Dreaming of U: Why The WiiU is this Generations Dreamcast


All this negative press has gotten Mario down.

For the last few months, it feels like we as gamers have been hit with a tidal wave of bullshit. Day in day out we’re being bombarded with spurious claims and odious opinion pieces claiming that Nintendo are on the verge of bankruptcy and telling us what a disastrous failure the WiiU is, despite evidence to the contrary.

But as much as I hate the endless precession of articles stating that ‘Nintendo should quit making consoles’, (stupid idea)  and that ‘the WiiU is the worst selling console ever’ (It isn’t), I do have to admit that the WiiU has the potential to be another Dreamcast.

I’m aware that what they’re really referring to are the fact that the disappointing sales of the Dreamcast were the final nail in the coffin for SEGA as a console maker. Only selling 8 million units worldwide in three years,The WiiU has sold 5 million units in one year, less than Nintendo had hoped but hardly the end of the world some people seem to think it is. Nintendo’s current situation having almost nothing in common with SEGA’s circa 2001.

But the fact of the matter is that the WiiU does have a lot of things in common with SEGA’s final home console.

The Dreamcast was one of the first consoles to have a form of second screen functionality and to a lesser extent off TV play via the consoles VMU memory cards which were inserted into controllers and contained a small black and white LCD screen  cards and like the WiiU gamepad provided supplementary information whilst you were playing in a similar albeit much more limited way, such as your health meter in Resident Evil, or a cute little version of your fighter in Soul Calibur.

This was one of my favorite features of the Dreamcast and the second screen features of the WiiU basically take the groundwork laid by SEGA and take it its logical conclusion. Once you’ve had an always open map and inventory, having to pause the game and bugger about with onscreen menus feels like a massive step backwards.

The Dreamcast was also home to some wonderful exclusive titles from a SEGA that wasn’t afraid to take creative risks, Such as- Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, Seaman, Skies of Arcadia and Shen Mue.

hyrule-warriors-1387380678264_1280x720The recently announced Hyrule Warriors along with Fire Emblem X Shin Megami Tensai X and last year’s The Wonderful 101 demonstrate that like SEGA during the Dreamcast years, Nintendo are not afraid to take some creative risks with their established IP as well as create some interesting new ones for the WiiU.

Finally, the WiiU is currently suffering at the hands of the same beast that ultimately killed the Dreamcast: the competitions superior PR skills and the hype that it brings, and as every good PR person knows “ A lie told often enough becomes the truth”. Tell someone that” superior specs equal superior gameplay” loud enough and often enough, eventually people will start to believe you.


Stop cheering this isn’t a good thing,

In fact, Sony’s PR campaign has been nothing short of Machiavellian, using the community’s fixation with Microsoft’s DRM policies at E3 to their advantage to sneak in the revelation that you would now have to pay for online play on PS4 and everyone ate it right up. The one thing that most PS3 owners lauded over the Xbox crowd was axed and no one batted an eye. Receiving a standing ovation for telling everyone at E3 that you were free to trade and sell your retail PS4 games. Something every console other console in the history of gaming has been able to do as bloody standard. They even managed So thrilled were they all that the PS4 was able to perform a basic function that even DVD players have.

For some insane reason not allowing you to trade your games in is a hell worthy trespass, but sneakily making you pay £35 a year just to play online is fine.  Am I missing something here? Surely both deserve condemnation.

If Nintendo had been on the ball at E3 they could have kicked both Sony and MS in the metaphorical balls by reminding gamers that online play is free on the WiiU and that Nintendo let’s you do whatever the hell you want with games you purchased from a shop. But they didn’t and I’m getting off track.

Dreamcast-Console-SetSo maybe the Dreamcast jibes aren’t as inaccurate as they first appear, and maybe history is repeating itself to certain extent as the less powerful machine with plenty of innovative little flourishes is once again getting its lunch money stolen by the bigger, burlier, but ultimately duller machine.