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September 2016 Retro Gaming Article


September 8, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Too many Wii U evaluations are marred by perception and misinformation

Nintendo Wii U
When we generically label a product as "good" or "bad" we do it a disservice by using blanket-terms without specifics.
I grow weary of hearing folks say the Wii U was a failure, flop, catastrophe, etc. Such statements lean more toward a failing of Public Education than poorly marketed gaming hardware. Have we actually lost our ability to really communicate? In what manner do you feel the Wii U failed - lack of games, under-powered hardware, poor marketing, financially, resaleability? "Fail" is a blanket term with little meaning when no context is provided.

I realize, providing context requires effort. Justifying your stance is difficult when you don't care for facts and rely on arm-waving and angry quips.

Compounding that issue; being critical is hip, as are "reactions". Its simply cool to dislike things with flagrant outrage. You don't need facts or figures in order to insert your negative opinion into a discussion. It's performance art. If your outrage garners attention - Hey, good for you. You've won! Your intolerant ravings carry more weight than having to use words to explain things. Using words is hard for people today... when emojis compliment everything they need to convey.

When someone is genuinely outraged these days - without specific knowledge of their situation - it's hard to know if they hated the 99 cent song they bought on iTunes or if 1/3 of the country perished from a viral outbreak. Either case seems to carry the same weight in today's "Haters Are Cool" club. And don't forget the "Let's React" faction.

Make An Effort To Find Value

Movies, games, music... in 2016 they all suck. Nothing is amazing. Few things are worth our hard-earned money. And nothing has value. Well, nothing except your overpriced smart phone that enables a conduit toward new things to hate and additional avenues to spew sour opinions. Tell me again, did you like the Wii U?

The end result of my tirade is the disservice bestowed upon the Wii U by those who deemed it "bad" without any explanation. Sure, some folks had specific complaints, but it was generally thought of as a bad product for no better reason than so many people repeated the generic complaints.

Wii U owners I've talked with love the system. It has great games that are bolstering traditional IPs as well as launching awesome new ones. The benefits of the GamePad were never really showcased by any one game. While last generations' Wiimote brought a whole new control scheme to gaming, I had hoped the GamePad would bring new strategies and 2nd screen advantages. This never really happened and likely adds to the generic derision of the Wii U.

Star Fox XZero & Mighty No. 9 It takes time for developers to gain a proper understanding of new consoles, so it's not uncommon to see remarkably improved games a year or two into a consoles lifespan. The rampant negativity likely drove away many developers who couldn't attain needed profits from the small user base. Thus they may never have had the opportunity to learn the ropes of developing for Wii U.

The cyclical nature of the Wii U's issues is really tragic. There is an astonishing wave of hate, largely prompted by those who do not own the system. Next, folks on social media repeated the ignorant complaints which adversely affects consumer purchasing decisions and developer commitments to the platform.

Market Confusion... Really?

Granted Nintendo didn't do a great job marketing the wii U, but I think that is relatively unimportant compared tot he tidal wave of misinformation perpetuated across social media. When I hear some people were confused by the name and thought it was an accessory for the Wii, I cringe. Does anyone really believe that? A $300+ accessory?

Were Xbox One fans confused that the Xbox 360 was followed by a product with "One" in the product name? Isn't one less than three hundred sixty? So the Xbox One can't be the successor to a 360. What garbage! People can't really be that stupid, right?

Callie & Marie amiibo Clearly the Wii U was the successor to the Wii just as the Xbox One and PS4 were the other competing consoles of the new generation. The Wii U even released nearly a year before the other generation 8 consoles.

Regarding that competition... Originally, I was under the impression the Wii U would be engineered so the game development process would be aligned with Sony and Microsoft, meaning the Wii U wouldn't require an entirely separate build - as was the case with the former Wii. That was not the case and I will say it was a big detriment to lose all the easy game ports that could have brought more gamers to the Wii U platform.

Spiraling Down for No Good Reason

Once it became clear third party developers were not on the Nintendo bandwagon, people began making assumptions. Ill informed assumptions. Rumors began to circulate saying the Wii U was underpowered and not capable of running PS4 or Xbox One games. The whole notion of the Wii U's power became a huge talking point among those who know nothing about engineering or chipsets. Their talking points were akin to: the chip with the highest number was the fastest. Morons.

Discussions of "power" became so prominent it began to send tales across social media alleging the Wii U was vastly underpowered. It got to the point where many consumers believed the Wii U didn't have enough power to properly run it's own games. This nonsense was being repeated by what previously considered prominent sources.

While some cars have a V-8 or even V-12enine, those with a V-6 will also travel at 70MPH and take you to the same destination. A smaller engine doesn't compromise your travel speed or ability to get from point 'A' to point 'B'. Comparing the capabilities of game consoles in the same fashion renders no useful metrics or results. And for those who chatter on about processor speeds - just stop. We're on to you - lol.

Power to the Wii U Owners

If you own a Wii U, you already know it's a great system. From weak marketing on Nintendo's end to the flood of negative reviews, the Wii U did remarkably well. There are many games I've loved on this system from traditional IPs like Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze and StarFox Zero to games like Tank Tank Tank and Splatoon, and Pikman.

I have no issues with anyone who dislikes the Wii U... as long as their dislike is based on fact and not part of the deluge of misplaced hate that garnered so many lemmings in it's path. If you have valid concerns, that's cool. You may be better served by Sony or Microsoft. But, the demise of the Wii U is a lesson in making judgements via facts. I can't recall a console so unfairly maligned by random people and game journalists.

I was frustrated with a few aspects fo the console, but overall I dig it. It's a shame people spent more time recanting misinformation than really exploring the console and taking advantage of the great games it offers.

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