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

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

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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?