1001 video gaming facts

Why is the new Nintendo console called the Wii U?

Nintendo, which is a Japanese word that can be loosely translated as “leave luck to heaven”, has a tough job when it comes to naming their consoles. They have to find a word which is catchy, can be used globally and doesn’t offend anyone. Wii was chosen because it sounds like “we” (encouraging multiple players) and because the lower case letter “i” could signify a person, so “ii” is two people together playing. It was unfortunate the marketers were possibly unaware of the word “wee” as in “I drank too much and did a wee on your Wii”. So why has the latest console been named the Wii U? It seems a bit bizarre but is simply quite basic and stands for “you”. It’s a further attempt by the Japanese company to integrate their consoles into our lives with more personal names rather than something that has some odd onomatopoeic appeal such as “Vazoom” or “Kerash”. Games consoles have attracted some weird names: there was the Casio Loopy, the Atari Flashback and the Apple Pippin. The Microsoft Git and the Sony Sheep Worrier were sadly never released.

What are the specifications of the Nintendo Wii U?

Nintendo has forced some impressive hardware inside their latest game console. The heart of the box is the tri-core Espresso CPU which has apparently been clocked at 1.24 GHz. Storage space starts off at a basic 8 GB of internal flash memory but can be expanded to 32 GB and to levels of 2 TB with USB external hard drives. There is 2 GB of RAM and the graphics are powered by an AMD Radeon GPU which has reportedly been measured at 550 MHz. High-definition graphics are available which is one of the main selling points. Another selling point is the controller, or Wii U GamePad. This primary controller sports a touchscreen and has clearly been designed to appeal to the growing tablet computer fanbase. It has a 6.2-inch screen with an 854×480 resolution, a camera for video chat, can be used as a television remote and is a games console in its own right. The Wii U is backwards compatible with the Wii and has already sold nearly half a million units. The PS2 is the best selling games console of all time, with 153.6 million sales. Arguably the worst selling console of all time was that one your dad bought from Woolworths in 1990 which was a Sega Mega Drive rip off called the Sooga Maxi Drive and had games with names like Super Bat & Ball Breakout, Krazee Time Fun Golf and Spy Trainer Deluxe.

What generation of console is the Wii U? What other consoles will be available?

The Wii U has been classed as part of the 8th generation of video game consoles. The 1st generation ran from 1972 until 1980 and was championed by Pong. The PlayStation, which came out in 1994, was part of the 5th generation of consoles. The 7th generation featured familiar names such as the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii and the err… Mattel HyperScan, which came out in 2006 and was so rubbish it was discontinued by 2007. With Nintendo releasing the Wii U the gaming world is now waiting to see how Microsoft and Sony will react. The PlayStation 4 has the suggested codename Orbis and is expected to be introduced to the world at the E3 Expo in 2013. Little is known about it. Microsoft’s Xbox successor is codenamed Durango, but there is scant information about that system too. At present, the Nintendo Wii U is in a class of its own, although there is some hope for the crowd-funded Ouya console, expected for release in early 2013. It runs on Android OS, has a quad-core CPU and will have an introductory price of just $99 (£61). The Wii U is £249.99. Just try to avoid asking to see both consoles together in an electronics store; “Ouya Wii U” sounds like R2-D2 running on a flat battery.

What are the best games for the Wii U at the moment?

Because of the massive clout Nintendo has, even though their new console has only been out for a matter of moments, there is already a huge cache of games available for it. Third party publishers such as Sega, Ubisoft, EA Games, Activision and Square-Enix have helped Nintendo make sure there is something for any Wii U owner to enjoy. Established titles such as Assassin’s Creed III, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, FIFA 13 and the obligatory Mario game (New Super Mario Bros. U) are already available in the European market. As for which are the best games, well Batman: Arkham Asylum (Armoured Edition) will take some beating, with the original game receiving critical acclaim. Other highly rated games to consider for Nintendo’s latest device include Mass Effect 3, the aforementioned Call of Duty and for sports fans, NBA 2K13. As the Wii U is backwards compatible, a player can indulge in classics such as The Legend of Zelda games and the Super Mario Galaxy series. You might want to avoid the Wii Ware game Enjoy Your Massage though, where you get to play an up and coming young masseuse and use your Wii Remote to rub up naked animated ladies. If you own a copy of this game, wash your hands and try to remember where your life went wrong. If you own a copy of this game and have finished it on expert level, remember the bars on the windows are for your personal safety.

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