?) as well as its longtime fans from years past. How is Nintendo planning on doing this? Well for starters, they are seriously upgrading their new system’s graphical capabilities. While the Wii lacked the technical specs to run graphically-impressive game series (Mass Effect, Assassins Creed) the Wii U has a very impressive graphical capability that is, at the very least, on-par with Xbox 360/PS3. It touts a full 1080p HD display and has already proved to run third party games - such as Call of Duty Black Ops II, Darksiders II, and Assassin's Creed 3 - beautifully at 60 frames per second. However, the biggest appeal to the system is the all-new Wii U Gamepad. The new revolutionary controller looks to change the face of gaming, just like the original Wiimote did. The tablet style controller boasts an impressive 6.2 inch widescreen touchscreen display. It also has a built in accelerometer and gyroscope for motion-controlled gaming, and a mic and camera for real-time video chat. It will also be able to stream content directly from the console, allowing players to play games wirelessly on the Gamepad free from the TV. The Gamepad will add a second-screen experience to gaming. For example, in the revamped Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition, you can quickly select your different gadgets on the fly using the touchscreen, view the overworld map, and use the game’s detective mode by moving the Gamepad with your hands. Or, in Call of Duty Black Ops II multiplayer mode, one player can play full-screen on the television while the other plays on the gamepad, hoping to forever end the tyranny of screen-peeking older brothers. For those looking for a more standard control option, Nintendo is also offering a “Pro Controller” for $50 that slightly resembles an X-box 360 controller, and features an astounding 80 hour battery life.

Pro Controller

The Wii U is compatible with every original Wii game released and supports all the Wiimotes, nunchuks, balance boards and classic controllers that most households already own. Also, if users purchased any Virtual Console software on their Wii, they will be able to transfer their games as well as memory into their Wii U. However, the Wii U will not be able to read Gamecube disks or support Gamecube controllers, but Nintendo is planning to make Gamecube games available for download through the Virtual Console service.

The Wii U will launch with 23 games available, including Nintendo’s New Super Mario Bros U, with over 30 additional releases coming later in the “launch window”. Nintendo hopes this will satisfy their core audience who religiously played games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Smash Bros Melee and Goldeneye 64. The rising popularity of Netflix and other video-streaming websites has led Nintendo to include an innovative new TV function to their console cleverly named, “Nintendo Tvii”. The official statement from Nintendo of America’s President Reggie Fils-Aime claims that Nintendo Tvii is the easiest and most interactive way to "find, watch and engage with TV, movies and sports". It will seamlessly merge Netflix, Hulu+, Amazon Instant, Tivo for users all into one place. Users can then select any show TV station or movie to watch or ‘favorite’, and use the Gamepad as a “Mega-remote”. For example, on busy college football Saturday, users can view one game on the TV, and then use the Gamepad to view detailed stats, around-the-league scores, Twitter reactions, or simply browse the web. The service will come integrated into the Wii U at no additional charge. The Wii U will be released exactly one month from today, on November 18th, and will be available in two separate bundles. A basic set for $299.99 and a deluxe set for $349.99. The major differences between the two sets is that the Basic will have 8GB of flash memory, and the Deluxe will have 32GB, along with Nintendo Land packed in. (See official infographic below for me info)  

Basic Set

Deluxe Set

Wii U Console Specs

Wii U Console Specs 

• Internal flash memory: 8GB or 32GB • Expandable memory via external hard-drive/USB/SD card. • BM Power®-based multi-core microprocessor • 2GB of RAM • Four USB 2.0 connector slots • Wii LAN support • Console weight of 3.5 pounds • Full 1080p resolution • Supports HDMI, Component, S-video, and Composite output

Wii U Gamepad

Wii U Gamepad 

• 6.2-inch 16:9, resistive touchscreen with stylus • 13 Buttons + 2 Analog Sticks and D-Pad • Wireless range of 25 feet • Rechargeable battery • Accelerometer • Gyroscope • Magnetometer • Rumble feature • Front-facing camera • Microphone • Stereo speakers • Headphone jack • Sensor strip • NFC • TV Input/ wireless remote

Wii U Launch Games

• Assassin’s Creed III • Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition • Call of Duty: Black Ops II • Darksiders II • Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two • ESPN Sports Connection • FIFA Soccer 13 • Game Party Champions • Just Dance 4 • New Super Mario Bros. U • Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge • Nintendo Land • Rabbids Land • Scribblenauts Unlimited • SiNG Party • Skylanders Giants • Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed • Tekken Tag Tournament 2 • Transformers Prime • Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper • Wipeout 3 • Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 • ZombiU

Upcoming Wii U Titles

• 007 Legends • Bayonetta 2 • Game & Wario • Lego City Undercover • Marvel’s The Avengers: Battle for Earth • Mass Effect 3: Special Edition • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate • NBA TK13 • Pikmin 3 • Rayman Legends • Super Smash Bros U • Trine 2: DIrectors Cut • Wii Fit U + More...

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All pictures courtesy of Wii U's Facebook page