I’ve blogged many-a-time about family-friendly features on some of the top cruise lines, including some of the gaming set ups that can be enjoyed in kids clubs and sometimes in other areas. One of the most popular was always the giant-screen Nintendo Wii experience available with Norwegian Cruise Lines, and they’ve now announced an upgrade to the more recent console, the Wii U.
A console is being added to every ship where it can be played in the Atrium and the teen centres. The cruise line will also host various tournaments, both to celebrate this new extended partnership and regularly for guests on-board.
Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing, said “Wii U provides one of the most social video game experiences you can have, whether you’re playing with family members or friends. The ships in Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet give people a great opportunity to experience Wii U for themselves, have fun playing Nintendo games and make some new friends.”
He makes a good point, but the thing is this isn’t just as simple as an upgrade from the Wii. The Nintendo Wii, when it was first launched in 2006, revolutionised the gaming landscape, and opened up a whole new channel of interactive entertainment to families and older generations, where it had previously been almost solely belonging to children, teenagers and younger adults. The social, pick-up-and-play gaming of the Wii was arguably the first mass-market games console, and the gaming titles backed this up with simple, intuitive games.
The Wii U though almost takes a step back from this. It has introduced the new tablet controller, and currently consoles can only work with one tablet, along with other remotes. However the tablet is the gimmick, and having only one player able to take advantage of this at a time is a hindrance.
More of an issue is the games library at the minute. The system is struggling, and if it doesn’t revive itself in the wider market then we may see limited options for extending this games collection. There are some major titles on the way which I’m sure will be fantastic fun to enjoy on-board an NCL ship, such as the next Mario Kart title, and the Super Smash Bros sequel. But neither game is out until next year at the earliest and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Smash Bros delayed until 2015.
There are some good games for the system including NintendoLand but really they don’t have the same appeal as the Nintendo Wii. I know because I owned a Wii U – note the past tense. It’s fun and kids will enjoy it but I just don’t think it’ll be the same as the Wii, and it’ll be interesting to see how long these Wii U tournaments last, and how long the console is offered in the Atrium on-board NCL ships. Only time will tell.
By Ian Lewis