Seems like Nintendo can’t get a break. Granted, most of it, if not all of it, is their own fault – Wii U game droughts, lack of third party support, little genuine usage of the unique GamePad. The Wii U should’ve been a success thus far. Key word should’ve. It has been a disaster, as far as sales go. But I want to call attention, like many others already have, to the fact that the GameCube was considered a disaster as well.
When PS2, Xbox, and GameCube were released, I picked up a PS2 as soon as I could. I had a PS1, and the PS2 had two game franchises I loved – Gran Turismo and Metal Gear Solid. It wasn’t until later that I decided to pick up a GameCube, along with Zelda Wind Waker and Metroid Prime. Up until that point, I had no desire to ever own a GameCube, and if I ever did want to play one, I could just hang out with my friend Ryan and use his console. Once I bought the system, mainly to play Zelda, I realized I had been wrong the whole time. To this day, GameCube is one of my favorite systems, with many memorable games I still own; Super Smash Bros Melee, Zelda Wind Waker, Mariokart Double Dash, X-men Legends, Time Splitters: Future Perfect, Resident Evil 4, and the Metroid Prime series, just to name a few. I loved my little cube, and never really thought of it as a failure.
Fast forward to the Wii U. I own a 360, and plan on getting a PS4 later this year. The Wii U had been out for a year and a few months; I had no desire to ever get one, and actually wanted it to fail so Nintendo would make a new system for this generation of consoles. Then….I played it. Just like the GameCube, I never thought I would own a Wii U nor thought I would have as much enjoyment from it as I do. I look at the game collection I already have after owning it for a few months (Mario Bros U/Luigi U, Super Mario 3D World, Zelda Wind Waker HD, Wonderful 101, DKC Tropical Freeze, NFS Most Wanted U, and Deus Ex), and I love them all. I haven’t touched my 360 since December, other than to use the WWE Network (yeah, I said it, I’m a wrasslin’ fan). I also have many games to look forward to: the next Zelda (not Hyrule Warriors), Mariokart 8, Bayonetta 2, Smash Bros U, X, Project Cars, and [hopefully] Watch_Dogs. On top of all that, there are a ton of indie games I want to play as well (just have to finish what I’ve got on my plate now!)
The Wii U may be compared to the GameCube in sales numbers, and the terrible marketing (well, the lack thereof) from the folks at Nintendo, but it also compares in another way: if Nintendo keeps putting out solid software, and can utilize the GamePad further, it might have a lasting appeal that grows even after the next generation of consoles releases. I must say, the Wii U may very well end up being one of my top 3 favorite systems. And the beauty of the Wii U is that it can be a great companion console. It was, in fact, Nintendo that introduced me to the concept of owning multiple systems, as my GameCube purchase was in addition to my PS2 purchase.
As the GameCube progressed, year after year, it grew into an awesome little console, beloved by many gamers who can remember the days of endless battle in Smash Bros, the frenzied 4-player racing in Double Dash, the horror (and awe-inspiring graphics) of Resident Evil 4, or the sense of wonder and urge to explore from Metroid Prime. I predict this: the Wii U will stand out the same as the GameCube did. It has just taken time, and taken Nintendo to start taking the right steps to promote their latest console. People are calling the Wii U an inferior system to the Xbox One and PS4, as was claimed over a decade ago with the GameCube versus the PS2 and Xbox. To be honest, I’ll take the “inferior” system any day – some of my fondest gaming memories were results from an “inferior” system.