Now you're playing with storage... super storage
It may have taken nearly two years, but the Nintendo Wii U finally has some killer apps and a consumer-friendly digital download service. Now that you can get games like Super Smash Bros. and Bayonetta 2 via download, there's only one obstacle in your way: the Wii U's meager 8 or 32 gigabyte internal hard drive.
After you've maxed out the system's internal storage (which will usually take only one or two retail-released games or just a handful of eShop indies), you can take solace in the fact that there are cost-effective options to massively increase your space for Wii U downloads. We've rounded up options for every type of Wii U gamer and ranked the picks for each hard drive size. Regardless of what you pick, a USB Y-adapter is recommended, as most of these picks require extra power that the adapter can help route to your precious storage.
The Bayonetta 2 option... 2 TB hard drives
If you're the rare breed of Nintendo fan who's completely sworn off physical media for good, you'll want to get the maximum-sized hard drive for your digital downloads like the 32.2 GB allocation you'll need for Bayonetta 1 and 2. The largest amount of space the Wii U will allocate on a hard drive is 2 TB, and here's our three favorites at that size that cost roughly the price of a special edition retail release.
GOLD (best value): Buffalo Drivestation
SILVER: Seagate Backup Plus
BRONZE: Toshiba Canvio
The Watch Dogs preference... 1 TB hard drives
If you're planning on picking up a few downloadable games over the next few years (and have a soft spot for unique retail releases like New Super Luigi U's green box), then a single terabyte might be enough to satisfy your download storage desires. If you're going to be snagging games like Watch Dogs (which will take up 17 GB of storage) here are several hard drives which will give you plenty of space for around the cost of a new Wii U game.
GOLD (best value): Storite
SILVER: Western Digital WD Elements
BRONZE: Toshiba Canvio
The Super Smash Bros. selection... 650-750 GB hard drives
If you tend to pick up discs on a case-by-case basis (no pun intended), making your choice based on convenience and bargain-hunting, a hard drive in the 650 to 750 GB range will probably be enough. While it may reach capacity after a few eShop sprees, you can get these hard drives for less than the price of a new copy of the 15.6 GB Super Smash Bros for Wii U:
GOLD (best value): Bipra 750 GB
SILVER: Storite 640 GB
BRONZE: Toshiba 750 GB
The Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze pick... 500 GB hard drives
You're usually the type to pick up new Wii U games at your local game store, but you've got a few games you want to keep on heavy rotation and just a GamePad screen-tap away. Whether you're having friends over for some Just Dance or want to show off the colorful locales captured in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze's 11.4 GB, a half-terabyte of storage space will suffice. For less than Tropical Freeze's $50 price tag, you can get 500 GB hard drives like these:
GOLD (best value): Bipra External Portable
SILVER: Toshiba Canvio
The Rayman Legends selection... 250-320 GB hard drives
It snowed last night, and the streets haven't been plowed. You've got the flu and can't walk more than a block without getting woozy. Wouldn't you like to have the backup option to get a game like the 6.73 GB Rayman Legends from the comfort of your couch? In that case, these hard drives in the 250-300 GB range will do just fine as long as you practice some eShop restraint:
GOLD (best value): Bipra 320 GB
SILVER: Storite 250 GB
The Mario Kart 8 option... 100-200 GB hard drives
If you're not sure you'll be downloading many Wii U games - maybe you just bought the console, or perhaps you want to dip your toe into downloads before ditching discs - then a smaller-sized hard drive will serve as a nice starter. For less than half of the cost of Mario Kart 8 (which will only take up a modest 4.9 GB), you can get these though you may soon change your mind when the eShop busts out some holiday sales:
GOLD (best value): 160 GB
SILVER: 120 GB
The NES Remix realization... sub-100GB hard drives
Okay, you get everything on disc, but guess what? Some of the Wii U's greatest games won't ever be on disc. Sure, on a rare occasion, Nintendo might later decide to put a game like NES Remix (the downloadable version is a mere 403 MB) onto a disc, but if you're going to get download-only indie games and the ever-growing Virtual Console catalogue, you'll probably want a bit more space beware, though, as you'll be less than 3 Bayonetta bundles away from needing an upgrade:
GOLD (best value): Storite (80 GB)
Play it loud, play it large
Have you picked up a Wii U hard drive? If so, what size? How much of the hard drive have you filled so far? Aren't you glad Nintendo doesn't measure these games in 'blocks'? We're suckers for this kind of data, so please sound off about these topics below. We've got plenty of space to remember.