Extra Punctuation

Extra Punctuation
Coming Around to the Wii U

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 3 Sep 2013 12:00
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I could not, by any stretch of the phrase, be said to be 'coming around' to the Wii U. And yet - that being the sort of statement inevitably followed by the words 'and yet' - I seem to have been getting more use out of it lately. As much use as I can from a device with a three-hour battery life, anyway. But I played Pikmin 3, have recently started on Wonderful 101, and I bought Game & Wario a while back. That wasn't even with the professional game reviewer excuse; I genuinely wanted that one.

I'm still not impressed by blatant gimmickery - although I'm not as sniffy about the controller as I was about that of the Wii U's predecessor, complaints about battery life notwithstanding - and there's this weird insular nature about Nintendo and its jealously hoarded IP combined with the stark whiteness and gentle soundscape that remind me of an alien sterilisation cult. It's like the beginner's guide to becoming a Mac user. And yet (here we go again), there's definitely something about it I find comforting, like a big woolly sweater with built-in blinkers. Maybe because it's the only major next-gen console that seems content to, mainly, just be a games machine.

So my feelings towards the Wii U can best be described as 'complicated'. Not the Facebook 'it's complicated', more like the complicated feelings Javert had about Valjean by the end of Les Mis. And there's one feature about which I'm particularly ambivalent, and I thought writing about it might help. It's this whole idea of being able to transfer your game entirely to the touchscreen controller in order to continue playing it elsewhere if someone wants to use the TV.

For one thing, it's kinda odd for Nintendo, because there's a consistent pattern of Nintendo games being psychotic about appearing responsible and telling you, the player, to take a break every few hours. Sometimes I wonder if this attitude is why the battery keeps running out; I'm not saying it was deliberately made that way, just that it might be why they didn't see the need to change it. But this attitude seems a bit at odds with this idea of being able to continue playing after playtime is over. Perhaps secretly, under the covers, late at night. Shh!

Secondly, it makes me think back to promotional videos for consoles that invariably feature gleeful families, always in the bloody pastel shirts, enjoying quality together-time around the games machine in the middle of the living room. And that, too, is an image drastically at odds with the image one associates with one person taking the controller away to continue playing all by themselves in a pit somewhere. Is this a tacit admission that such marketing material is and has always been completely full of shit? I like to think so.

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