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Nintendo Wii U on sale Nov. 18; what you need to know

Ian Paul | Nov. 19, 2012
Nintendo's Wii U gaming console hits store shelves in the United States on Sunday, November 18, and the new console is already garnering criticism for missing some key features Nintendo promised.

What's the GamePad?

The GamePad is a wireless game controller for the Wii U that is reminiscent of Sony's original PlayStation Portable. The controller features a 6.2-inch touchscreen, dual analog control sticks, and the usual gaming buttons (directional pad on the left; A, B, X, Y buttons on the right).

Depending on the game, the GamePad screen can serve as a secondary display for game stats and other info or an alternative game display. The GamePad also includes a built-in camera and, similar to the Nintendo DS, a stylus. The GamePad is not a stand-alone device; it needs to be within 24 feet of the base station to work.

The GamePad can also double as a TV controller, but the aforementioned TVii enhancement won't launch until December. TVii is a social television offering for the GamePad that lets you view a TV programming guide and interact with friends on Miiverse (an upcoming social network for Nintendo gamers), Facebook, and Twitter.

Only one GamePad comes with each unit, and the controllers are apparently too expensive at this time to sell separately. (Nintendo reps say that no games available at launch can use two GamePads; when a Wii U game comes out that could take advantage of two GamePads, Nintendo will offer additional GamePads for sale.)

Anyone looking for multi-user gameplay can purchase a Wii U Pro Controller for about $50 from retailers such as GameStop.

Is the Wii U backwards compatible with older Wii games?

Nintendo says the new console will be backwards compatible, but that functionality requires a system update that will be available on Sunday, according to IGN. The bad news is non-Wii U games will have to be played in what is called "Wii Mode" and will only work with old Wii controllers. The Wii U GamePad will reportedly not work with older Wii games.

How many games will be available at launch?

There will be more than 30 games for the Wii U on Sunday including popular titles such as Assassin's Creed III, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Batman: Arkham City, and NBA 2K13.

Nintendo also will introduce several of its own games for the Wii U, including Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge.

Nintendo says 29 of the games will be sold in physical form, the others will be available as digital downloads.

How much real storage space do I get?

A lot less than you would expect. The 8GB model offers around a measly 3GB for data storage and game downloads, with the other 5GB reserved for the system, according to Nintendo. The system space on the deluxe model is even bigger taking up 7GB, leaving about 25GB for your personal data.


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