Developer Diaries// John Pickford on the Wii U

Posted 4 Dec 2012 16:02 by
My Wii U arrived a day early. Getting the machine set up was not a smooth experience. The Wii U refused to connect to my Virgin Superhub.

After many attempts I discovered (thanks to rllmukforum) that it's necessary to enter an IP address manually. Once the connection was active the machine attempted to download the infamous Day 1 update. This One Gig download took a good couple of hours to arrive.

The download failed repeatedly every 5-10 minutes but thankfully continued where it left off. I don't know if these errors are down to the lack of compatibility with Virgin's Superhub our just down to Nintendo's servers being hammered. Even after a few days the machine's connection to the internet is intermittent at best.

If anyone is planning on opening their Wii U on Christmas Day I'd strongly recommend plugging it in now and getting this update out of the way.

After a quick play with MiiVerse I thought I'd give the pack-in Nintendo Land a quick spin. Ah, but where is it? Nowhere to be found. It seems Amazon sent a batch of premium packs out without Nintendo Land in the box.

A quick phone call resulted in a new copy in the post. Then on Friday evening I got an email from Amazon with a download code for the game. Fantastic - much better than a disk.

This is where things get better. Nintendo Land is absolutely stunning. It's a master class in game design with each of the mini-games a brilliantly crafted nugget of single player or multiplayer joy. Each game also serves to demonstrate a different aspect of the machine and how the Gamepad can provide new experiences.

The majority of Saturday was spent with my wife and 2 daughters working our way through the multiplayer games and mainly laughing or screaming at each other. This is seriously the best local multiplayer machine ever.

Whilst Nintendo Land is clearly the star of the show NSMB is also excellent. The ability to play on the Gamepad alone is much appreciated.

MiiVerse is a fantastic innovation. It's essentially a message board system accessible at any time. Players can post text messages and hand drawn pictures in game specific 'communities'. They can also post screenshots and ask or answer questions.

This is all accessible at the touch of a button within any game. Some games take MiiVerse integration further and pull posts into the game itself (NSMB put them on the world map). Great fun and a greater sense of community than Xbox Live ever managed.

The quality of the artwork posted on MiiVerse is quite astonishing. ZombiU players seem to be particularly artistic. Incidentally, this quality of stylus-drawn artwork wouldn't be possible if Nintendo had gone with a fat-fingered multi-touch display. The precision of the stylus makes all the difference.

It's amazing how well the Wii U slots into family life. If someone is using the big TV you can still boot up the console via the GamePad, check out Mii Verse and even play most games without needing the TV.

The Wii U is brilliant.

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