Originally published on Trevor Trove on May 1, 2016
In July of last year, I was riding high on life. I had just moved in to a nice three-bedroom house with my girlfriend. I had passed my one-year anniversary at work and received a bit of a raise and bonus. And I was making a ton of friends in the Kinda Funny community.
Before the idea of Co-op with Catherine was a thing, I was definitely interested in trying to play video games with her. Once of the first things we connected on was Super Mario World so deep down, there was a dormant gamer within her that had mostly fallen by the wayside. (She did have a lot of Singstar games on her Xbox 360 though…) Anyway, while we eventually went the route of playing the LEGO games, in July I used part of my raise and bonus to purchase a Wii U for Cat and I to play with and entertain with.
Looking through my Best Buy order from that day, I spent about $600 on the console, a Best Buy Gamers Club Unlocked card (which paid for itself in this one transactions), and a handful of games.
A few days later, my Splatoon bundle and a handful of games from the back catalog started showing up and we booted up some Mario Kart 8. I tried to go easy on her but Catherine wasn’t particularly good. No problem though. We were still having fun and unlocking different carts and racers and such.
Eventually, she would switch to playing Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, which as a single-player puzzle game was much more in her comfort zone. And we also jumped in for a little bit of Super Mario 3D World.
But that was about it. We never wound up inviting her friends over to play Smash, or Mario Party, or anything. And once we dove into games like LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Dimensions, the Wii U mostly became nothing more than a shelf-piece. Fast forward to January, when we split up and my rationale for having the system effectively walked out the door.
Looking at my collection: Mario Party 10, NES Remix Pack, Bayonetta 2, and eventually releases Super Mario Maker and Yoshi’s Wooly World remain unopened. All told, I probably didn’t even play the system more than a week, focusing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and my handhelds.
I just don’t have a desire to play these games. There’s absolutely something to be said about playing games that other people played or are playing in order to be a part of the conversation. And for the most part, the Wii U’s disappointing sales meant that there just weren’t a lot of people in the conversation.
While I have no doubt the quality of most of these games had Nintendo’s trademark charm, I have grown up as a gamer and I’m simply not looking for a lot of the same experiences I had when I was a child.
And with the recent news that Nintendo has mostly given up on the Wii U for the remainder of it’s life cycle (the NX launching in March with the next Zelda game launching on Wii U and the NX a la Twilight Princess), it’s apparent that they really aren’t going to release anything for me. Star Fox Zero might have scratched the last bit of a nostalgic itch, but I have “zero” interest in fighting the Wii U gamepads gyroscopic controls. That’s why I never got into Splatoon.
It’s entirely possible I will never boot up my Wii U again and that’s disappointing. There’s just nothing there pulling me in to the ecosystem. And at this point, it’s laughable that they’re still charging $300 for the console. I shouldn’t have paid that much for it in July, let alone now when they’ve effectively written it off their books.
I’m sure when I eventually have kids, I’ll probably return to the Nintendo ecosystem for their family-friendly entertainment. But right now, they’ve lost me as a gamer and the NX has the near impossible task of trying to win me back.
Best wishes Nintendo, but I can’t live on nostalgia and your increasingly unappealing gimmicks anymore.