What wins a Launchie?
Finally! A new console has launched, giving gamers all over the world a chance to spend too much money on an incrementally better piece of soon-outdated hardware so they can play games that came out eight months ago. We kid! We kid! That means its time for us to give out awards to the best, worst, and strangest things to happen now that the hardware is in the wild. Weve counted up the ballots, tallied the votes, and come up with the awards that matter most for the Nintendo Wii U launch.
Take a look, and let us know what other categories we should include in the Nintendo Wii U launch awards!
Greatest original Mario launch game since Super Mario 64: New Super Mario Bros U
The Wii's Mario launch game? We barely remember it. The 3DS's? Who can even name it? We can't even tell you what the GameCube's Mario launch game was called, it was that forgettable. But New Super Mario Bros. U is better than any Nintendo Mario launch title since Super Mario 64, and for that it deserves our praise.
Best Wii U model: The Deluxe
With 32GB of storage, a stand, and a dock for the Wii U GamePad, the Deluxe edition of the Wii U is definitely the one to go with if it's available. Congratulations, Deluxe, you've earned it.
Worst Wii U model: Basic
Sure, 8GB seems like its way too little hard drive space for a console released in 2012, but... well... the system actually only has about 3GB after patches and stuff are installed. So, yeah, this one most likely isnt for you.
Game that most makes us wish that the Wii U launched with a Pokemon game: Skylanders Giants
Come on! How did Activision really beat Nintendo to toys that unlock video game characters? We have a feeling that Iwata cut off, like, two-dozen heads once he saw Skylanders, just to prove how pissed off he was. And then Nintendo doesn't even release a Pokemon game that uses the GamePad's built-in NFC receiver for launch, and we need to sit around looking at Skylanders Giants acting like we're alright with it not being a Pokemon game? *flips table*
Best use of the GamePad we underestimated: Playing games exclusively on the GamePad
We remember when Nintendo talked about this feature at E3. They were all like, "Yeah you'll totally be able to play able to play Mario on the GamePad while you poop and it'll rock," and we were like "LOL no because it's HD who will ever do that?" Turns out we will. Being able to play games (or browse the web) on the tablet while someone else does something else on the TV is more of a game-changer than we thought. Well played.
Coolest thing that we thought would be lame: Miiverse
Again, we totally didn't expect this to be as cool as it was. Already we've found ourselves browsing the Miiverse for art, and commenting on different questions people post. It's like individual message boards for every game you own that you can activate while you play. Better yet is how it interfaces with NSMBU, bringing in comments and displaying them in the game itself!
Thing that is only theoretically cool and actually a few updates from usefulness: Miiverse
and when it works more consistently, and is easier to use, will be totally rad. Right now, though, it's very beta-y, and it'll be at least a few months before Nintendo actually morphs it into something useful.
Most needed peripheral: Third party hard drive/Wiimote
This one is a tie. If you don't have the Deluxe edition, you're definitely going to need a hard drive, so be sure to get one (with an external power source) right away. If you do have one, though, you still need a Wiimote, because a bunch of the games require it. There's a 99% chance you have one already, but just in case you don't
The single best thing about the Wii U and also video games in general: The Yeah Button
How did society make it this far without being able to Yeah (or, inversely, Unyeah) pictures of Bowser high-fiving Mario? Were not sure, but were pretty stoked that we now have that option.
The best feature that didn't actually make launch: TVii
Remember when Nintendo talked up how awesome TVii would be? We do. We even wrote an editorial about how awesome the feature sounded, and how excited we were to try it out at launch. And then... it didnt make launch. Whoops.
Best downloadable content: 4GB day-one patch
Seriously, what an awesome update! Before the DLC was released you couldn't use online, the Miiverse didn't exist, and you couldn't even play Wii games. After that DLC, though, the system was suddenly super functional! How did we live without it?
The biggest issue we hope gets fixed in an upcoming update: Poorly-organized eShop
The 3DS's eShop is notoriously poorly-designed. Things are randomly dumped into different sections that seem arbitrarily organized--and though the Wii U's eShop is better, it's not by much. Things are still categorized randomly with titles that make no sense. It's a relatively easy fix, and we're hoping it comes soon.
The biggest issue that can't be fixed in an upcoming update: Wii U GamePad's battery life
We haven't done any formal tests yet, but there's no denying that the GamePad starts screaming to be plugged in far sooner than we would have liked. Three or four hours into a game the red light comes on, and it's going to take a third-party peripheral or a redesign to fix that.
Best game you played several months ago: Batman: Arkham City
Man, remember when you played Arkham City last year? It was crazy! Easily one of the best games of the year--easily! Oh, and it's out on the Wii U now, with some cool features and touchscreen stuff. And everyone is wearing armor.
Best game you didn't even know was coming out: Little Inferno
We have a feeling that most people didn't expect there to be any eShop games at launch, but not only were there some (like, three or four!), they were all pretty cool. The best is likely Little Inferno, made by the developers of Henry Hatsworth and World of Goo. Who knew?!
Feature we wish existed when we were 13: 5-player multiplayer
Just imagine how many more hours of gaming you would have played during your teen years if your game console could allow just one more player. The Wii U features five-player split screen in some games (with the fifth on the GamePad), which, while not all that groundbreaking for adults, would have been a dream come true if we still played a ton of local games. We're jealous of you, younglings.
Best thing to do with the surprisingly strong Wii U browser: Visit GamesRadar
The Wii U's browser is surprisingly strong, and it's super easy to load it up and visit GamesRadar, your favorite gaming site. You can check out our features, browse some guides, or even watch hilarious videos! You should totally do it unless you're reading this from a Wii U already meta.
Scariest, most frightening game that'll make you scream in horror: Luigi's Ghost Mansion in Nintendo Land
When you're playing as a ghost hunter and your flashlight is flickering and your Wiimote is vibrating and AHH! We're getting horrific flashbacks just thinking about it.
Honorable mention: Anything involving Monita in Nintendo Land. She scares us.
Wed like to thank the academy
Well, wasnt that thrilling? We think it was thrilling. It was thrilling. Thats it for the Wii U Launch Awards, thanks for joining us, and be sure to tune back in the next time a console maker decides its time to force everyone to spend several hundred dollars on a shiny new box to play games on. Take care!