Okay, so I don’t know much about modern console gaming. I really don’t care about Call of Duty or Fallout 3 or Halo beyond the record-breaking sales reported in Variety. In fact, you can count me among those consumers stolen away by the iPhone, because I can have a bunch of sweet games — plus my email and my web browser and my music and my movies and my Savage Love App — in one device.
Consider that last sentence, and then consider I am the exact kind of consumer that Nintendo has railed against Apple for stealing. Then consider my disappointment over the spec announcements for the Wii U at this year’s E3 event, and consider once more that I’m the exact kind of consumer Nintendo doesn’t want alienate any further.
The Wii U sucks. There. I said it. I’m probably not the first, but there it is. And any cool game they can add or any social media platform they can devise won’t change it. The problem is the idea is so completely dated that it’s backwards. In a sense, the Wii U is the cousin-humping South of the gaming industry.
The Wii U is supposed to be Nintendo’s tablet, which was an announcement good enough to make me pay attention. I love Nintendo-style games because of their clever innovations while maintaining fantastic simplicity and vibrant color schemes — like the Pixar of the gaming industry. They make games that I want to play, but merely don’t have the time because I’m always on the go. All I’ve wanted is Mario Galaxy on a train, Zelda on a plane. A tablet that combines everything an iPad or Android tablet can do, but with joysticks and D-pads for awesome gaming I can play at home on my TV or while waiting at the doctor’s office, is the sort of wet dream that could bring me, the convenience-seeking consumer, back to the console fold.
But then there’s the bomb: The Wii U requires you to be attached to a console. This means that is isn”t a tablet at all, really. It’s just another console that requires me to sit at home.
But oh! You say is has a high definition screen? So does the iPad. You say it can run Hulu and Netflix? So does the iPad. In a sense, the Wii U does what an iPad already can do, but you can now take your favorite mushroom-stomping plumbers with you while taking a twosie (just in case of a clog).
This sort of news is equivalent to somebody shouting, “Hey, we have pizza!” Excited, you head over and they say, “Well, we gotta go to Pizza Hut to get it.” And even though you have to travel and even though it will be Pizza Hut, you are still excited to be eating pizza. But then on the way, everyone around you agrees that the buffet will be the best bet due to the number of people in the group, and you consider that the pizza will be stale from sitting under a hot lamp all afternoon. But it’s still f***ing pizza, right?
Then you arrive, and all they have is salad. Nobody actually wants salad at a Pizza Hut. Not even vegans want salad at a Pizza Hut.
That’s what the Wii U is like. Don’t give me the ability to move my gameplay from TV to tablet if I have to put one tablet down and pick up another, more superior tablet when I’m leaving the house. It’s 2012, and we’re frankly better than that.
But maybe the tech isn’t there yet. Maybe I, like so many other non-gamers, are just ill-informed as to what will actually be a revolution for gaming. Like cavemen cursing the rain because it makes us wet, not knowing that it’s actually pretty nifty when we give it a chance.
But then I think about Nintendo’s concern over the loss of customers to Apple, and then I start to wonder if they are really the cavemen here. Painting the walls with bubbly long-tongued dinosaurs and hot chicks in awesome armor, they think their adventures should be limited to the cave. Meanwhile, the rest of us have iPhones and iPads.
I’m sure Sony or Microsoft will figure out the brilliance behind a proper gaming tablet with a disc drive (to ensure that high quality image) that can be thrown up on a TV when the consumer gets home. But I’ll hardly care. I want Super Smash Bros. I want GoldenEye007. I want my Nintendo. And I want it while sitting in a park, surrounding by singing birds and f***ing cherubs playing harps.