Nintendo’s Massive New Wii U Update Is *THIS* Shy of Greatness

You can play Wii games on your Wii U GamePad...sort of.

  • Share
  • Read Later
Nintendo

Oh, Nintendo. So near, yet so far.

The company just released a whopping 700MB Wii U update that “can take up to an hour to download,” implying substantiality, further implying “feature smorgasbord.” The update dropped last night, filled with all sorts of goodies, bug fixes, optimizations and more. But the one that caught my eye is the option to now pipe Wii games to the Wii U GamePad’s display.

The catch, because you knew there’d be one: you still have to use Wii-based controllers. According to Nintendo:

Wii software displayed on the Wii U GamePad cannot be controlled by the GamePad. This feature only allows Wii software to be displayed on the GamePad. A Wii Remote Plus or Wii Remote is required to play Wii software titles.

I have two problems with this.

One, what are the odds you’re going to play a game that requires the Wiimote and/or Nunchuk, swinging and hopping or leaping and punching, while trying to follow the action on a pygmy 6.2-inch tablet? I’d say low. Unless you’re jury-rigging the GamePad onto one of those flexible, movable LCD arms so you can keep it near your face while you juke and jive, it’s just not happening (nor, I suspect, is buying one of those flexible, movable LCD arms just to attach a gaming tablet to it).

Two, for all the Wii games playable with the Wii Classic Controller (or Pro version) that don’t require motion control, why the heck can’t you simply reprogram the GamePad’s buttons through some sort of interface overlay, as we’ve been able to for years with Sony’s PSP and more recently the PS Vita?

Here’s what I’d love: to be able to play and control via the Wii U GamePad stuff like Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, Tales of GracesSuper Smash Bros. BrawlFire Emblem: Radiant DawnMario Kart Wii and Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary Edition. How lovely might it be to have at those games without having to set the tablet on a table or in your lap while twiddling a detached controller already weirdly tethered to a secondary controller (the Wii Remote) that’s wirelessly synchronized with the Wii U?

24 comments
LarryBundyJr
LarryBundyJr

They must have planned this update for sometime, as they built the sensor bar into the gamepad.  


No other real reason for them to do that.

heavenshitman1
heavenshitman1

The WiiUs improving, my youtube viewing functionality is majorly improved, which I love. But its not hard to play a Wii game with its remotes or classic controllers. I was surprised to realise the gamepad otself has infra red emitters for the wii mote pointers. Its cool. Maybe ur issues can be fixed in future updates. WiiU has come a long way in less than 12 months from being a simpleton slow system to a more modest paced and comprehensive unit filled with features

JonathanDogey
JonathanDogey

I'm sure hoping that another update is pending soon.  This October update was terrible.  Wii U needs the makeover to end all makeovers.  It needs a fresh new OS, it needs the ability to organize titles into folders (or more preferably, some cool animated game shelves, with an animated Mii character picking out his game).  Better yet, Nintendo Wii U needs something a lot like Playstation 3's "Playstation Home" where you can enter a fully 3D interactive virtual world live with other Wii U'ers, where you could have your own little Mii House where you have your classic consoles on a shelf and animated representations of your VC collection.  I'd call this little virtual world:  Miitropolis!  

DukeDukington
DukeDukington

Remember the little portable screens you could snap onto the PSone, GameCube and other consoles? That's what this basically is.. for free.. Not too shabby - but I hope they are working on a patch where the GP can emulate the CCP.

DukeDukington
DukeDukington

Asking for the GamePad to control games where the CCP or Wiimote held on the side can already be used, is not unreasonable. Asking for IR Wiimote designed games to be controlled with the GamePad, would be a ludicrous request.

Stealth____
Stealth____

this makes no sense. That would require each game to be reprogrammed, the author is braindead

SkateRyan
SkateRyan

I've been playing Twilight Princess on the GamePad screen, and I actually prefer it to playing on my HDTV. The games aren't presented in HD, they're presented at 480p. The GamePad's display is not HD, but it still outputs a nice, 16x9 picture. When on a larger display, those games actually look a lot worse than they should. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as "upconverting" the picture, either. 


I'll actually combine that explanation with my explanation for why you still need to use a Wii remote when playing on the GamePad. Both things require the program on the disc to be changed. It is my understanding that you cannot simply map the actions that would have been originally provided by motion controls to a single, or set of, buttons. You would have to rewrite the code that controls the actions into code that maps those actions to the buttons. The same goes for "upconverting" a Wii game to HD, and it's actually even more troublesome. There's a reason it took Nintendo 6 months to make Wind Waker HD. Textures, character models, maps, user interface, and various other aspects have to be changed completely from their original version to look good on an HD set.

Nintendo did what they could with what they have. The only thing I wish they would do now is create a unified Nintendo Network account that allows for cross purchasing with my 3DS. I own several virtual console games that I don't want to have to pay for just to be able to play them on Wii U.

AllCreation
AllCreation

I never expected to get this ability through an update to begin with so I'm grateful... Is it unreasonable to think that Nintendo will release further Gamepad usability for Wii games in a future update? I'm mean even without it i'm content.

PeeweeRotA
PeeweeRotA

You don't have kids? Explains the stupidity!

If you do have kids, you have the Wii-U set up in a major family room. This TV has some other game system on it, has another netflix player, and has a blu-ray player. One kid wants to play donkey kong country returns. The other 2 want to watch some new show called "princess ballerina ninja team go!" or "slimey guck monsters race lego cars, team go!"... Now you can send your favorite child off to play DK, and leave the black sheep to their silly korean outsourced animation TV shows!

You've added a second TV. In fact, this feature is already really easy to take advantage of. You can watch netflix/hulu/amazon on the gamepad. Leaving the actual TV for other uses. This is a major feature of the system. Are you blind? Do you even own one? This article needs a giant FAIL stamped on it, with a few extra fail stamps pummeled into the writers face.

Nintendo has always primarily advertised to the family market, so missing this is EMBARASSING for a writer. So yeah. You probably should retract any negative comments above and cite insufficient research, or laziness, for the reason. Holy crap, you suck at your job.

xnemesis23x
xnemesis23x

I seriously almost bought a wii u a couple days ago and a few wii titles - up until the gamestop rep said, "you have to buy a wii controller to play these wii games." I said never mind. Nintendo was this close to having a new customer but failed to realize they shun new customers just to save a few pennies by not including a remote in the wii u along with the tablet!

YienwaePerezfam-miiz
YienwaePerezfam-miiz

I don't have a problem with this.  First off, no one is going to attempt to play something like Beatles Rock Band or Just Dance (for the Wii)  and just try to dance (or play instruments) using the gamepad as a screen.  That makes no sense.  But, I can see someone (myself or my kid) playing Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword or Twilight Princess using the gamepad as the alternate screen.

BobbySlobby
BobbySlobby

People are forgetting how hard it would be to implement every Wii game into the touchscreen controller.  It would take forever to get every game to work properly.  While not being able to use the touchscreen controller is disappointing, its not the end of the world.  

perplexed1
perplexed1

lol Nintendo.... Another swing and a miss. They cant do anything right.

Jock_Nerd
Jock_Nerd

What Discostew said. It's not as easy as a snap of the fingers.

joeydobbo
joeydobbo

Besides you overlooking the technical limitations of the whole set-up, you seem to have overlooked the two gamepad stands that come with the console.....

I found a use for the update right away. N64 games on gamepad while I watched Champions League followed by Wiiware on the gamepad. I have to agree that it does seem strange plugging a classic controller in to a wiimote to play a game on a giant controller.

Discostew
Discostew

It's not as simple for Wii mode to accept Gamepad input as it is to have Wii mode streamed to the Gamepad. The management of the output stream was already set back at Wii U launch, since the Wii mode is incapable of upscaling 480p. The Wii U side had to deal with that (like the 3DS deals with handling DS output, upscaled or not). All Nintendo did was take the output and sent it off to the Gamepad.

The Gamepad operates on a 2nd WiFi module, not Bluetooth like Wiimotes do. Wii mode is incapable of accessing this 2nd WiFi module because it is external to it. People have been able to have it work with PCs because they aren't bound to what the Wii mode requires for full 100% Wii compatibility.

NetMan
NetMan

Or it's a nice option for people who don't game alone in a basement, and have friends to play games with/who like to watch games.

kuasynei
kuasynei

Eh, when the larger television is always being used I feel great when I can use the gamepad as an alternate screen. It would be awesome if you didn't need wii motes but frankly, I don't mind all that much. Also wildbob777 I'm so dissapointed you didn't use Sega's poke at Nintendo there. Should have said: "Let's hope some hacker will do what NintenDONT."

wildbob777
wildbob777

I absolutely agree, I do not believe it is a problem to make Wii U gamepad buttons work with some old wii games. There are already third party applications for gamepad communication to PC (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN8nmDXodtE). Let's hope some hacker will do it when Nintendo CAN NOT.


ChrisBradshaw
ChrisBradshaw

I agree Mat. I feel exactly the same, there could have so much added value!

a.tarantino1984
a.tarantino1984

@SkateRyan 

Nintendo already announced an update that will unify Nintendo Network accounts and your eShop balance on the Wii U and 3DS.

brooks13
brooks13

@PeeweeRotA  

I think you missed the point. If the kids are playing a Wii title, NOT a Wii U, from the game pad they also need a wii remote.  So send your favorite off to play a Wii title (Not to mistaken for Wii U) but make sure they have the game pad plus the wii remote. 


BobbyCoca-ColaFueledShornock
BobbyCoca-ColaFueledShornock

@xnemesis23x Buy Wii Party U for $49.99, basically a $10 remote.   I can see your frustrations though, the fact that they allowed off TV play for the Wii games is huge, however, until they allow some games to be played off the gamepad, I could see that being an issue.

willoberleitner
willoberleitner

 That maks sense for why it is the way it is. Kind of silly that they did not think about this in the past and add bluetooth support to the controller or perhaps have something running ontop of the wii emulation to make the wii-side think the gamepad controls were bluetooth. It is hard when technical limitations or poor planning get in the way of user experience.

This is seemingly something they thought up since the device has been made public. Probably because of the pressure of bad press and a drought of games...