The Wii U may not have been the most popular console, but it was innovative. With the eShop shutting down and most of its unique apps gone, we have lost quite a bit of gaming history. Below we take a look back on the era of the Wii U, from its hit games to strange features.
The console's design was literally an in-between point for the Nintendo Wii and the Switch. You had the main console that hooked to your TV and a tablet controller you could play on that charged on a separate stand.
The tablet was designed to give you a second screen while gaming, a feature that was heavily used in games like Splatoon, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, and Mario Kart. The console also had Wii Remote connectivity and can play both Wii U games and Wii games.
Delving Into Miiverse
There is no way we can talk about the legacy of the Wii U without first jumping into the horrifying world of Miiverse. Miiverse was the Wii U's personal social network for its players, which had several chat rooms separated by the game and apps of the system.
Players could chat or even draw pictures to post on these forums, and they came under a lot of fire due to the lack of moderation. Young players flocked to Miiverse to find potential dates, post dramatic messages, and test how fast they could get banned for posting cringe-worthy drawings.
While some portions of Miiverse were untainted, like the Kirby side, all you had to do was check in on the YouTube or Netflix forum to experience the pure chaos that led to Nintendo shutting the feature down.
Miiverse had a problem with young children looking for dating partners, which is the last thing parents wanted them doing on their new toy. There were also several accounts of obscene art making its way into forums, including some that were uploaded from home computers.
YouTube creator PK ShyGuy, even compiled a video on Miiverse that can be watched here. This video goes in-depth to show just how wild Miiverse could get. This includes footage of some of the infamous profanity trolls that stalked the forums.
Video chat or a remote control, the Wii U could do it all!
Other strange features also found their way onto the Wii U besides Miiverse. For starters, there was an app called Wii U Video Chat. This allowed you to have a video chat with other Wii U owners and was surprisingly reliable.
You could even draw on the screen to make the chat more interactive. Sadly, you couldn't do this while gaming, and there was no party chat system outside of the feature. Another strange feature was being able to control your TV with the Wii U.
This was a feature that could be set up from the system settings and could connect to your cable or satellite box. It could do everything from power on your TV or help you change channels. The best part about all this was that you could carry around the bulky tablet.
There wasn't much fear of the Wii U tablet breaking either, as it was a very thick and durable piece of hardware. You could even watch Netflix or pull up a cooking video to watch in the kitchen, which was one of the strange advertising points for the console.
Gaming on the Wii U
Gaming on the Wii U was fun, but the library of games for the console was small. This was due to the CPU proving difficult for third-party developers to utilize, which led to fewer game releases—one of the problems that hurt Wii U sales the most.
The Wii U mainly relied on Nintendo themselves to create games, and some truly great series found their way onto the console. Some stand-out titles that were developed for the Wii U were:
- Xenoblade Chronicles X
- Star Fox Zero
- Pikmin 3
- Bayonetta 2
Ports of popular Zelda games The Twilight Princess and The Wind Waker gave new gamers a chance to try some of the most interesting games in the series. In total, 164 physical games were released for the console in the United States, with hundreds more available through the eShop.
Japan and Europe got far fewer physical games, with most being Nintendo published. This wins the Wii U an award for having one of the smallest physical libraries in gaming history.
Saying goodbye to a Nintendo Era
While the Wii U certainly had a lot of problems, it was still an interesting console. Many of the Wii U's library is now available for play on the Nintendo Switch, so we don't have to worry about losing its first-party games. The eShop shutting down is a bit of a loss, though, as many smaller games will be permanently lost to time.