I finally caved in and bought the Wii U not long ago, after finding out how far away SSB4 still was. I was intending on holding out until it was out, but since it's still quite a while away I decided, eh, why not. Right now the only game I have is the copy of NSMBU that came with it (complete with the NSLU DLC), but I already pre-ordered MK8 with a gift card I got for Christmas, so the situation won't last.
I was surprised to find out that even in the early 2010s, a console could still outdo its predecessor this significantly on the graphics front, though it's for all the wrong reasons - namely the fact that the Wii had no HD support. And it clearly appears that the Wii U seems to have been meant to compete with the PS3 and 360, as if Nintendo thought these two systems still had much more life left in them than they did. Regardless, graphical performance means very little to me. Of course it'd be silly if a home console game with GCN/PS2 graphics was made these days, but if the game was good enough it wouldn't stop me from buying it. Nothing brings my piss to a boil quite like hearing about how games like GTA4 have graphics so bad they're "unplayable".
As for the gamepad... I can only say I'm pleasantly surprised. When I first heard about it, I thought the size of that monstrosity would make it a hassle to handle, an opinion I still had upon buying the console. Surprisingly, I'm having no problems whatsoever with it. It IS fairly large, but it's deceptively easy to use. I was also unsure about the purpose of its screen, but upon trying it I can only say being able to play a home console game while still being able to watch TV (especially handy during NHL playoff season) is really nice. Heck, the screen's big enough that using it to play isn't jarring at all, even compared to my 32" TV.
So anyway, NSMBU. To be quite frank... the base game is a bit underwhelming compared to the Wii version. Sure, it has its moments (especially Soda Jungle and Superstar Road, and I guess making Peach's Castle into the FIRE world of all things was an interesting twist), but generally there's a bit less personality to it than NSMBW. It's not that it's a bad game, mind you, but it's not the greatest thing ever either. I blame NSMB2 for this. Damn game should never have existed, then all the effort would've gone into NSMBU, and it might have been a much more memorable game - at the very least it would've been the target of less sarcastic comments (at least among those who actually played it).
Luigi U, on the other hand... well, I'm only three worlds into it, but it definitely has a lot more flavor to it. Not just because of the difficulty, or the awkward physics... the level design genuinely feels a lot more interesting, even though we might not see too much of it because of how short the levels are. But at the same time, it might just be this bite-sized approach that gives the levels that charm. Either way, it presents much more of a challenge than anything else we'd seen in the NSMB series, all while not being defined solely by the difficulty. 100 seconds is enough to get through most levels just fine, but there's no time for exploring and looking for secrets like you'd do otherwise. Luigi's signature abilities, including the dreaded SLIPPERY SHOES, are featured front and center and the game itself is built around that, which makes a fitting tribute to a character that quite often found itself either underused or misused. So in a way, it's the DLC that's probably meant to be an afterthought that ironically makes NSMBU into a game worth getting into. (As a side thought, DLC in a Nintendo game. Here you go, if you thought there was just no way MK8 would ever get some. Pikmin 3 also got that treatment, for the record.)
While I'm on the subject of Mario, here's an interesting tidbit I came across on the Super Mario Wiki:
In a 2012 interview with the American magazine Game Informer, Shigeru Miyamoto
explicitly stated that "our current story is that the Koopalings are
not Bowser's children", officially leaving Bowser Jr. as his only
...wait, what? How did I miss that? Am I the last person in the world to learn about this retcon, or is it something that went over most people's heads? Either way, I guess it was necessary to make this whole thing about Bowser's bloodline less complicated, though the question remains... who's Bowser Jr.'s mother? Is Maury Povich still a thing?
Besides, this is the man who once said in an interview many years ago that LttP was the last game in the Zelda timeline, even though it has always been a prequel to the first two games, and never stopped being so at any point in time... still, I'd assume Mario's canon would be a bit more basic than Zelda's.
Oh, and I guess I can't wrap this up without a mention of how Microsoft is at least partially disavowing the Kinect. Remember how they depicted it as being just that important to the Xbox One experience? Well, that was the last thing people hated about it that they could U-turn on, and U-turn they did. Guess the execs were in an absolute panic upon seeing Titanfall wasn't even enough to allow the Xbox One to overhaul the PS4 over the month it came out.
So now the Xbox One has none of the things that made it so viscerally hated when it was first announced, and a price tag equal to that of its primary competitor to boot. Is this good enough? Well... these suits thought all those things that were meant to nickel-and-dime gamers were good ideas at some point, and were so confident in them that they showed their hand in full before Sony even said a single word, and some customers might not forgive so easily. Of course there's always the hardware performance front, but as I said earlier I don't give a rat's ass about that, so I don't know which of the two is more powerful, nor do I care.