Wii U Countdown: 3 days, and we’re pulling into the station

Sections: Columns, Consoles, Features, Originals, Wii U

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On the way home from work today I stopped off to pick up some dog treats and other stuff from the local Target (or, as I like to call it, Not Walmart). Got those, some AA batteries, and something for my wife that you all don’t want to hear about. But while there, I swung up to the electronics section to see if a Wii U display was up for my gratification. Sure enough…

Wii U Station at Target

Seeing it, I was immediately struck by two things. 1.) Kind of unimpressive smashed in there between the Xbox and PS3 stuff, and 2.) Why was nobody playing it? I got my answer to the second question the moment I picked up the GamePad; there were no games. A bunch of game trailers, but no actual gameplay; the demo button on the touchscreen was grayed out for everything.

Wii U Station at Target

But no matter, as it was still great to get a good sense of the GamePad. It’s lighter than you may think, and quite comfortable to hold. The buttons were well placed for my thumbs, but I have fairly largely hands. Smaller children may have some trouble with this.

Even better is the ergonomic design, which seems it’ll be comfortable to hold for prolonged gaming sessions. The light weight is great, of course, as your arms won’t get tired by simply using it. But better, the ridges on the back make it more natural to hold than, say, the iPad, to which I’ll likely be comparing it for a while. Whereas the iPad is designed to be slim and suit multiple purposes, the Wii U GamePad is made specifically to be held for gaming purposes, obviously. Remember how natural the Wii Remote and Nunchuck felt when you first picked them up? You’ll likely have the same reaction with the GamePad.

Wii U Station at Target

The weight and curved back ends serve another purpose, too; the GamePad will be easy to grasp with one hand. This had occurred to me when watching demos and trailers of people using a stylus or swiping on the screen; will it be awkward to hold with one hand while using actions with the other? Nope…at least not for the brief period during which I used it at Target. After just holding the GamePad for a while and being reminded of how large the screen is, it occurred to me that I’m more more excited about the gaming possibilities it presents than I ever was by the motion controls of the Wii Remote.

The demo station had no games out yet, nor any Wii U-specific accessories. However, the standard Wii Remote and Nunchuck boxes had all been update with new packaging that focuses on the Wii, and includes a small stamp indicating they’re also compatible with the Wii.

So, it’s obvious that Nintendo is ready to go. Target looks ready to go, too. Am I? Nope. Still don’t know what game(s) to pick up with it, but I guess I have a few more days to decide. Any suggestions?

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  • Jay

    You should check out your local Toys R US, I bought Assassins Creed 3 for the Wii U today, they have a buy 1 get one 1/2 off on all Wii U, 360, and PS3 games. Besides AC3 they had Madden, FIFA, and COD BLOPS II, didnt want any of those so I just picked up Dishonered for the 360. Deals only good through Saturday.

    • Kirk Hiner

      Thanks. I’ll wait until Saturday to see if their selection improves by then, as I’m with you…the only game that intrigues me from those you mentioned is AC3.

      • Jay

        Yeah I was hoping they would have Epic Mickey want to get that as a game to play with my daughter.

  • Jeffrey Davis

    As both a frequent reader and a contributor here, I should note (as an addendum here) that this likely won’t stay as-is for long. In fact, the only Wii U demo station in my area – which of course is at a GameStop – already has an active demo of Rayman Legends at the very least, and I’m sure that additional demo content will be made available in the future. So this is by no means a contender for a long-term issue thereof.

    • Kirk Hiner

      After the release of the Wii U, I’ll likely use the demo stations to try out potential purchases, provided I can get a decent amount of time on them during the holiday shopping season. Great for taking the kids to try out various games to see what they like.

  • Aas

    Go to best buy you can play Rayman legends

  • Obiwan362

    I’m also having issues deciding what games I want. I got the deluxe, so I’m getting Nintendo Land (which I feel is a must anyway), and my friends and I want to do a walkthrough of NSMB Wii U, so I’m picking that up as well, but I have just enough in the budget for one more. Arkham City is sounding like a must have, since I have Asylum, loved it, but never got City. ZombiU sounds promising, but scary games scare me. ACIII, but I still haven’t beat I and II (along with all the other ones). I read your article talking about Warriors Orochi, and now THAT’S tempting. Ninja Gaiden seems like something I might want to try. I think I’m sold on Batman, but I feel like I just don’t want to commit yet.

    • Kirk Hiner

      Batman would definitely be on my short list, as I also loved Arkham Asylum, but I’ll be reviewing that for OS X soon and don’t want to run through it twice so quickly…although it could be interesting to see what the Wii U functionality brings to the game vs. the standard console/PC version.

  • Dominic Leighton

    I’m getting the ZombiU pack so along with that I think New Super Mario Bros U and Nintendoland will be the games I pick up at launch. Beyond them I’m hugely torn if I was to get a fourth game – games I’m considering are Mass Effect 3, Sonic Racing Transformed, Ninja Gaiden 3, Assassins Creed 3, Warriors Orochi and Black Ops 2 at a push. However, with Christmas coming up I may justt hold off so that people have stuff to get me!