If so, could the next Year of Luigi be far behind?
[CJ and Holmes Disagree is a series where Destructoid Features editor CJ Andriessen and washed-up Dtoid Show host Jonathan Holmes disagree about video games. Who will you agree or disagree with?]
Sheltering at home hasn’t been too tough for me, but for my four-year-old son, it’s been a huge adjustment. With no pre-school, parks, trips to the mall, or playdates with friends, we’ve had to get creative in order to stave off boredom and keep him learning. The Wii U has helped a lot with that, much more so than the Switch. Not only is the Wii U GamePad more resilient to accidental falls than its younger, more successful sibling, but the touch screen + TV interaction has done a ton to make games more interesting and fun for him.
That’s true for me too. When the new update for Super Mario Maker 2 was announced last week, I was instantly excited. Then I remembered, “Wait, if I’m going to play this on the TV, that means no touch-screen user interface for building new levels,” and my interest dropped like a stone down a warp pipe.
That’s just the start of my “games that feel worse on Switch” list. Captain Toad was way more fun with the touch screen and Super Mario 3D World even uses the GamePad microphone. Splatoon 2 is better than the first in almost every way, but without the original’s map screen squid jump and loading time mini-games on Splatoon 1, it will never have it all. Local matches of Pokkén Tournament feel a lot less cramped on Wii U thanks to the dual screens (one for each player). On Wii U, The Wonderful 101‘s many dual-screen specific puzzles are clunky, but they at least feel inspired (like me in this beauty contest). On Switch, they’re smoother but way more tired (like me in this E3 video).
So if just about all of the Wii U’s software is getting ported to Switch, why can’t the Wii U’s signature piece of hardware? It wouldn’t be cheap, and tech-wise, it wouldn’t be easy for Nintendo, but I think it would sell. Give Switch-only games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons optional second-screen functionality (Nook Phone and item selection on a touch screen) and you have a deluxe experience with a huge audience. A lot of people didn’t buy a Wii U because they assumed it was just a peripheral. If Nintendo were to lean into that assumption instead of struggling against it, everybody wins.
CJ: First of all, thank you for not complaining about having to be home with a kid during our current era of social distancing. As somebody who lives alone, there is nothing more bothersome than the cries of people who’ve run out of stuff to do when they have spouses, kids, and/or pets at their home. Even I don’t want to complain because at least I have a full apartment for myself. I imagine this is a more trying time for somebody who shares an apartment and maybe doesn’t get along with their roommate so they’re just holed up in their bedroom.
But anyway, that’s beside the point. You want to talk about the Wii U tablet, specifically why it should be ported to Switch. Which, by the way, will never happen. Never…ever…ever. If Nintendo officially ports the Wii U tablet to the Switch, I will post a video of myself to PornHub. That’s how confident I am in this never happening.
Now, your point isn’t that it will, but that it should. Looking at what you wrote, I can see myself agreeing with the ideas you’re presenting. Yes, some franchises were more fun to play on Wii U than Switch because of the controller. While I don’t agree Splatoon is one of them, Super Mario Maker 2 just isn’t the same without that Wii U tablet. Behind the scenes, we both talked about how The Wonderful 101 will likely lose the charm of the original with what is sure to be a homogenized control scheme. That’s something of a recurring concept on the Switch as I was just going over my review for The World Ends with You: Final Remix this weekend, lamenting on how much better I wanted that game to be.
I could argue a bunch of false dichotomy fallacies right now about how there are better ways for Nintendo to spend its time, but that won’t be necessary. Despite how much I love the Wii U tablet, more than I love the Joy-Con controllers and the stupid left-stick drift, there is no reason to bother porting the device to Switch because, as we’ve seen from every Wii U port to the console, those games can get by just fine without it.
Super Mario Maker 2 may not have the same instinctual nature as its predecessor, but can you honestly tell me every other Wii U port is worse off without the tablet? Is New Super Mario Bros. U better on the Wii U than Switch? Of course not. It’s a terrible game on both consoles. Or look at Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze (with New Funky Mode). Is that categorically worse on Switch than it was in its original format? Same question for Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker, and Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition. Did any of those games greatly benefit from the Wii U tablet that makes them unquestionably superior when playing on the old hardware?
I argue no, and that, outside of Super Mario Maker, Nintendo didn’t come close to reaching the full potential of the tablet controller. Only one game took the tablet and explored unique and incredible ideas with it, and Nintendo didn’t make it. NapNok Games made it and it’s called Affordable Space Adventures and anyone who still owns a Wii U should buy it if they’re looking for a co-op title.
I like the Wii U tablet. It was comfortable to hold and while it was perfectly suited for almost every Nintendo game released on the console (except for Pikmin 3 which is miles better with the Wiimote + Nunchuck setup; I don’t care what you think, come at me, Mr. Carter), the use of the tablet didn’t define the gameplay. That’s why they’re so easy to port to Switch. I get you may have more treasured memories of playing these games on the Wii U, and I’m sure that has nothing to do with showing how much of a real Nintendo fan you are compared to people who skipped the console, but Nintendo doesn’t need to keep thinking like it’s still 2012.
Also, what is this “everybody wins” nonsense? Do you know who doesn’t win when Nintendo adds Wii U tablet support to its current games? People who don’t own a Wii U tablet, which is a lot of people.
Holmes: Fair points as always CJ, but I was so blinded with rage after you started calling the Wii U GamePad a “tablet” that it was a little hard to concentrate on the rest. I think my Grinch-like, tech-semantics-loving heart shrank three sizes just now.
How about you, dear reader? Would you use the Wii U GamePad or another “tablet-esque” controller for Switch games if you could? Do you think something of value was lost when the Wii U died besides the ease of using touch-screen controls to build levels in Mario Maker? Perhaps most importantly, will you please get off your ass and force Nintendo to port the Wii U GamePad to Switch so we hold CJ to his promise to make a porno?