A lot of the criticisms levied at Wii U don’t bother me, such as the worries that it will become graphically obsolete within a few years or that the touch screen lacks multi-touch functionality. In the end, it’s inevitably going to be all about how good the games are. Still, I’m not necessarily head-over-heels in love with it, either. There are some big pieces that I feel are missing that’d help boost the system’s saleability.
Read on to find out the top five things I think Wii U is missing.
Upscaling Wii Games to HD
I don’t think anyone necessarily expected this, but with the most noteworthy Wii emulators flexing HD-ified presentations for basically the system’s entire library, it’s definitely within the realm of possibility. And after seeing games like Super Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess, and Xenoblade Chronicles in HD, I have to wonder why Nintendo can’t spring for the feature to enhance its already-awesome backward compatibility.
The Wii U 3DS Player
We posted a blurb from Nintendo president Satoru Iwata on this subject last night, but it’s clear that this feature, if it’s ever realized, won’t be available right out of the box or even within the system’s early years. Super GameBoy and the GameBoy Player were really cool additions to their respective systems, and with the Wii U GamePad’s touch screen and the 3DS’s addition of a wider top screen, I’m sure it’s possible for Wii U to pull together some kind of equivalent without too many compromises.
Of course, Nintendo’s going to want to wait a while to let the 3DS gain a bigger foothold in the market before making something like this happen, and I can’t blame them – but still, I’d love to be able to play the updated Ocarina of Time on my TV instead of my small handheld screen.
Wii Games Downloadable from the eShop
Wii U’s game library is going to be available digitally, but wouldn’t it be nice if the Wii catalog got the same treatment? Given that Wii U’s Miiverse-based account system is going to be available on Nintendo platforms long down the line, it’d be nice to have some kind of assurance that our Wii libraries will be transferable to future systems along with our Virtual Console games. Knowing that I can hang onto all my digital games “forever” via my account makes me all the more confident about buying downloadable games – not to mention games in general.
Game Demos for All Major Retail Games Well Before Launch
It took Nintendo a good year to implement it, but 3DS finally has the ability to play downloadable demos. Unfortunately, most of these demos don’t show up until a week or so before the games’ release dates, making them a lot less useful in terms of gauging consumer interest. They’d be much more helpful if they were available to the public at around the same time that they become available to the gaming media.
They’d also be more helpful if they were more ubiquitous in general. Not every game sees a demo release – and most first-party games don’t get demos at all. Demos are my personal favorite way to judge my interest in upcoming games – especially after getting the chance to play them en masse at E3 these last two years – and if Nintendo goes all-out with demo downloads on Wii U, I’ll have a lot more confidence in its game library.
That Game That Blows Everything Else Out of the Water
Every Nintendo system sees the release of a big “hook” that exemplifies the potential of the system as a serious gaming device. For NES, it was Super Mario Bros. For SNES, it was Donkey Kong Country. For N64, it was Super Mario 64. For GameCube, it was Metroid Prime. And for Wii, it was Super Mario Galaxy.
So far, however, Wii U seems to be left out. That’s not to say its catalog is bad by any means – sporting a new Super Mario Bros. game at launch already puts the system at an advantage compared to its closest predecessors – it’s just missing that big, impressive exclusive game.
Will it be a new Metroid game from Retro Studios? The cutting-edge Zelda teased at last year’s E3? A brand-new IP that manages to capitalize on the Wii U’s massive boost in power? Whatever it is, Nintendo’s been keeping it tightly under wraps. Will the big game everyone is waiting for – if it even exists – finally burst into the light this fall?
Bonus: Bundle with Included Hard Drive
A lot of people are raising hell because Wii U’s going to include flash storage in a similar manner to its predecessor instead of a full-blown hard drive. I’ll agree that offering all games in downloadable form doesn’t really make sense if the system’s internal storage is capped at 8GB as rumors suggest. What better way to appease this crowd than by releasing a slightly pricier bundle that comes with a hard drive?