Recently, I got the chance to climb into a Nintendo trailer parked in the back lot of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Plymouth, Minnesota and get some one-on-one time with the Wii U. Sure, it sounds a little shady, but no one was harmed, and I left the gameplay session with a head full of Wii U knowledge. And you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of such information, as I'm about to tell you what I managed to discover about the thing.
Of course, we here at Cheat Code Central have already explained a lot of the more commonly known features of the thing. (If you somehow managed to miss any of those, here's a write-up called The Wii U Crawls out of the Shadows" that will get you up to speed.) But I managed to dig up some things that aren't being talked about a whole lot yet are still pretty cool. So let's dive in, shall we?
First off, for the first time ever, I got my hands on a Wii U GamePad that wasn't weighed down by all those security locks and things they put on them at trade shows. And I can verify Nintendo's claims that the thing weighs right around a pound. It's light enough to not be terribly uncomfortable, but just heavy enough to not feel like a cheap piece of plastic. It felt great in my hands, actually, and the concerns about the thing being too heavy or cumbersome seem a lot less valid than they did initially. Then again, I didn't get to use the GamePad for an extended period of time, so I guess the final verdict's still out on that.
The Nintendo rep who was present told me a bit about the functionality of the Wii U. One of the coolest things I learned is that you will be able to import your profile from the original Wii to the Wii U. This means you get to transfer all those loveable Miis you've undoubtedly created, so that perfect Mii representation of your cranky uncle will be preserved. And this even goes as far to include your entire Virtual Console library. Say you bought Super Mario 64 on the Wii, for example; you'd be able to transfer that to your Wii U free of charge.
Additionally, the Wii U has the option to create multiple user accounts on a single console, and each of those accounts can be custom-built for a unique experience. For example, parents with small children will be able to create an account that includes parental settings on it, protecting them from playing Daddy's Bayonetta 2 save file. Also, say you have a roommate who you want to block from using the online features of your Wii U. You can create a special account with the Internet functionality shut off.
But there are some great online features of the Wii U, so unless you really don't like your roommate (or your roommate has a tendency to use the Internet for certain activities you might not be comfortable with), you'll want to keep that access open for everyone.
For example, while playing New Super Mario Bros. U (which has been confirmed as a launch-day title), I was told about how the MiiVerse integration would work. (I was specifically told that New Super Mario Bros. U will include "full MiiVerse integration," which seems to suggest that this will be a feature available only in particular titles and not all of them.) The example I was given was about dying a whole bunch of times in a particular level. Your friends would be able to see your struggle and send you messages. These could either be advice to help you through, even going as far as taking photos and drawing on them to better explain the strategy. Or else your friends could simply tease you until you ragequit.
The Wii U is slated for a November 18 launch, and preorders have been hot and heavy. In fact, there's a chance you're out of luck if you're still hoping to pick one up at launch. Then again, some retailers are implementing waiting lists, so you might want to toss your name on one of those.
Either way, I left the Nintendo trailer feeling pretty good about the fact that I managed to preorder a Wii U when I did. My all-too-brief play session only made me more anxious to pick it up on November 18.
Editor / News Director
Date: September 27, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*