The 2014 gaming season has ended. While it had it's fair share of ups and downs, on the whole my personal experience this fall has been positive. I had fun running rampant in Kyrat, revisting Hong Kong in Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition, getting my ass kicked by my girlfriend in Madden 15, exploring the stars for a brief while in Destiny and I'm looking forward to starting my journey as Inquisitor in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Heck, even the new Call of Duty was surprisingly great. Yet with all these positive experiences and another one on the horizon, I still feel a longing. A sense of incompletion. Then it hit me, I kind of want to rekindle my flame with the Wii U.
See, I was an early adopter of the console. I worked at a movie theatre in 2012 and I remember going to the Gamestop right across from work and buying the console during my break one December night. I took it home, plugged it up and bought New Super Mario Bros U. It was a fun little game but nothing revolutionary. It was pretty close to what I already played on my DS and Wii. I picked up Lego City Undercover a few months later and it was servicable fun but nothing that really blew my mind.
Months went on and nothing really was released for the system and I grew disenchanted. My friends kept telling me that I hopped on the wrong train, that the Wii U was just going to disappoint. I held hope, telling them that E3 2013 was going to be them course correcting. New Mario, new Zelda, it's gonna be awesome! Well that Mario turned out to be Super Mario 3D World. That announcement left me livid. 3D Mario's were always revolutionary. From Super Mario 64 to Sunshine to Galaxy, Mario's console debuts always were something new and innovative for the franchise and here we have, well, just a port of a 3DS game with a cat suit. The Zelda trailer wasn't so much a trailer as much as it was a developer pitching the game to me as if I was a shareholder. The whole thing felt Nintendo, a company that once prided itself on innovation, was simply content treading water. The Wii U had lost third party support at the time so I was left with a system that, at the time, I felt wasn't even for me.
So, driven by frustration I traded in my Wii U in Fall 2013. A year later, I'm regretting that decision as I've learned that I was playing it wrong. I was expecting my Wii U to be a system that can stand confidently next to my PS4 or, at the time, my PS3. Nope. If you go in with that expectation, believe you me you will be disappointed. The Wii U and Nintendo systems as a whole this generation aren't consoles on their own right anymore. They're companion systems. They're pallete cleansers for when you finish murdering an entire small village worth of people and don't necesarilly want to do it again in a new setting. They're gap fillers for when the release schedule lightens up. They're the system you pull out when you have people over and you want to play something that everyone has a chance in.
I went in to the Wii U with the completely wrong expectations but now I really crave the kind of entertainment that Nintendo provides. Having gone through four games of just murdering people or aliens, I kind of just want to drive around colorful tracks and jump on some platforms. Given that in the last months my core group of friends has gone from all working similar schedules to getting together being a heruclean task of coordination, I kinda of want the giddy, choatic joy that comes from an 8 player game of Smash Bros. Every now and again the system has even shown it's capable of delievering core experiences with Bayonetta 2 this fall and Xenoblade Chronicles X coming next year. With it's virtual console looking better and better, the Wii U has managed to go from an after thought to a must own for me.
Xenoblade Chronicles X. So purrty.
I was thinking about picking up an Xbox One simply because Sunset Overdrive and Halo 5: Guardians. Now though, I think I might give Nintendo's strange little system a second go.