There have been Wii U demo stations popping up in Best Buy, Game Stop, and even Wal-Mart stores around the U.S. for the last several weeks. We ventured out a few weeks back, but didn't find a Wii U demo station on our first attempt.
This past Monday afternoon, after checking Nintendo's Wii U demo locator, I ventured out to a Best Buy to give one a try. Upon entering the Best Buy the Wii U demo station was easy to spot in the middle of the store with the Wii U logo being lit up on top, helping draw attention to the unit. The Wii U demo unit on display was the white Wii U console and GamePad, which I believe is the standard color for the demo stations.
What did I think of my short time with the Wii U and the Wii U GamePad? Brew yourself some coffee and read my thoughts on the GamePad, and even find out one thing I found to be uncomfortable about the GamePad!
Wii U GamePad Weight - When I picked up the GamePad, I was actually surprised at the weight of the GamePad, as it was a little heavier than I was expecting it to be. The weight of the GamePad wasn't an issue during my time with the demo unit though, but it does make me wonder if young children like Bean 1 might have trouble holding it up after a while though.
Wii U GamePad Screen Display - I thought the screen on the GamePad was very nice, better than I expected really. It displayed text and images well, and the screen was very bright and crisp, displaying text and images well. The video streaming to it from Rayman Legends worked well, and I found the game content displayed on the GamePad to be very good quality.
Wii U GamePad Screen Response - I knew Rayman Legends was available to play on the demo, so I scrolled through the list of games, which worked extremely well via the touch screen, and selected Rayman Legends. The touching of the screen worked well on the basic menu selection, and the use of the touch mechanics in Rayman Legends I thought were put to good use. I was able to use my finger(s) to tap, tickle, swipe, and drag enemies and objects in one of the levels, and all the touch input from my finger(s) to the GamePad screen was recognized without issue.
Wii U GamePad Comfort - While I was trying out the Rayman Legends demo, I noticed something about the Wii U's GamePad that I found to be uncomfortable. Take a look at the image below, to see the one thing I found to be uncomfortable about the Wii U GamePad while playing Rayman Legends.
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I'm not sure if the little ridges are there to add a bit of a "grip" to the controller, or if they are there due to design specifications and the GamePad needed them to make it all fit together nicely without any issues; but I did actually feel them against the sides of my palms while playing Rayman Legends, and not in a comfortable way. I'm not too concerned with the ridges though, as we will be fitting our GamePad with a protective case of some sort (still debating which one), but if you notice the ridges as I did it may be a good enough reason to buy a protective cover.
General Thoughts - The volume on the demo unit TV was very low, and being that the game wouldn't let me stream it only to the GamePad, I'm not sure how loud the speaker output would have been from the GamePad's speakers. Also, I did notice that the Wii U demo station looks like every game listed has an option to be a playable demo, but only Rayman Legends is the current playable Wii U game to demo, which I do find very odd. Rayman Legends isn't scheduled to release for nearly another 4 months (if Amazon.com's date is correct), so why Nintendo chose to not demo an actual Wii U day one launch title I find odd. I think if Nintendo wants to improve the Wii U demo stations moving forward, having more than one game available to demo would be a great place to start, and choosing a game that allows the GamePad to stream it for hearing the speaker output would be great as well.
I have just over 24 hours left as of writing and posting this piece, until I'll have a Wii U that I won't have to worry with hogging on a store demo. With basically a day left, I'm still debating on which game(s) I want to go with, and it might end up being a last minute decision, but I'm definitely leaning toward ZombiU right now.
Have any of you tried the Wii U demo station, or perhaps demoed the Wii U at an event, and noticed the ridges I found to be uncomfortable?
If any of you are in North America, are you planning on going to camp out for a Wii U if you don't have one reserved yet, but want one Sunday? If you have a Wii U reserved, what game(s) are you getting with the system?