The Wii U Experience Part II — Pickup and setup

Upon picking up my Wii U at Best Buy, I was informed they did not have a bag that fit it (it’s not that big!). So I took it under my arm and climbed into the same crowded, lurching hellbeast/bus I read most of the books I review here on. A pair of Mandarin-speaking boys laughed at me and kept saying ‘GG!’. Nearby passengers repeatedly affected shock and annoyance when the bus shifted and a corner of the box found some soft, fleshy spot to poke.

I made it home, triumphant, clothes and Wii slippery with sweat (only some of it mine). Unpacked and set up, eager to dive into Mario Kart, we were instead greeted by a mandatory update. It spent about twenty five minutes getting halfway, then an hour or more for the remaining half. There was apparently an uproar over this when the Wii U first launched but so few people bought it that it didn’t reach the fever pitch required to catch my attention. What the hell, Nintendo? This couldn’t be installed in the factory?


While waiting for the update, I decided to log into their website to redeem the free game that comes with Mario Kart — a significant factor in me buying the bundle in the first place — only to find everyone else thought to do the same thing.


It wasn’t until the day after, dealing with intolerably slow speeds, false starts and dead ends, that I was able to get my code for Pikmin 3. I checked today (now +2 days from MK launch) and the site is still a disaster.

All that aside, the system is pretty fun. The tablet controller is much larger than I thought it would be.


It feels a little ‘light’ and isn’t quite as responsive as I would have liked, but it is pretty cool. Nothing I’ve tried so far utilizes it beyond a status and information panel, but it is nice to see which asshole (insert: Mario, Peach, Baby Luigi, Bowser, whatever) stole first place from me at the last second of a race so I can calculate if I can still get the gold medal or not. And it works as a TV remote! My actual remote is long since lost in one cross country move or another.


The system itself is sleek and unobtrusive. A welcome change from the Xbox 360 and PS3 I am used to but it is a bit longer than the original Wii. The Mii-verse is one of those potentially interesting things I am utterly disinterested in and I have yet to explore beyond making my basic Mii. The e-shop is sparse compared to the 360 and is still absent much anything newer than the SNES era, but as someone who for the most part missed out on the Wii’s lifespan, it’s nice being able to download Super Mario World and its like.

All in all, at 29, the magic of a new system has indeed dissipated. But I am having fun and do not regret it, painful setup experience aside. Mario Kart and Pikmin reviews to come.

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