Well, it took a substantial refund from another project and three mind-blowing price cuts that slashed the Basic pack's price by 100 quid within six months of launch, but I am now the proud owner of Nintendo's sixth-generation home console, the Wii U.
Having spent three days getting the thing up and running (a matter admittedly complicated by three all-day-consuming shifts at work), charging the GamePad, running the first update, transferring my Wii data over, I'm ready to jump into the games.
And, yes, it is the lack of games alongside the initial price point that has been holding me back. Much the same situation for everyone else. Aside from NintendoLand, ZombiU and to a lesser extent NSMBU, there hasn't been a lot to draw me to the console. All that is sure to change with E3, and the upcoming six months which promise Wind Waker HD, a new 3D Mario game and Pikmin 3 at least. You can't keep Nintendo down for long. I know I shot the PS3 down for the fact people were buying it on its potential, but you can always rely on Nintendo to deliver the goods. Just look at where the 3DS is now? It's got a stronger library in two years than the DS had during its debut, and the great titles look set to keep on coming.
NintendoLand is dropping through my postbox any day now (no, I'm not downloading any full titles any time soon), so I've dabbled in a couple of demos to start with. But first, the hardware. And I while I'm a little disappointed the Basic didn't come in black, I wasn't going to play an extra fifty quid for something that like console ethnicity. A little bit rounder, a little bit larger than the Wii, it's a nice looking thing. I was pleased to see that there were USB ports on the front of the console, in addition to two more on the rear. There's not a lot more to say about the console aesthetically, it's not as stand-out recognisable as the N64 or Cube, but it is a step up on the sharp-edged Wii.
The GamePad? Takes a little getting used to, but for all my initial cynicism about a massive tablet controller, it's a nice piece of kit. Not too heavy, not too unwieldy. I am going to miss the Remote and Nunchuk, but modern gaming is seemingly all about buttons. And sticks. With clicks. Unless it's on your mobile. Seriously, if we ever live in a world where mobile gaming is our only source of gaming I may just end my life there and then. I got more entertainment from an hour with ZombiU than I ever got out of Angry Birds. Which does bring me to the demos.
Only played demos for ZombiU and FIFA so far (as they take an hour or so to download), but these titles clearly show how developers can get and not get the GamePad respectively. ZombiU's got a range of intelligent uses for the Pad, cleverly weaving it into gameplay and adding a whole extra layer of immersion. For FIFA, it's largely an extra menu screen, and any attempts to insert it into live gameplay is a tangled mess. You want me to take a more accurate shot in the penalty box by holding the Pad up to the screen and covering up every defender that's ready to lob my legs off? Thanks, but no thanks.
So, it's early days, but the Wii U has an owner. Now, if the powers that be could fix the board description and fellow Wii U owners can share their thoughts, we can start enjoying the Next Generation of gaming. Of which the Wii U is a part. So deal with it. And let's ignore the fact there are so many "multiplatform" titles not coming to Wii U...