The Awesome Wii U Feature That You May not Know About

I recently took advantage of one of the most under-appreciated features on the Wii U. The Wii U die-hard community will tell you first, the console is a beast at home, but also on the road.

Sure, you can take a PS Vita or 3DS on a 10 hour drive, but what fun is that? Ok, maybe lots of fun, especially with some of the awesome list of games on both the 3DS and Vita, but the point is being missed. My Wii U — all tri-cores of it and its awesome game library that I once thought could only be played at home on my 60” LED easily fits in my bag and makes for an awesome trip companion without having to sacrifice console gaming.  Console gaming you say? Well let’s be real, handheld gaming is getting pretty intense now a days, but it’s still not console gaming; there’s a difference for me personally. I like the size of the gamepad for one (I have issues with small handhelds combined with the size of my hands) and the fact that you can get in some actual console gaming on the road is a pretty radical experience.

This particular feature (The Wii U on-the-go feature as I like to call it) has to be one of the least marketed features of the system. The fact that the gamepad acts as your display is a fantastic feature that needs to be talked about a lot more. I’m not the only one that appreciates this awesome feature, I’ve seen many Wii U owners post some pretty cool photos of their Wii U on the road and I’ve been seen a handful of gamers at airports or flights rocking the Wii U. (See image below)

So to wrapped things up, let’s go over what we have learned (for those that didn’t know). The Wii U is portable Yes indeed. The Wii U has a great game library that will only get better this year. Yes indeed. So if you have been on the fence about a Wii U, I hope this gives you another positive reason to pick it up or dust it off. The Wii U is probably one of the most misunderstood consoles this generation, but with its already strong game library and its 2014 lineup looking pretty sweet, traveling and gaming doesn’t have to be done at separate times. Immarite guys, Imamarite?

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  • Marc

    Why didnt I think of this? This is a great idea, although it may look a little weird to carry that on a place. Still, dope idea

  • Martin Brentnall

    Wouldn’t this also work for the PS4 using the Vita and the Remote Play feature?

    It’s also worth noting that a power outlet will be required for the console, and those can be pretty hard to come by on many public transport systems and airports.

    And forget about playing consoles on the plane; most airlines ban the use of wireless devices, which rules out both the Wii U GamePad and the Vita’s Remote Play.

    • Anos

      You’d need a wifi router and internet going into it.
      Put a phone in hotspot mode, though the stream from p4 to psv would probably be unplayable with just that.

      • Martin Brentnall

        You wouldn’t need the router and Internet if you just had the PS4 console itself right there with you.

        • bobacdigital

          How does the Vita and PS4 connect to each other without WIFI? I didnt think they had peer to peer / adhoc connections that allowed you to do that? Another thing to take into consideration is the remote play does not allow you to play anything above 30 fps due to the streaming limitations.

          Also does the Vita mirror the PS4 UI immediately or do you need to have a TV present to start the remote play? I was under the impression that you need a TV to begin with and then you activate the remote play.

          • Anon

            They don’t have it. Martin is just a prick and an ignorant douche. All he’s doing is criticizing Wii U by erroneously downplaying this feature other consoles don’t have.

          • Martin Brentnall

            I just tested and confirmed it. I switched off my PS4, pulled out the HDMI and Ethernet cables, then switched it on and connected using Remote Play with my Vita. It works perfectly fine.

            Who’s the ignorant douche now, prick? 😀

          • bobacdigital

            Pretty cool that you can do that! Just sux that it costs substantially more for that setup not to mention the form factor is MUCH bigger (also higher power draw)…

            The 30 fps cap is a big deal for some games, but I doubt you playing any twitch shooters or platformers on a flight. How is the latency between the two? From everything ive read people say it is noticeable thru remote play .. Wii U the latency is non existent.

          • Martin Brentnall

            True the PS4 is larger, but OTOH, the Vita is smaller than the Gamepad and the PS4 has no external power brick.

            Power draw may be in the Wii U’s favour, but the Vita tends to get better battery life in my experience than the Gamepad (that might change with Remote Play though; I mostly play native Vita games).

            Ultimately, there are pros and cons to both systems.

            Wii U gives a higher framerate and less latency, PS4 gives better graphics and the Vita has slightly higher resolution screen and higher game compatibility, since not all Wii U games work off TV (e.g. Zombi U). Controls will usually be better on the Wii U, since the Gamepad is it’s native controller, as opposed to the Vita, which is often an after-thought at best in most PS4 games.

            It’s still cool that both consoles can do it. 🙂

          • bobacdigital

            Agreed! I own everything but the PS4 and X1 .. I sold my PS4 to a buddy because there wasnt really any games I wanted to play at launch …

            I am anxious to see how Watchdogs / Infamous turn out on the PS4…. I am purchasing TitanFall on my PC since I have a really good rig to game on … gotta finish all my damn Wii U games tho .. running behind

            I try to be objective for the most part, but I always question some statements people make to gain more knowledge and make sure the right stuff is out there.

          • Martin Brentnall

            You’re right; there’s not too much on the PS4 right now. I certainly enjoyed AC4, Tomb Raider, Outlast and a few smaller indie games on my PS4, but they’re all cross-platform games (I have a decent PC, but I run Linux on it and don’t have Windows, so not much use for games).

            On PS4, I’m mostly looking forward to Infamous and The Witness, but I’m still in the middle of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze right now. 🙂

            Also, Mario Kart 8 is going to consume my life at the end of May – I spent about four years playing Mario Kart Wii online!. 😀

          • bobacdigital

            Most the games that are cross platform I buy on my gaming rig … and anything that isnt obviously Nintendo or Sony / MSFT exclusive ill get on console… For me right now the PC / Wii U combo is perfect because I get the best of both worlds. Right now im trying to get through both SM3DW (which has some amazing graphical moments after world 4) and DK TF (Pretty challenging game).

            I just hope MK8 helps the Wii U sales and gets some recognition for the gems that Nintendo has out there like Pikmin and Wonderful 101. I am interested to see how they leverage the Gamepad in MK8 (hopefully it isnt just a damn horn … possibly 5 player battle / racing with 1 person playing on the game pad?)

          • Martin Brentnall

            The Vita and PS4 can indeed connect directly without a router. You just need to enable “Connect Directly with PS-Vita” in the PS4 settings.

            You can PS4 play games that run above 30FPS using Remote Play, but the framerate will be capped at 30FPS, meaning that you will lose half the frames in a 60FPS game.

            No TV is required for Remote Play. You don’t even need to switch the PS4 on yourself, since the Vita will switch the PS4 on remotely when you attempt to connect for Remote Play.

          • Mc Robins

            Yeah so lets think about that and the price tag associated with it compared to the Wii U.

          • Martin Brentnall

            Let’s also think about the fact that there are more PS4 owners than Wii U owners.

            Seriously. Why does everything have to be a goddamn argument? I own both PS4 and Wii U. I don’t give a shit that my Wii U was cheaper; they’re both great consoles in different respects and both have the capability to be played away from the TV.

            Does it really offend people that much when someone points out that; “Hey, the PS4 can do that too!”?

          • bobacdigital

            People are always defensive of Nintendo because they are always on guard from Sony and MSFT… it isnt because it is unwarranted .. Im sure you read as many articles as everyone else and see how much negative stuff is posted about the Wii U .. People are defensive because some people arent as objective as you are.. Some just post stuff without knowing or owning the system.

          • Mc Robins

            Here’s my problem with what you’re saying. You’re saying the PS4 delivers the exact same asymmetric gameplay that the Wii U does which isn’t true. The Wii Us games were built for the gamepad including mothion controls camera etc where PS4 has thebvita as as a second thought. As an owner of boh you should know this.

          • Martin Brentnall

            You’re putting words in my mouth.

            All I said was that PS4 can be played on the go, which is true. I didn’t say that the experience is the same as what you get on the Wii U.

          • Mc Robins

            When you say the PS4 does that too you’re setting people who read this up to believe its the same.

          • Martin Brentnall

            I disagree, but who cares? It’s close enough that the difference doesn’t really matter that much.

            The Wii U solution has it’s downsides too, like lower resolution and the fact that not all games will work off TV.

            I also found it amusing that you used the term “asymmetric gameplay” whilst clearly having no understanding of what the term even means (i.e. the fact that the term only applies to MULTIPLAYER games, which aren’t happening in the scenario covered in this article).

          • Mc Robins

            You mean like how you can use a wii mote with the gamepad? I would say that’s two different experiences.

          • Martin Brentnall

            Why would you want to do that?

          • Mc Robins

            Take it you haven’t played spin the bottle from the eshop.

          • Martin Brentnall

            I’m not sure that Spin The Bottle would be the most practical game to be playing in a public place?

          • Mc Robins

            Practical, no. Can you, yes. With a PS4, no.

          • Martin Brentnall

            Actually, you CAN use DualShock 4 or PlayStation Move controllers on the PS4 whilst in Remote Play.

    • bobacdigital

      Also what airline bans the use of wireless devices while mid flight? That is completely untrue … I have been on several airlines with my ipad / phone and have never been instructed to turn it off mid flight (only on take off until you get to the proper altitude)… Also I have seen several instances of people taking their WiiU to an airport and playing on and off a plane …

      • Martin Brentnall

        Devices such as iPads, iPhones, etc. are allowed in mid-flight as long as they’re in FLIGHT SAFE mode, which means ALL wireless functionality (Bluetooth, Wi-fi, 3G, etc.) should be completely disabled.

        Since the Wii U and Gamepad rely on wireless functionality to operate and communicate with each other, it’s use wouldn’t be allowed at any time during the flight.

        If you’ve actually seen people using the Wii U on a flight, then it’s probably because the flight attendants just weren’t aware of how it works.

        • bobacdigital

          So why does American Airlines offer in flight wifi to people with laptops and iPads?

          • Martin Brentnall

            Because they’re the exception and not the rule.

          • bobacdigital

            The WiiU uses 2 wireless cards within the console .. regular 802.11 b/g/n and Miracast 802.11n (for the gamepad), which by all accounts is similar hardware wise to what you see in Samsung phones / smart tvs now ..

            In flight WIFI is more common than you think….

            Southwest Airlines is offering it.

            Virgin Airlines is offering it.

            American Airlines is offering it.

            Delta offer it and is the first airline to allow passengers to use their portable electronic devices from gate to gate on all mainline U.S. flights.

            US Airways offers it…

          • Martin Brentnall

            Maybe it’s a US thing? Here in Europe, I’ve flown recently with Flybe, EasyJet, KLM, Ryanair, Jet2 and Thomas Cook and none of them allowed the use of wifi.

            As for the Gamepad, according to Wikipedia, it’s a modified wifi protocol. I’m not sure if the modifications are substantial enough to require separate approval for airline use or not.

            In practice, you’ll probably get away with it easily enough, since the airline staff won’t know any better.

  • Steph

    WiiU needs a ton of games to make the system worthwhile to the masses. Rehashes of Mario, Zelda, Smash Bros, Dk, Mario Kart, etc only go so far, which is to say not very. Nintendo needs to secure a load of third party support and exclusives, because right now the only people the wiiU appeals to are die hard Nintendo fans.

  • Mark

    Or you could just get a 3DS for fucks sake instead of doing something as stupid as hauling a console on a plane

  • Link

    So you need a power source, I hardly see how that’s “Portable”