Wii Hardly Knew U

wii_u_miiverse_main_menu

So, last night, Nintendo pulled the plug on its Miiverse social network. This means I just lost a convenient method to take screenshots of Wii U games. Not only that, I also lost the only method I had to take screenshots of the video feed on the Wii U Gamepad.* I hope the screenshots I’ve saved so far are enough to illustrate any future writing!

Of course, we could ask why players ever needed to connect to a social network to take screenshots of a game in the first place. (Certainly, the ever-reliable twelve seconds required to reach the Miiverse servers was never welcome.)

But, in honor of its passing, let’s cut the Miiverse some slack. The Wii U was, after all, the first console to launch with a built-in screenshot taking mechanism, catching up to Steam’s well-worn “F12” key. And it remained, up until last night, admirably responsive. Despite the network-induced downtime, you were still guaranteed to capture the exact frame up on the screen when your thumb hit the “home” button, with none of the guesswork-inducing delay of the PlayStation 4’s “share” function.

That’s not the only feature the Wii U sported that was demonstrably superior to those of its competitors. It gave the world the first web browser for a home console that didn’t completely suck. To this day, I still curse the Steam and PS4 browsers for not auto-filling your browser search bar with the game you have suspended, a cherished Wii U feature. And the notion that strategy tips posted on Miiverse would transform every game on the console into a pseudo Souls-like was intriguing, even if never got implemented beyond a few choice first-party titles like Super Mario 3D World.

Ah, and now I’m getting all misty-eyed. I missed a prime moment to post a retrospective on the Wii U console, back in March when the Switch launched. But the Miiverse’s death seems like a worthy milestone, so let’s commemorate.

Continue reading

Videogame Cat of the Week: Aisha

cat_of_the_week_aisha

Xenoblade Chronicles X (Monolith Soft, 2015) an enormous game—too big, in fact—and so there is a very real possibility that players will miss the side mission “Nine Lives” when they play. This would be a shame, as they would also miss the opportunity to be acquainted with Aisha, the game’s cat.

Aisha is a badass. In Xenoblade Chronicles X, the entire Earth has been destroyed, but Aisha survived because she was the baddest cat on the planet. Humans recognized her vast potential and brought her aboard on a spaceship headed to a new home, to test the hardiness of felines and their potential to conquer the universe. Spoilers: they totes will. Aisha represents the absolute best of her species, unafraid to pick fights with giant crab monsters that try to steal her food.

Continue reading