It's day one of Wii U season, and the specifics of your new console can be a little confusing. What is this all-important software patch? What games can you download immediately? And how does the console stack up?
Here's everything you need to know about the Wii U, whether you're just getting cozy with your console or you're considering a new addition to your entertainment system.
What's the deal with the Wii U?
The Wii U is Nintendo's latest entry into next-gen. Its big hook is the GamePad, a controller with a six-inch screen and capabilities for multiplayer, video watching and more. Think of it as a mini-system that allows you play away from the console, whether that's in your bathroom or kitchen. Before you can enjoy all the features of your Wii U, including Internet functionality and social services, you'll need to hop online and download a day-one patch from Nintendo.
8GB Basic Set: $299.99
Includes: HDMI cable, remote sensor bar, A/C adapter, GamePad AC adapter, GamePad, Wii U
32GB Deluxe Set: $349.99
Includes: HDMI cable, remote sensor bar, A/C Adapter, GamePad AC adapter, Nintendo Land, GamePad stand, powered GamePad stand, GamePad, Wii U
Battery Life: About three hours.
Charge Time: Two hours, 30 minutes.
Range: Official specs say the GamePad will work properly between 8 inches and 26 feet. We've been able to nearly double the distance.
"It's difficult to figure out exactly what Nintendo is trying to do with the the Wii U. Granted, the enthusiast press has demonstrated an inability to grasp ideas from the company that later turn out to be brilliant in retrospect, such as the Nintendo DS's dual screens or the Wii's motion control. But that doesn't change the fact that few games on the system use the GamePad to do something new with console gaming."
Day-One System Update:
Download Time: Dependent on several factors, including your ISP and location. Ranges so far from 45 minutes to an hour and 45 minutes.
Install Time: About 10 minutes.
What the update includes:
The update is the key to online functionality. You'll need it to access services such as web browsing, the eShop, online gameplay, the Miiverse and Wii backwards compatibility. Once you've got the update, you can assign a Nintendo Network to individual Miis and begin building friend lists, which cap out at 100. You'll also be able to head into the Miiverse, a social hub comlete with community boards. After a Nintendo Network ID is linked to a Mii, you gain access the eShop, where you can download various titles.
What you can do without the update:
The Wii U will still operate as a basic console without the update. You can create Miis, configure your TV settings, and play games locally. You'll have to get the system set up, patch or no patch, and remember that you'll need at least two power outlets for the Wii U and its GamePad charger.
Transferring Wii data to the Wii U:
If you have Wii saves you'd like to port over, you'll want to pick up an SD card. Stick that into the Wii U to get started with the console's Wii System Transfer Application, then insert the same card into your Wii. Download and transfer application from the Wii Shop channel, and insert the card back into your Wii U. Once the data has been moved to the Wii U, it will wipe itself from the card.
Wii Software save data
WiiWare and save data
Virtual Console titles and save data
Wii Shop Channel activity
Number of Games on eShop:
Total Games: 23
Notable Titles: Assassin's Creed 3, Darksiders 2, ZombiU, Nano Assault Neo, Trine 2: Director's Cut
Launch Day Titles:
Assassin's Creed 3 (Ubisoft)
Darksiders 2 (THQ)
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (Disney Interactive)
ESPN Sports Connection (Ubisoft)
FIFA Soccer 13 (EA)
Game Party Champions (WB Games)
Just Dance 4 (Ubisoft)
Madden NFL 13 (EA)
New Super Mario Bros. U (Nintendo)
Nintendo Land (Nintendo)
Rabbids Land (Ubisoft)
Scribblenauts Unlimited (5th Cell)
Sing Party (Nintendo)
Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed (Sega)
Tank! Tank! Tank! (Namco)
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 (Ubisoft)