The Wii U is Nintendo’s worst-performing console, but I don’t think it deserves that. While the Wii U had tons of issues, the marketing, being underpowered, and other issues. Even with that, the Wii U had a stellar game line up that should be remembered fondly, even with the systems errors.
The Wii U had one of the best game line ups on any console ever. While there were few duds in there such as Star Fox Zero and Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival, the vast majority of first-party Wii U games were great. New Super Mario Bros U was a wonderful Mario platformer, and the New Super Luigi U DLC made it even better. Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze is one of my favorite 2D platformers of all time. Splatoon is a wonderfully unique take on the third-person shooter genre. And of course, games like Super Smash Bros Wii U, Super Mario Maker, Super Mario 3D World, and numerous others made the game library even better.
Another great thing the Wii U had was the best version of the Virtual Console. Games from every major Nintendo Console up to the N64, even including Nintendo DS games due to the second screen on the GamePad. Combine this being able to play original Wii discs you could play nearly every major Nintendo game on all of their consoles other than the GameCube. With this, you could play every almost every mainline Zelda game. Compare that to the complete lack of a traditional Virtual Console on the Nintendo Switch, the difference is staggering.
While I would’ve preferred a more traditional controller, the GamePad is still great. It’s extremely comfortable and overall a great controller to use. While many games didn’t use it to its full potential those that did were great. Pikmin 3, Splatoon, Zombie U, Nintendo Land, and others put it to great use. The GamePad is the sole reason I prefer Super Mario Maker to its sequel on Switch.
Had the Wii U been given a completely different name and marketing, and had some of it’s most unique games, Splatoon, Super Mario Maker, and others ready at launch, I believe it would’ve been a success. Probably not Wii levels of success, but still a success. Instead, I believe the Wii U will suffer the same fate as the GameCube. Never truly appreciated until it’s gone.