The Rob shares his thoughts about Nintendo's newest gaming console inside!

In November Nintendo released its latest console gaming system, the Wii U.  While I was there on the launch day, I have been waiting for the perfect moment to sit down and actually review the system and all it has to offer.  Hopefully, this will clear up some questions you may have about the latest innovation in video gaming.


The question I seem to get asked the most is easily “What does the “U” in “Wii U” stand for?” This can be a frustrating question to answer for two reasons; first because the “U” doesn’t actually stand for anything specific; and secondly because why are you picking on the “U”…  WTF does “Wii” mean anyway?  It’s just a fun-sounding made up word, and now it has an arbitrary random letter behind it.


Because the name is so similar to its processor the Wii, many people assume they don’t need the latest iteration, but that thinking is also flawed.  Or, it’s at least like thinking I already have a PlayStation 2, why would I need a PlayStation 3?  While I think people are now familiar with the over-six-year-old PlayStation 3’s differences between its big brother PlayStation 3, they may not be aware of the new generation of the Wii.


The Wii U is not an upgrade to the Wii…  It’s a complete stand-alone system.  A new one will run you $299.99 for a basic set, or $349.99 for a Deluxe model that I assure you is worth the extra $50.00.  While it will continue play your Wii games (although it won’t read those miniscule GameCube discs), there is a whole fresh crop of games on the way that will only be playable on the Wii U.  Games are still being produced for the “old Wii,” but Nintendo will soon cease production of those and focus on its newest console.


For the first time in the history of Nintendo, games are now playable in high definition.  The games are stored on blu-ray-like discs and graphically Nintendo is finally on par with its competition from Sony and Microsoft.  Also for the first time, users can attach an external hard-drive (up to 2 TB) to their Nintendo system if they run out of the 32 GB that comes installed on the deluxe model (standard models pack a measly 8 GB).


Where gamers can expect to SAVE money is on all of the accessories…  Because chances are you already have them.  Not only does Wii U play your old Wii games, but it will also recognize all of your Wii’s extra crap, like your controllers, nunchucks, and balance boards.


Without question the biggest innovation with Nintendo’s Wii U is the new “Gamepad” controller.   It’s part video game controller, part tablet.  There’s a 7 in. full-touch screen that operates much like an iPad built right into the controller…  Stylus included!  It’s got a camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, a headphone jack and much more built right in.  That camera is already capable of some pretty incredible things, like inserting your face into a game, building Miis, and live videochatting.  The bulk of the system is definitely the controller.


The controller opens up whole new worlds to gaming audiences.  Since one player is going to have their own separate screen while playing, their experience will be very different from the (up to) four that are playing on the main television screen.  This experience is called “asymmetrical gameplay,” and is already being utilized in cool new ways to give players a very unique gaming experience.


Another feature of the controller is that, for many games, you can walk away from the television and still play the game you’re playing fluidly.  While single people like me may not find that very advantageous, people who have to fight with family members or roommates about television time will find this to be very handy.  If you’re playing your game and your wife wants to put on “Gray’s Anatomy” or something, you’ll have no problem giving her TV rights…  You’ll be holding yours in your hand!  This is also useful for female gamers during sports season!


The measure of any gaming system is never decided in the first few months, though, but through years of great games and developer support, something Nintendo has always had.  Just yesterday, Nintendo announced new a new 3D Mario game, a new Mario Kart game, and a new Zelda game amongst others!


When the time is right, I expect you’ll find this Wii U in nearly as many households as the original Wii is in now.  I’ve already finished three games completely on the system, and I’ll follow this review up with some reviews in the coming weeks of what is obviously the most important part of any console’s lifespan…  THE GAMES!