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I'm in a weird situation when it comes to the Wii U. 3DS/Wii U era was the era of me getting into third parties for the first time in my life, since on 3DS there was nothing else to play for a while: Wii/DS burned me badly on third parties save for Scribblenauts, so I mostly ignored anything without Nintendo's logo on them for a good five years. Long one folks, get ready for a read:
So on the Wii U, I bought one day one, still remember going to get mine at Sears because every other store in town sold out of them, and I went home with only Nintendo Land to play until christmas. It was a fun time since Donkey Kong Crash Course was my jam, but then... It got really rocky.
I remember buying MSFHD on Christmas, and hearing some games like Toki Toki 2 got delayed that were meant for late 2012: None of the third party retail games were interesting at launch save for Scribblenauts, which I also got for Christmas, but stuff like AC3 and Batman I didn't care for due to them being old ports. I wanted a newer game, close to day and date. (AC3 was like that in retrospect, but I just think the fact it was M rated and I was 14 made that impossible for a few more years) Some eShop games like Runner 2 and The Cave were just that, so I bought them both. Zen Pinball 2 was also kinda getting like that despite a major delay.
I had a blast with those games, but then... Nothing. I was a huge VC fan on the 3DS, and hoped for a good time with Wii U VC, and I found it to be really good for the most part, but I can't deny that the first year was crazy rough, especially for those who weren't playing things the first time over like me.
I loved buying everything that came out and have 180 Wii U VC games to prove it, but that first year was HELLLLLLLL. Literally EVERY VC GAME that year except for NES Golf and EarthBound was on Wii VC. I owned a few of them and didn't mind rebuying the marios and zeldas, but if I owned all that on Wii I wouldn't have bothered. It was pretty poor and you were better off in Wii mode with most of them, and I was VERY envious of Japan getting MSX/PCE games that year, but not us. Though I still had an amazing time playing Super Metroid for the first time ever due to the 30 cent program.
The retail offerings didn't help much either: Nintendo released like, nothing of significance in 2013 that I can remember outside of WWHD, and the third party games I tried buying for hype just were utter crap ports. I bought Injustice and Need For Speed on day one, eager to support third parties, but NFS was a crashy, buggy hellhole that didn't even get DLC that was announced for other platforms, and Injustice started off strong with a fun game, but then they dissed us on DLC too after the first season and never fixed a level reset bug: What the hell?! I pretty much stopped buying western third party retail games after that scam. Don't even get me started on being horrified at seeing a fake 3D Mario game shown off at E3, being a NSMBU game in 3D... And then despite liking a multiplayer demo at best buy, I got it on Christmas and was very angry we got jipped with a 2.5D NSMBU game than a true 3D mario game with exploration and missions. The game was leagues better than NSMBU, (so was Luigi U for that matter, which I really loved due to the short levels) but god, back then it was the freaking worst.
Thankfully, 2014 happened and I consider that to be the best Wii U year by far. Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong, Bayonetta, Smash 4, it was pretty epic for first party. The VC got a major boost of life support too, with GBA games that were never ported before being on Wii U. running much better than the crap 3DS versions, I was in heaven and finally had lengthy games to play on my Wii U: I got introduced to the Battle Network series among many others due to this service. Indies also picked up this year with ports that were actually good like Guacamelee, and it even led to me being a game reviewer due to me noticing not many other sites were trying to give feedback to some of these games (I could later see why, due to this being the start of Wii U shovelware)
But 2015/2016? Ooof, if I wasn't a VC fan I'd be beyond pissed moreso than 3DW. Awful physical lineups, Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival existing, a cool Star Fox game getting Miyamoto'd, the only retail game of note I loved in that frame was Tokyo Mirage Sessions. Xenoblade X seemed good too but wasn't my type of game. The indie shovelware got even worse during that year of 2015, and the 3DS had more quality games than the Wii U! But I still got to play tons of cool N64/GBA games, and would have played more DS stuff if the emulation wasn't so awful, (why can't you use a pro controller? That drove me insane due to how barely any of the games used the touch screen) so at least I felt like I didn't need to switch systems...
I'd like to say the corporate shakeup in late 2015/early 2016 made me super optimistic for the future since new blood was finally being injected, but Kimishima just rubbed me the wrong way and I had no idea if he'd ever launch anything well, much less a new console: But 2016 was a gap year even weaker than 2015: Outside of Mystery Dungeon on the Wii U VC, even the VC games dried up hard, with them shifting more towards weird Wii retail downloads that weren't even true VC games in the slightest. That was definitely the year I stepped back and was like "Yeah, I don't think I want to be Nintendo only forever. I like the Wii U, but devs are skipping the platform for a reason".
So I bought a PS3 AND PS4 with my emergency fund that holiday season, expecting the Switch to be pretty much a Wii U repeat. BOTW looked fun, but I didn't know what else was coming. Kimishima still rarely appeared in directs like Iwata did, (the one thing I will praise the guy for as Nintendo's CEO, was that he actually made directs fun and have charm: Now Koizumi brought that charm back, but for a while it was DARK, and directs would feel soulless if they happened at all.) and just came off as a strict businessman, especially with how they shifted to mobile. I like their new CEO way, way better than any of the others they have, since he's smart and knows what works, but before the transition to him, Kimishima was one I reallllly wished would just learn to socialize in directs.
The good news is, the 2017 presentation did the trick and worked on me, making me on board with the switch: Bomberman R was the real system seller for me, and while I was really angry about the lack of so many things with the Switch during year 1, (Achievements, text chat, a proper Virtual Console or any retro catalog that wasn't endless clones of Street Fighter, which also launched that year as a retail game for some reason) I'm a bit more happy with the system now: 2018 may have been a poor year for Nintendo, but it was the BEST for third party switch games: Day and date ports, some awesome retro compilations, NSO's catalog slowly being a thing, exclusive indie gems, it was amazing.
I enjoy my PS4 a plenty too, and still do, but I'm proud to say that 2018/2019 made me a Switch primary player, despite some missing features I'd still gripe about. The joy I felt on Wii U with some stuff like NES Remix, was now felt full-time with cool games like Odyssey, Ultimate, Hyrule Warriors Legends, Pokemon Sword, Captain Toad, and sooooooo many indie gems that it's not even funny! Don't even get me started on Hamster Corp: after shoveling out a bunch of fighting games, they finally got some good variety in, introducing me to some awesome games like Magical Drop III, Zed Blade, Blazing Star, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, and Fatal Fury! If it wasn't for the fact that games like Art of Fighting were so godawful, I would have given some of the other cool NG fighters a chance instead of assuming they were bad ripoffs like AOF and World Heroes were! Now they give out a new Arcade game weekly, and i'm even more thrilled.
So yeah: Nostalgia may be a big thing in the Wii U for me, and I still hook mine up for PC engine games and a PMD playthrough, but with the PCE mini, I'll almost certainly have it in my closet by the end of the year, since my Switch and PCE Mini will finally replace it. I'll still miss the folders and menu music from Wii U, but I'm just glad the system didn't flop like I expected it to be, and I've finally warmed up to it. Bravo to Nintendo's new management for pulling this off! And whatever little bit of power to make things work Iwata had with the 3DS back in 2015, as I'm sure that helped pull off the handheld aspect of the system. I still enjoy playing certain things on my PS4, but most stuff is multiplat on Switch these days that I just end up double dipping unless the framerate in a port is poor. Super happy in general, and when we get folders, it'll be the perfect Nintendo system!