Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.
I must admit that the Nintendo Wii U, though I love it, hasn’t done as well as I’d hoped. The problem is simple. Games – there are none! All of the major releases I (and many others) were excited for, like Wonderful 101, Pikmin 3 and Rayman Legends, have been delayed and won’t be showing up until at least August.
A console with no games to play isn’t great, but that doesn’t mean your Wii U has to collect dust. There are some things you can do with it, including playing games, even if they’re not the new AAA exclusives you bought the console to enjoy.
Play The Virtual Console
The virtual console was one of the Wii’s more interesting featuring, and while the Wii U didn’t launch with much of a selection, Nintendo has now begun to flesh out what’s available. There are now 18 games available that have been ported over from the NES and SNES.
Highlights on the list include Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario World, F-Zero, Super Metroid and four Kirby games. These ports have been fully emulated, so they’ll work perfectly on your Wii U console and support off-screen play. That means you can for the first time enjoy Super Metroid while someone else watches TV.
Pricing is decent, too, as titles are under 10 bucks in most regions (sorry Australia) and gamers who already own a title on the Wii’s virtual console get an 80% discount.
Enjoy Wii Games You Missed
The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 had to abandon backwards compatibility because of their shift to x86 hardware, which is fundamentally different from what was used in the Xbox 360/PS3. Nintendo hasn’t made such a leap, however, so the console is backwards-compatible with Wii games.
Everyone knows the major Wii titles, such as Mario Kart Wii and Super Mario Galaxy. But did you ever find the time to play Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, No More Heroes, Kirby’s Epic Yarn and other lesser-known entries? If you didn’t, now is a fine time to catch up, and the games aren’t expensive (particularly if you buy them used).
There are many Wii “best of” lists online, but I suggest checking out the list published by Amazon user Michael Leisz. He does a better job of picking out lesser-known titles than many professional game journalists.
Check Out Indie Titles
While new games for the Wii U have been few, some indie titles have hint the platform. These include Zen Pinball, Bit.Trip Runner 2, The Cave and Trine 2: Director’s Cut. If you haven’t downloaded these indie titles yet, you should, as they’re great – Zen Pinball 2 and Trine 2 are my personal favorites.
Browse The Web & Watch Video
The Wii U is a game console, but like the other major consoles, it can also be used as an entertainment center.
Why use there Wii U instead of your Xbox or PS3? There are several reasons. First, the Wii U’s touchpad offers unique control that isn’t possible on the other consoles, and I find Netflix in particular to be better on the Wii U. Second, the Wii U is almost silent, so you don’t have to worry about fan noise interrupting quiet scenes. And there’s no charge for access to online content, an advantage it shared with PS3 over Microsoft’s Xbox.
The web browser is handy, too. Yes, competitors also have web browsers, but the touchscreen tablet with stylus making browsing on the Wii U much easier than on other consoles. You can even use the web browser to view online video on some sites and services that don’t offer an app for the console.
Chat With Friends
Microsoft boasted of Skype integrated in the Xbox One at its press conference. That’s great, no doubt about it, but the Wii U already has a feature that can be used to talk with friends via audio and video. It is, as you might expect, called Wii U Chat.
The feature is pretty simple. Just fire up the app, find a friend to chat with, and that’s it. You’re able to draw images on the chat window in addition to talking. Not exactly ground-breaking stuff, but if you know others with a Wii U, it’s nice to have and it’s free to use.
Browse The MiiVerse
The MiiVerse is Nintendo’s unique take on an online forum. Users can post there with their thoughts about games and also create art using their touchscreen and stylus. This may seem like a gimmick (‘cause it is) but community is actually great and users have created some really awesome bits of black-and-white fan art. If you haven’t checked it out recently, give the MiiVerse another look.
Wii U Games are coming. Really!
We are about three months away from some major Wii U games. After that, the titles available should start to come out at a steadier pace if there are no major delays. Yea, I know, that’s a big if; but at least there are some things you can enjoy on the console while you’re waiting.