Upgrading to the Wii U

Ah, the holiday season–Thanksgiving dinner plans are being made, retailers are staying open for an hour longer starting on Black Friday if not sooner, final exams are coming up (I have three essays to write for my online Ethics class before the final, unfortunately), and people are beginning to think about what to spend their money on for Christmas.

I know Christmas should be focused on the birth of Jesus over material things, but after giving it some careful thought, I decided it’s high time that I upgraded to…the Wii U.

Courtesy: Nintendo

Apparently, my original Wii has been acting up since late July, if not earlier. “Cristina, how is your Wii acting up, and why didn’t you address this problem?” you may ask.

It all started when I was playing Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing just to help myself get a hang of my driving experience in the real world. I played on the Seaside Hill racetrack, and right in the middle of the race my Wii takes me back to the title screen not once, but five times.

When I played The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword later, the same thing happened thrice, and I had trouble controlling Link thrice.

I played Sonic Colors, and I had a hard time controlling my favorite blue hedgehog as I was jumping on the construction platforms on Planet Wisp.

Playing Super Mario Bros. Wii the night before the semester began, I had a lot of trouble getting through a level in World 2, and how many times did the Wii take me back to the title screen? EIGHT. FRICKIN’. TIMES!

I haven’t touched my Wii ever since.

I addressed this problem not to my family, but to some of my gamer aquaintances at school. They told me the main reason why my Wii is having these technical difficulties is because of the constant updates the console undergoes each time a new game disc is inserted and the data from the new game is added to the SD card–of course, the last new game I got for the Wii was Just Dance 2015–thus rendering the console itself less efficient than it was in the past.

“Nintendo is basically making the Wii entirely useless to make you upgrade to the Wii U,” said one acquaintance who shall not be named for privacy’s sake.

I thought my Wii was having problems because my mom knocked it off the TV shelf by accident while she was installing her new Comcast Xfinity DVR.

The best thing about the Wii U is I can either play games with the traditional Wii Remote and the Wii Controller, the Game Pad or even both. Plus, I can use Amiibo figurines for Super Smash. Bros or other games on which they’re compatible, depending on the model line they belong to.

Courtesy: GameStop

And the best part about the Wii U? It possesses backwards compatibility for all the Wii games, so I might be able to transfer all the game data from the Wii to the new console.

I think switching to the Wii U will be the best decision I’ll ever make as a gamer. I was contemplating on upgrading to the PlayStation 4 as well, but that’s another story.

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Satoru Iwata: The Leader Behind Nintendo’s Success

Satoru Iwata: The Leader Behind Nintendo’s Success

Some say that it sucks when people give a person more respect in death than they do in life. I, unfortunately, am one of those people, especially after hearing the sad news of the sudden passing of one of gaming’s greats: Satoru Iwata. He died on July 11th at the age of 55 of a bile duct tumor that was supposedly eviscerated last year.

Iwata was CEO and President of Nintendo Co. Ltd. since 2002, succeeding Hiroshi Yamauchi, the company’s president since 1949. He was the first Nintendo president not related to Nintendo’s founding Yamauchi family by blood or marriage. He became a consultant to HAL Laboratory, the game developer he worked as a programmer after graduating from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and that worked closely with Nintendo on Kirby, EarthBound, and the Super Smash Bros. series. At the time Iwata was promoted as president and CEO, Nintendo wasn’t performing as financially well as other console producers, with their GameCube selling poorly in comparison with Sony’s PlayStation 2 and Microsoft’s Xbox. In 2005, Iwata helped Nintendo revitalize their handheld system, transitioning from the Game Boy to the Nintendo DS, which introduced the touchscreen (before Apple did with their iPod Touch!) and allowed for more novel games to be played on it. A year later, he introduced motion control-based gaming via the Wii, the console that nearly doubled Nintendo’s stock price. When Nintendo’s finances plummeted in 2009–we were still going through the Great Recession at this point–Iwata curtailed his salary in half to help the company’s poor finances and to better compete with Microsoft and Sony. In 2011, in order to help Nintendo improve public relations with its fans, Iwata instituted Nintendo Direct, a series of press conferences open to everybody that revealed upcoming Nintendo games and products outside of typical industry channels, which are often done in a quirky, humorous manner, like the mock fight between him and Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé. I never watched any Nintendo Direct conferences on YouTube, but I am pretty aware of them. Earlier this year, as the sales of traditional home consoles were falling, Iwata placed part of Nintendo’s focus on the fast-growing mobile game market, creating a partnership with mobile provider DeNA to publish titles.

As news of Iwata’s passing quickly spread throughout the gaming community, art tributes were posted on Twitter, Tumblr, etc. with the hashtag #ThankYouIwata as symbols of their appreciation for his creativity and his passion for gaming, and his accomplishments because of it. Here are my two favorite pieces:

by Namie
by Namie
by Alex "Axel" Irish
by Alex “Axel” Irish

Forget about what I said in the beginning of this entry. It turns out I have been appreciating Iwata’s work the entire time by playing on the consoles he helped to create–the Nintendo GameCube, the Game Boy Advanced SP, the Wii, and the Nintendo 3DS. I even appreciated his suggestion of bringing Mario and Sonic together in Nintendo’s Olympic games series. Here’s the link to the EU Nintendo Direct footage of Satoru Iwata explaining Mario & Sonic at the Sochi Winter Games: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI73qViGuTU

I hope that either Shigeru Miyamoto or Genyo Takeda (mostly Miyamoto) will do a great job filling Iwata’s position as President and CEO of Nintendo. Still, there will never be another man with the same brilliant mind and spark of creativity and passion as Satoru Iwata. May he rest in peace.