Before you read anything else about this article, before even a single letter more ran across your eyes and into your head, you already knew what this was going to be about. With November 2013 giving us a handful of beautiful games and two very
successful console launches, only one console has been labeled as so up-creek-without-a-paddle that even a flawless 10/10 game could barely move units.
And no, I'm not talking about the Vita.
Nintendo has had a rough way going for a while now as far as the console business goes. Sales for the 64 were alright, but nothing mind-boggling. The Gamecube? A beautiful, beautiful system with a library of games that is cherished more and more as time goes on, but also a noteworthy misstep that sold just a fourth as many units as its biggest competitor. Only with the Wii did good ol' Ninty find a large audience for their consoles in the modern era, yet even then they found a backlash from gamers who screamed against the mountains of shovelware titles.
Despite this, with more money in the bank than ever before, Nintendo was ready to join in on the HD gaming era after a full generation of lagging behind. However, clearly wanting to ride off the success of the Wii in order to maximize sales, they decided to re-use most of the Wii controllers, use similar icons by keeping Miis around, and using a name reminiscent of the hundred million unit-selling system.
This is where things took a turn for the worse.
That's pretty obviously a Wii U, right? Looks pretty different to me than the Wii. It's black, for starters, and it's shaped a bit differently than the Wii. As far as new consoles go, "a big, black box" is pretty much all you need in order to say that it's actually new. That's all they would have had to have shown, and everyone, EVERYONE would have known that the Wii U is something new.
It's never that simple, though.
"It's a new controller!" some people cried after seeing the uninformative trailer.
"No, it's a new console!... I think..." stated some, confused by the higher-resolution Miis.
"But it shows people playing with the old controllers, too! It must just be a new controller... with a screen..." said the vast majority of consumers.
It saddened me to hear this confusion from the people around me. I certainly couldn't say it was obviously
a new console, but it was enough! Or, at least, it was for me. Needless to say that few people shared my sentiment, with only four million people owning the console worldwide after the year of fun I had been having with it. Probably just my bias, though.
Really, what made me sad wasn't the fact that people weren't buying the console. Rather, it was seeing Nintendo become the laughing stock of the business, if only for a brief moment. To me, it was like seeing an old friend you had looked up to for so long make a stupid mistake and end up ridiculed. You can't really do anything about it, because they really kind of deserve it for trying to pull something like that. It's just... why did it have to come to that?
My love for the publisher is really the source of all of my feelings about the Wii U. I didn't grow up in the Super Nintendo years, but it was still my first console because my parents got it for cheap and didn't trust the life span of anything above the price of $50. I wasn't athletic at all, and being an introverted kid meant I didn't have much else to do as far as entertainment, so I immediately fell in love with it. I had four games: Super Mario World, Kirby Super Star, Donkey Kong Country, and Turtles in Time. I don't think I could have asked for a better gaming childhood. To top it off, I also had acquired a Gameboy Color and a copy of Pokemon Yellow over the course of my youth, instilling in me a pride of the games I played and of the publisher that brought them to me.
Time went on and as it did, my library expanded. Zelda became my favorite game franchise ever once I played Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, the Gamecube showed me the current classics like Wind Waker, Sunshine, and Luigi's Mansion─games that I loved even at the time, despite everyone's hatred of them─and even the Wii gave me years of entertainment, shovelware and all.
The Wii U came out, and I was there on day one to purchase it and support my old friend. I went home, played NSMBU, and had a blast, just like always. However, sales reports started coming back shortly thereafter, and... the rest is history.
I still love my Wii U, and I'm glad I bought it on day one despite the very real reasons that people didn't buy it alongside me─particularly, the lack of a better library of games up until very recently. As a huge fan of Nintendo, it saddens me to see the path that Nintendo has gone down very recently with their HD console, but in the end, it doesn't matter. I love the games Nintendo makes, and as long as they keep making them, I'll still buy them. Even if I'm the only one.
On the bright side, though, there's still the 3DS.