Super Mario's Creator Says Wii U Skepticism Mirrors the Nintendo DS Debut

Illustration for article titled Super Mario's Creator Says Wii U Skepticism Mirrors the Nintendo DS Debut

Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Super Mario and the Legend of Zelda, gave an interview to CNN this weekend about the Wii U that basically amounts to "Please give us a chance." He thinks the skepticism shown to the Wii U is akin to the early doubts about the first Nintendo DS, and that public opinion will ultimately swing around on this piece of hardware, too.


"There was a period when we first released the Nintendo DS that people would say there's no way people can look at two screens at once," he told CNN. "I almost feel like, as people get more familiar with Wii U and these touchscreen interfaces, that there is going to come a point where they feel like 'I can't do everything I want to do if I don't have a second screen'."

That may be, but the Wii U has yet to see enough compelling games to come close to making that kind of a case. The comparison to the DS also is a little off, in my opinion, because the DS didn't come at the end of its hardware generation; it led it (in a much different marketplace, too), which gives a little more leeway to to the idea that its twin screens were ahead of their time. If the Wii U is current generation hardware, it's arriving late. If it's the next console generation, about a year after its release it will be a distant third to the horsepower of the PlayStation 4 and whatever Microsoft is cooking, regardless of what its controller offers.

Miyamoto may have a case that the Wii U gamepad is poorly understood. But if so, it's because there currently is little out there to compel most folks to buy it, much less explore it if they already have one. My last login on the Wii U was Dec. 16, incidentally the day I wrote this column. I recall that once I wrapped up watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix, that was it for my Wii U use. True, primarily I am a sports gamer, a constituency for whom the Wii U is functionally irrelevant. (Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14? Not on Wii U. NCAA 14? Nope. I'll be surprised if Madden NFL 25 comes out on it, frankly.) ZombiU and LEGO City Undercover are the best games exclusive to the Wii U, but they're not enough to cast the GamePad as having indispensable capabilities.

"I feel a device like Wii U, with its ability to continue to offer new features and that network connection and the connection to the TV and the interface, really makes it feel that it's more than just a game machine, but something that offers a lot of practical use and practical purpose in the living room," Miyamoto told CNN. "I look at it as being a very useful device that can do many different things and therefore really seems to be the device that's ideal to have in the living room."

Wait, how long have we been talking about that kind of a role for gaming consoles? Four years? Five? If you need an argumentative trump card that the Wii U is late to the party in its console generation, there it is.


'Mario,' 'Zelda' creator says give the Wii U time [CNN]



I've never liked the idea of the gamepad. When I heard the rumors I didn't care for the idea. When I saw the gamepad I didn't care for the idea. When I demoed the WiiU I still didn't like the idea and my hands were too big for the gamepad to sit comfortably, which surprised me after all I heard about how comfortable it was.

That said, has anyone really complained a ton about the WiiU gamepad? The most I've heard since the idea became official was "Yeah it's alright" or "Yeah it works well" or "The gamepad is awesome!". The complaints all seem to be about the lack of power, which puts the WiiU in a considerably different position from the DS.

Lacking power on a handheld can actually be applauded as handheld systems are meant for smaller games, often times on the go. I almost never use my DS except when I'm in a waiting room or on a long car ride. At those moments the fact that it couldn't play GTA San Andreas was the furthest thing from my mind. I don't mind that handheld games have gotten bigger and closer to console games, but there is no real fault in them for not being console games.

The WiiU, however, is not a handheld. There is very little reason why we should be hearing that the next-gen engines will not run on it. I'm not saying Nintendo needs to lead in the race for power, but it would be nice if they were at least capable of running the next big third party titles whenever they roll around. The Wii lost a LOT of good titles due to its lack of power but made up for it by being accessible to the non-gamer; the WiiU, however, is a mess to advertise simply due to the name, does not have the same kind of gimmick that draws in those unlikely to play games, and is currently able to play this generations games (sometimes better, sometimes worse than the current consoles).

Is there a place for the WiiU? Probably, but it's not my living room. I have no desire to pay $300+ for a system that feels like it should have come out in 2006/7.