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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Wii U: A Sales Failure, but a Games Winner

The Nintendo Switch is set to launch worldwide on March 3rd, 2017. It is with a heavy heart that I, like so many have already stated, must say that the Wii U is officially dead.

With sales barely over 13 million, the system surpassed the Dreamcast's 9.13 million sold and has become Nintendo's least successful console. Even the GameCube, which was a commercial failure, sold more than the Wii U, closing out at over 21 million. The PS4 has already sold well over 50 million. Saying that the Wii U got the crap kicked out of it in sales is a tremendous understatement.

Sure, the Wii U sales figures are nothing to brag about, but neither are the Dreamcast and GCN's and both of those systems are remembered fondly and the reason for this can be summed up in one word: games. Nintendo may have gotten a lot of things wrong with the Wii U such as a poor name and the casual gamer was ill informed thanks to Nintendo's poor advertising, but one thing they did right by the Wii U was the games, the games, the games. If you're getting a Nintendo system, then you already know that the first party game is gonna be on point and man, was it ever strong on the Wii U.

Super Mario 3D World boasted some of the most fun and creative levels we'd seen in a Super Mario game since Super Mario Galaxy and the ability to play as not only Mario, but Luigi, Peach, Toad and Rosalina, all with different play styles and four player multiplayer, made for one of the grandest of Super Mario experiences.  

Splatoon treated players to a fresh shooter experience with vibrant colors to contrast the darkness that is often associated with many other titles in the genre. It further managed to distinguish itself from other titles by placing a priority on inking turf rather than killing opponents. Swimming and hiding in your own ink let you hide from your foes or ambush them. Splatoon was such a huge hit that a sequel is already set to release this summer for the Switch.

Super Mario Maker hands the level creating duties over to the player, allowing them to make their own levels and share them with others. I've seen people scoff saying "ROM hacks have been doing this for years." To these people I say, Super Mario Maker is legal, anyone can make levels with this game and the there's a lot you can do in Super Mario Maker that you cannot do in those ROM hacks. Between all the level creation tools and four different Super Mario tile sets, the only limit is your imagination.

The Wii U edition of Super Smash Bros. is one of my favorite entries in the Smash series. HD Smash looks and plays freaking great but the third party characters went beyond Sonic the Hedgehog. We got Mega Man, Pac-Man, Ryu, Bayonetta and Cloud.

The Wii U may not have had as plentiful of games or third party support as the PS4 but the games it did have made it worth owning. The fact that Nintendo supported the console for four years is pretty amazing. Sony dropped the PS Vita like a hot plate when it became clear that it wasn't raking in anywhere near as much dough as it should have. Yes, the Wii U was a sales disaster, but I have no regrets purchasing the system and if I could, I'd buy it all over again in a New York minute.

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