Packin' a punch.

I’ve been a PC gamer exclusively for about four years now. Not because I consider myself a member of gaming’s Master Race or anything, I just needed a new PC in 2010 for my burgeoning business as photojournalist and instead of picking up a Macbook like every other “artist” in the western world, I spent the same budget on suitcase-sized tower of gaming awesomeness. It had blinking blue and red lights and big, hefty fans. It was even on wheels.

I’ve had some great gaming moments on my PC, playing everything from ultra graphic fidelity of Battlefield 4 to the ultra addictive castle runs of Rogue Legacy. When I’m not gaming my system doubles as a work tool by rendering video footage speedily and batch processing hundreds of photos without my system skipping a beat.

I longed to stretch out on a couch and soak up the gaming experience in the comfort of my living room.

But there’s always been something missing. My chair was adequately comfortable, the sound in my Sennheiser headphones exemplary. But my PC cocoon remained mostly a solitary experience and I longed to stretch out on a couch and soak up the gaming experience in the comfort of my living room and enjoy games with some mates over a six pack.

Console Crave

I’m a child of the NES era and the last console I owned was a GameCube, so what took me so long to return to the comfort of couch gaming? A few reasons; I was without a decent-sized flatscreen TV for a few years and resorted to watching movies on my laptop. Next-gen consoles were about to hit the market and I really, really wanted to play The Last of Us and GTA V, but buying a PS3 on its way out just seemed like a waste of money.

So then. Xbox One? PS4? Even with Microsoft’s one-eighty on its Kinect/DRM/used game policies, there was no exclusive games that I was really clamouring for on the Xbone. And despite PlayStation’s exceptional lead in sales over the last year, I still can’t stand those DualShock controllers. It’s silly, I know, but there are many folk out there who will base a console sale decision on what they are willing – and not willing – to put in their hands. I’m one of them. I considered waiting for a decent Steam Box (THAT controller I could definitely get behind) so I could bring my Steam Library into the living room, but these are games I’ve already spent many hours playing and I was looking for a fresh experience.

Enter the Wii U.

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So, did I choose the Wii U for my console by simple default? I had the option to buy it on launch, but I needed more than a few re-released games and old remakes to win me over. The waiting game ensued as I deliberated over my options for months and months. Then, came Mario Kart 8. Mind you, the fancy trailers and even the hilarious Luigi Deathstare videos didn’t have me convinced on MK8‘s launch day, what got me to open the wallet actually wasn’t actually about my own gaming. I bought a Wii U because I knew Mario Kart would open up my living room to my non-core gamer friends. That’s exactly how the lame ol’ Wii got so popular, right?

I knew Mario Kart would open up my living room to my non-core gamer friends.

Many of my friends have ‘grown out’ of gaming since they were on consoles as kids, but dangle a high definition version of Mario Kart in front of them with the ability to do slow motion replays to a gangsta rap song, and there they are, fighting over who’s turn it is next. The thing about the Wii U is that it will never be my primary system for gaming, it’s hardware and lack of third party publisher support means I’ll always be returning to my PC for the latest and greatest graphics and blockbuster titles. But as it stands, my Wii U is the best investment I’ve made all year.