The Nintendo Wii U turns 5 years old

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November 18, 2012 was a big day; Nintendo had just released its latest console onto the market. The Wii U was ready for the spotlight, armed with its tablet controller and exclusives like Nintendoland and New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo was ready to move into the "HD" era. Offering two variations, a white 8GB console that retailed for $299.99, and a 32GB black version, for $349.99. Bundled with it came the infamous Wii U tablet controller, Nintendoland, and the system itself. Those who purchased the console on launch also had access to third party ports and titles like Assassin's Creed III, Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, and Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed. It was a modest lineup, and many people balked at the mildly outdated technology and few games offered. Nintendo had high hopes for its console, projecting sales of 90 million units.

The Wii U would go on to get mild third party support, with ports of games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate, and Mass Effect 3. Ubisoft had planned to really back the Wii U, but when sales weren't up to expectations, the publisher began to turn its back on the console, to the point of taking the then to-be Wii U exclusive Rayman Legends, and making it multiplatform. Competition from stronger consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 further hurt the Wii U, as customers weren't swayed to buy a weaker console with few exclusives. Nintendo looked to be in a bind--their 2013 lineup would be crucial if they wanted to turn around their low sales.

The following year brought a good chunk of games to the table. There was a mainline Mario game in the co-op focused platformer, Super Mario 3D World. A classic Zelda game from the GameCube era got a fresh coat of high def paint with Wind Waker HD. Pikmin 3 hit store shelves to moderate praise, and SEGA signed a contract with Nintendo to create three Sonic games for the Wii U, one of which being Sonic Lost World. However, it wasn't enough. Sales foundered, and the Wii U continued being ridiculed by many.

2014 was certainly a turnaround year for the system. Nintendo came out of the gate strong; their highly anticipated Super Smash Bros. title was released after years of teasing. SEGA had given an unlikely sequel in the form of Bayonetta 2. In-house studio Retro put out what was considered one of the best platformers in years: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Nintendo fans cheered as a new Mario Kart game finally revved into full gear. An even more unlikely alliance occurred when Koei Tecmo and Nintendo partnered to create Hyrule Warriors. Nintendo Nindies was established to give indie devs incentive to put their games on the console, which resulted in beloved games like Shovel Knight, Freedom Planet, and Shantae. Things were looking much brighter for the Wii U.

2015 kept up the pace with a sequel to a well established Wii RPG, Xenoblade Chronicles X, had an overnight success with the creative online shooter Splatoon, and had even more success with Mario Maker. In the end, though, all these games were not enough to save the Wii U from selling abysmally. With the aforementioned library, it has a solid amount of cult classics, well enough to be remembered for years after. Nintendo however, would halt production on the Wii U before the system could have a 5th birthday. Today, the Wii U turns five years old. Though the Switch now overshadows it, the Wii U still made an impact.

What are your fondest memories of the Wii U? Were you a fan? Did you dislike it? Are you yet to purchase one at all, or were you a loyal early adopter? Be sure you share your comments below!
 

Kioku_Dreams

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I skipped the Wii U entirely. I only played it with my brother to play Mario Kart and Sm4sh. Super Mario 3D World I played on CEMU. It was and still is Nintendo's worst console to date. Not even subjectively. It tanked, and for good reason. The infamous tablet was a BAD attempt at bringing Dual Screen to the home console. Believe it or not, I believe the Switch is what the Wii U should have been.. Minus the lack of the extra screen.
 
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emigre

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I was working in retail when the Wii U launch and you knew on then it wasn't going to do well. It was a very difficult to sell at launch because of the price, lack of killer material and everyone knowing the PS4/Xbone coming soon.

I still bought one. I still regret buying it. At least Bayo2 was ballin'.
 

Ryccardo

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Bought mine on a deal (170 €) for Xenoblade X only... actually, it spent its first three weeks as a Youtube/Memeverse machine :D

Excellent game was bought and played, used Mario Kart and NSMBU (replaced 3 times to get a non-scratched copy...) to fill the occasional burnout from said huge game, then patience paid off - it was the day of "Brazilian exploit", CFW you had to compile yourself, and wupserver - and it only got better in the next couple of months

(Standard sized) gamepad battery sucks very hard, though
 

Flame

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the reason people dont own a Wii U. last gen graphics, poor 3rd party support, difficult to make games for, poor release line-up, poor marketing, expensive peripherals

but if Santa Claus is reading .. you fat cunt give me one, ive been a better boy then @PokeAcer , still need to be added to my collection.
 
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Scarlet

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It's a shame it flopped so hard. The system was weak, and seems poorly designed to a lot of people; but the real failure came from its branding and marketing. It needed to do more to tell people it was a new an brilliant system, not just some add-on for the Wii. It was the second console I ever got at launch and honestly, I regret nothing about the choice. It had its own set of fun and creative titles, as well as breathing an unexpected air of life into already brilliant games such as Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. I never knew how much better they could be with a few touch ups.

I'm really quite glad the Switch has taken off the way it has. It tells me Nintendo are learning from their mistakes with the Wii U. Now we just have to hope they give those who avoided the Wii U a chance to play its some of its excellent library.
 

pedro702

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i bought mine with the new super mario bros u bundle and i dont regret it one bit, with homebrew you can basicaly every nintendo console on wiiu except for 3ds and now switch its an amazing system imo.
 

wormdood

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until now i did not realize that the wiiu only lasted about 4 years before they stopped production . . . or rather nintendo finally realized (after 4 years) that the wiiu was a lame dog and got tired of dragging it along when nintendo walks it

but at least let me be bowser in mario party
 

wormdood

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This late into the game, there's no excuse for the Wii U. Virtualboy came at the wrong time in my opinion.
as an owner of one (still in my collection from my childhood) i can safely say that that system was so crap that the timing could never have been correct . . . it's simply rubbish
 

joepassive

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This console is, amazing, really. but only if you are a nintendo fan. the Wii U had some of nintendo greats - but nothing more. I love it, but mainly because i converted it into the best thing ever - a way to play every disc game nintendo ever did. I love Mario maker and splatoon, but I also love being able to play wii and gamecube on it :)
 

TheDarkGreninja

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I'm probably one of the few who loves their Wii U, it's library is killer, the gamepad was comfortable and had some cool features in games that properly used it. It was a shame that it failed, but from it's remains came the Switch, an infinitely better system in my eyes.

--------------------- MERGED ---------------------------

Bought my WiiU day one, still loving my failure :D
If we're talking about the best failures, Wii U is No.1
 
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