Giving Thanks: Wii U


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[Dtoid community blogger ocelot89 is thankful for the Wii U. There's no better feeling than embracing something and feeling like you have come home. Want to see your own stuff appear on the front page? Go write something! --Occams Electric Toothbrush]

Like many other gamers, I grew up with Nintendo. My dad had a NES when I was too young to remember it. Some of the Super Nintendo's later titles are what got me into gaming (Donkey Kong Country 2 and Super Mario RPG to be exact). It was in the N64 era when I really started to identify as a gamer. I stuck with Nintendo through the GameCube era and bought a Wii mainly so I could play Twilight Princess. However, my console preference definitely shifted to the PS3 last generation.

My big issue with Nintendo throughout the GameCube and Wii generations was that I felt that they gave up on their consoles too quickly. Once they'd put out the requisite Mario/Zelda, etc or whatever their third tier franchise happened to be within the first 2 years, the lineup dried up almost completely.

Nintendo has won me back over with the Wii U.

I bought my Wii U in early 2013 after the tragic death of my PS3. I figured that, at the very least, I could catch up on some Wii games I missed out on while I waited for the next-gen consoles to be released. My first game was New Super Mario Bros. U. Where others found repetition, I was impressed. I had played the first NSMB game on the DS in 2006, but I hadn't played one since then and so I viewed NSMBU as a big step forward.

Then, there was silence. I bought ZombiU and Monster Hunter, but I couldn't get into either of them. I bought a few of the third party titles like Assassin's Creed III and Darksiders II, but I couldn't get into them. For most of summer 2013, my most played game was Runner2 (though I did play Donkey Kong Country Returns and Metroid Prime 3--two Wii gems that I'd missed out on).

New Super Luigi U showed me a side of Nintendo I hadn't seen in a long time. This game (or expansion) is designed to test the player's platforming skills. It's difficult and I love it. They kept delivering. The Wii U release of EarthBound did a lot to earn my goodwill as it was a game that I had loved as a kid. Pikmin 3 was alright. But Super Mario 3D World was truly something remarkable.

Have you ever enjoyed a game so much that you want to thank the developers for making it and giving you this euphoric experience? That's how I felt about Super Mario 3D World. I was in a state of pure bliss while I played that game. Sure, it was familiar territory at first, but then I unlocked the endgame content and, oh man, was I in for a treat. Brutal level after brutal level. It all culminated with Champion's Road. I must've died 300 times trying to beat that level. I spent an entire week on it (all the while listening to the Dismal Jesters podcast in the background). Finally I beat it. And when I was done, do you know what I felt like? I felt like a fucking gamer. I felt like that was a title I had earned and that I had proven myself by beating this insane level.  

I can't help but marvel at the genius of this game design. A 10-year-old might beat the main game in Super Mario 3D World and feel like he or she accomplished something. But then, it's also designed so that an adult with years of gaming experience can play through the endgame content and feel that same satisfaction.

It didn't stop there. If you have a Wii U and you don't own Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, you're fucking up. This game was a platformer's heaven. It's a masterpiece. Everything about it--the music, the level design, the art direction--ties together beautifully. Again, I had that feeling of being thankful that the developers made such a great game knowing that the sales potential of the title was handicapped by the Wii U's userbase.

This summer...yes, there was Mario Kart 8 (the DLC looks fantastic, btw). But, my two favorite games had to be Shovel Knight and 1,001 Spikes. They're available on other consoles, but I just feel like they fit the Wii U vibe.

This Fall, I've been treated to Hyrule Warriors and its my first foray into Dynasty Warriors territory and Bayonetta 2 which I haven't played nearly enough of yet. With the trailer for Splatoon that came out on November 5th and Zelda U on the horizon, I'm confident that Nintendo is going to keep delivering throughout 2015.

What I'm truly thankful for this year is the fact that Nintendo has not only continued to deliver quality products despite the poor sales of the Wii U, but has taken steps to cater to the hardcore gaming market--the opposite of what they did last gen and what many others are currently doing. So thank you Nintendo, for making the Wii U a console worth owning, worth bragging about, and worth gaming on. Thank you for delivering games that have both reminded me of the Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda games I played as a child while challenging me as an adult. And thank you for staying committed to perfecting games when many others would have our hobby merge with film and/or television.

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