My family’s first day with the Wii U consisted of successfully picking up my Deluxe pre-order at GameStop after some confusion almost knocked me down to the Basic. After taking it back home and unpacking it, I was surprised at how substantial the console felt. A vast difference from Nintendo’s previous console efforts that felt toy-like. Meanwhile, my wife and kids ogled over the GamePad with the touchscreen and playfully argued over who would get to use it first.
I warned my kids the night before of the hour-long update (welcome to the big boy console world, Nintendo?) which they seemed OK with. I was actually surprised at how quickly it took to perform the initial console setup and get the Wii U hooked up to my wireless network. Part of that is because making selections and typing with the GamePad is a breeze compared to using a controller with the PS3 and Xbox 360. We later spent more time setting up our Miis and accounts only because it took so long for the kids to decide how they wanted to look and what to use for their Nintendo Network IDs.
Once setup, I left the console downloading the initial update while my son and I took a trip to Toys R Us to take advantage of the “buy one, get one 40% offer” on Wii U games and my wife and daughter headed off to a birthday party. I ended up skipping ZombiU for now and picked up New Super Mario Bros. U and Scribblenauts Unlimited instead. I figured those two games plus NintendoLand should be enough to get us started, but it turns out that NintendoLand monopolized all of our play time on Sunday. That play time had to wait until after another update for just the game, of course.
My son and I tore through Zelda: Battle Quest which requires a surprising amount of teamwork as the sword and shield guy(s) must protect the vulnerable archer. I was slightly disappointed that the competitive attractions are variations on the same chase theme though. Luigi’s Ghost Mansion was my favorite of those despite the relative small size of the maps.
Surprisingly, my kids did not fight over who got to play with the GamePad as they both wanted to try different control options. This is for NintendoLand only for now and we’ll see how long it lasts as they settle on their favorite control scheme.
The GamePad’s limited 3-hour battery life quickly came out to bite us, unfortunately. I plopped it on the charger while we ate dinner and the kids took a break from video games. They later quietly sneaked down to the basement for more NintendoLand time but I was surprised to see they took another break from the Wii U and were playing LEGO Lord of the Rings on the Xbox 360. I think they are under review deadline pressure.