The Wii U is great, a nifty piece of technology that offers a chance for fresh, ingenious gameplay and HD versions of Nintendo IPs such as Zelda and Metroid. But for all its virtues, there are a few things about the Wii U that just really bug me. Here are ten of them.
10. Miiverse BabbleFor some reason, Nintendo dislikes silence. Turn on a PS3 or an Xbox 360 and you get a startup riff and then blessed silence, but the Wii always insists on annoying, repetitive music on its navigation screens. The Wii U goes one further, giving you annoying, repetitive music combined with weird little exclamations from the WaraWara Plaza Miis. This combined with the lack of a mute button on the TV control suggests people at Nintendo like noise, all the time.
9. Sound Lag
Depending on your TV, you may or may not have an issue with sound lag, in which the sound coming from your television speakers is not quite in sync with the sound coming from your gamepad. While some TVs have a video game mode that sometimes fixes the problem, mine doesn’t, so I have to turn the sound down for games like Nintendo Land and Runner2 to get rid of that echo. Then, when I play a game like Batman Arkham Cityor Lego City Undercover that offers different sounds on the gamepad, like verbal communications, I often miss things because I have the sound turned down. Those of us who can’t fix the problem with our TV settings would love a Wii U option to shift the audio by a few fractions of a second.
8. Account Tied to ConsoleWith the Wii, anything you downloaded to the console would be only for that console. It wasn't ideal, but it was understandable because there were no accounts to tie games to. With the Wii U, all downloads are downloaded through a user account, and yet, downloads are still tied to a specific console (unlike the PS3 and 360). Nintendo has always lagged behind in the online space; sadly, even when they jump ahead, they never jump all the way to the present.
7. No Mute Button On TV RemoteI think it’s great that the Wii U gamepad doubles as a TV remote, but why on earth isn’t there a mute button? Perhaps Nintendo designers never watch TV, and so don’t realize how annoying commercials are?
6. Browser Doesn't Support FlashIt’s great that the Wii U Internet Browser is forward thinking, embracing the new HTML5 standard. In a few years, HTML5 may be all we need. But right now, it’s really good to have a browser that supports Flash; without it you can’t use Pandora Radio or play most free Internet games. The Wii supported it; why can’t the Wii U?
5. FIXED: Frozen Console Must Be UnpluggedUPDATE: Fixed as of OS 3.0. If your computer freezes, or if your Wii freezes, and pushing the power button doesn't have any effect, you can hold the power button down for 10 seconds to cut off power. It's a standard feature of most advanced electronic equipment, except the Wii U. If your Wii U is frozen, you have to unplug it.
4. FIXED: No External Keyboard SupportUPDATE: Fixed as of OS 4.0. In yet another example of something the Wii could do that the Wii U can not, you can’t use an external keyboard on the Wii U, which only supports hunt and peck on the virtual gamepad keyboard. With an external keyboard I could pretty much use the Wii U’s Internet browser for e-mail and Google docs, but without a keyboard it’s just not worth the bother.
3. The Wii Emulator
Remember how you played GameCube games on the Wii? You put a GameCube disk in the Wii and started the game. With the Wii U, you must start a Wii emulator first. It’s a weird, awkward approach to backwards compatibility. Ideally Nintendo should have worked to make the Wii game experience even better by using the power of the Wii U to upscale Wii game graphics. If you do click on a Wii game from the main menu it will at least load the emulator, but you'll still have to click the game again from inside the emulator to start it. On the bright side, this odd approach does mean the emulator can run homebrew.