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History Behind Wii U Purchase
What lies below is a listing of my Wii U collection along with some history behind the system's purchase. Please note that all of the games listed below are actual discs or digital downloads. I'm not into pirating the latest games.
Wii U
The Wii U is somewhat of a weird system for me.  For years, I believed that the original Wii would be the last Nintendo home console that I would buy as I moved onto the next chapter of my life.  Furthermore, after the Wii U was officially announced, I definitely cannot say that I was dying to get one.

As we got closer to the Wii U release, I kept telling people that I was unsure if I would get one or not.  It was interesting, yet it did not seem to be compelling enough.  Nevertheless, after Nintendo announced on September 13, 2012 that you could reserve Wii U at GameStop, I decided to run out that evening and reserve one -- just in case.  I figured that I could sell it on eBay if I really did not want it.  Of course, let's not kid ourselves: I wanted it.  What Nintendo fanboy had not dreamt of playing Mario and Zelda in HD?

On the afternoon of November 18, 2012, I walked into GameStop and picked up my reserved Wii U Deluxe Set (black) for $349.99.  I also purchased New Super Mario Bros. U and ZombiU on launch day.  No crazy stories this time.

Unfortunately, as we all know, Nintendo botched the Wii U worse than anything other than the Virtual Boy.  Initially, confusion started when people could not tell if it was an add-on to the original Wii or a brand-new system.  Then we found out that this new system was only slightly more powerful than PS3 and Xbox 360, which meant the PS4 and Xbox One would be much more powerful -- just one short year later.  Oh, and then there were several draughts between 2012 and 2014 where months went by without first-party Nintendo games.  And, of course, the asymmetrical gameplay idea of the GamePad was never realized to its fullest.

So it may come as a surprise that, in retrospect, the Wii U might get too bad of a rap.  It probably should get some more love.  To start, it laid the groundwork for the immensely popular Nintendo Switch.  Wii U also had a unique Miiverse social networking feature, which blossomed into an artistic community, and was the initial home to the Amiibo toys-to-life platform.  It gave birth to the much-loved Splatoon and Super Mario Maker games.  And, by the end, it had a respectable collection of well-received indie games that could be downloaded from the Nintendo eShop.  Finally, you could even download some previously portable-only games from the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS as part of the Wii U Virtual Console, which worked well on its GamePad.

For me, though, I think my appreciation of the Wii U grew after its demise.  I realized that I could have been using the Off-TV Play mode much more by not keeping the console tethered to a specific TV.  (Eventually, I purchased a second Wii U AC Adapter Power Supply so that I could move the console around the house more easily in order to keep it near the Wii U GamePad for playing games off-TV.)  I also realized that Wii U was a great console for Zelda games since you could download the retro Zelda games, play the remastered HD versions of The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, and enjoy Breath of the Wild as Wii U's swan song.

And, with the end of Wii U, I am officially a Nintendo retro gamer.  I never did purchase the Nintendo Switch, and I imagine that any future video game systems will end up being my kids' games, not mine.
Quick Links
All-Time Favorite Wii U Games
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U) screenshot
Three words: Open World Zelda.  And it revolutionizes the open world concept by doing it Nintendo's way.  That means you get an imaginative, boundaryless world that lets you explore and do whatever you want.  No restrictions, no required upgrades, no checkpoints.  Explore as much or as little as you want.  It also tweaks the Zelda formula with breaking weapons and smaller dungeons.  Undoubtedly, one of THE best games on any console in the PS4/Xbox One/Switch (Wii U) era.

Guitar Hero Live (Wii U) screenshot
Talk about love and heartbreak.  Guitar Hero Live tried to evolve music games with its different guitar, cool first-person presentation style in the on-disc GH Live mode, and streaming music videos in GHTV online.  The singular focus on guitars and playing to the backdrop of 500 music videos was awesome -- a ton of fun for 1 or 2 players.  But the abrupt end, as of December 1, 2018, was a stark reminder about online services.  I'd love to see Rock Band adopt music videos...or a hack.

Mario Kart 8 (Wii U) screenshot
3. Mario Kart 8
For a long-time Mario Kart aficionado, the Wii U version of Mario Kart 8 dazzled.  Beautiful HD graphics, solid online play, 4-player local Grand Prix, lots of great new and retro courses, DLC expansion packs with Zelda and Animal Crossing content, and a 200cc mode!  Always so much fun.  The only disappointing part of the game, Battle Mode, was rectified in the Switch "Deluxe" release (3 years later).
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Wii U) screenshot
4. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Early adopters of the Wii U were treated to a great port of the best Mario Kart clone ever made: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.  With tracks inspired by Super Monkey Ball, Panzer Dragoon, Golden Axe, and After Burner, and up to 5 players among the TV and GamePad, it provided loads of Sega nostalgia and lots of frenetic-yet-balanced fun action with the cars, boats, and planes.  The finale of Doug, Scott, and Nate.
5. Nintendo Land
Nintendo Land (Wii U) screenshot
Clearly, Nintendo Land was built to showcase the capabilities of the Wii U GamePad and the potential for asymmetrical games as well as 5-player games using four (4) Wii Remotes.  And, in retrospect, it is a summation of the possibilities, eccentricities, and failures of the system.  Nothing else really took advantage of the Wii U like Nintendo Land, yet I never really returned to it.  Still, a few of those mini-games were fun, especially Mario Chase. 
6. Need for Speed: Most Wanted U
Need for Speed: Most Wanted U (Wii U) screenshot
Long-time Nintendo fans know that getting a definitive version of a more "realistic" game is rare.  Yet Need for Speed: Most Wanted U is that rare gem on Wii U that looks better and runs more smoothly than its PS3 and Xbox 360 competition.  The game also represents my first experience with an open-world racer, and it provides a ton of fun and replay value by landing in the sweet spot between semi realistic and arcade.
7. Super Mario 3D World
Super Mario 3D World (Wii U) screenshot
I enjoyed Super Mario 3D World, but I don't love it.  Although it marked the first 3D Mario game that allowed for up to four (4) players simultaneously, I believe the 2D multi-player Mario games offer a lot more fun.  Overall, Super Mario 3D World's linear design makes it feel a bit short, constrained, and lacking in replay value.  But it (and Cat Mario) still hold a fun, unique spot on the Wii U.  This would be replaced by another Mario (Super Mario Maker) if I had spent more time with that one.

Super Mario Maker (Wii U) screenshot
Honorable Mention: Super Mario Maker, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, NES Remix Pack, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Wii U Boxed Game Collection (21 games)
  • Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition
  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
  • Guitar Hero Live **
  • Hyrule Warriors
  • Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
  • Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
  • LEGO Jurassic World
  • Mario Kart 8
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted U
  • NES Remix Pack
  • New Super Mario Bros. U
  • Nintendo Land **
  • Pokkén Tournament
  • Rabbids Land **
  • Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
  • Super Mario 3D World
  • Super Mario Maker
  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition
  • ZombiU **
NES Remix Pack (Wii U) box art
** indicates Off-TV Play is NOT supported
Nintendo eShop Downloads
Wii U Downloads (17 games)
  • amiibo tap: Nintendo's Greatest Bits **
  • Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures
  • Art of Balance
  • Dolphin Up
  • Ducktales Remastered
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
  • Games for Toddlers **
  • Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
  • Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge
  • My First Songs
  • New Super Luigi U
  • Pikmin 3
  • Pumped BMX +
  • Rayman Legends Challenge App
  • Shovel Knight
  • Star Fox Guard **
  • Wii Sports Club (Bowling and Tennis) **
Wii U Virtual Console (31 games)
  • Balloon Fight (NES) *
  • Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA)
  • Donkey Kong (NES) *
  • Duck Hunt (NES) *
  • F-Zero (SNES) *
  • Game & Watch Gallery 4 (GBA)
  • Kirby's Adventure (NES) *
  • Konami Krazy Racers (GBA)
  • Legend of Zelda, The  (NES) *
  • Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) *
  • Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64)
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)*
  • Mario Pinball Land (GBA)
  • Mega Man Zero 3 (GBA)
  • Metroid (NES) *
  • Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA)
  • New Super Mario Bros. (DS)
  • Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii) **
  • Salamander (TG-16)
  • Super Mario Bros. (NES) *
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES) *
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) *
  • Super Mario World (SNES) *
  • Super Mario 64 (N64) *
  • Super Metroid (SNES) *
  • Vs. Excitebike (ARC)
  • Wario Land 4 (GBA)
  • WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames! (GBA)
  • WarioWare: Touched! (DS)
  • Yoshi (NES)
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES) *
** indicates Off-TV Play is NOT supported
* indicates a game I also own on cartridge
Random Notes & Thoughts
The following bulleted points are some random notes and thoughts about the Wii U. In the list, you will find information about the system and games that I could not place anywhere else.
  • Thanks to Nintendo's Wii U Virtual Console Trial Campaign -- which celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Famicom with $0.30 games in 2013 -- I downloaded a few Virtual Console games that I never would have purchased otherwise.
  • Also, I decided to download the classic Mario, Zelda, and Metroid games to the Wii U because of the Off-TV Play compatibility and because I realized that some of my classic systems might be packed away at times.
  • Just like with Wii, my most played Wii U game was a music game: Guitar Hero Live. Unlike Rock Band, however, I played it mostly solo and online.
  • In retrospect, Wii U's Off-TV Play mode was cooler than we originally thought.
Last Updated: November 26, 2019
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Copyright © Scott McCall. All Rights Reserved.  ™ and © for all products, characters, and indicia related thereto which are contained herein are owned by the companies who market or license those products.