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Wii U GamePad

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Wii U GamePad
Wii U GamePad White.png
Wii U GamePad Black.png
The Nintendo Switch before puberty.
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: US: November 18, 2012
Generation: Eight generation

The Wii U GamePad is the standard game controller for Nintendo's Wii U home video game console. Incorporating traits from tablet computers, the GamePad has traditional input methods, touchscreen controls, and motion controls. The touchscreen can be used to supplement a game by providing alternate, second screen functionality or an asymmetric view of a scenario in a game. The screen can also be used to play a game strictly on the GamePad screen, without the use of a television display. Conversely, non-gaming functions can be assigned to it as well, such as using it as a television remote.

Bad Qualities

  1. The GamePad, the Wii U's main focus, was often underutilized or poorly implemented, even Nintendo's own first party games didn't use it much except for off-TV play.
  2. The GamePad's battery life is also short lasting only about 1-3 hours, almost as bad as the Game Gear or Nomad, which further reduced the usability of off-TV play, as did the fairly short Wi-Fi range.
  3. The TV menu is also hardly ever used, because most players already have basic remotes for their TVs. Also, the TV menu on the Wii U Gamepad has less buttons than a normal remote, meaning there is not much point of using it, unless the player loses its remote and then has to use the GamePad's built-in remote.
  4. While focusing on two screens at once is easy with the DS and 3DS due to the screens being close together, with the Wii U you have to divide your attention between the screen in your hand and the TV, which is much harder.
    • Likewise, third-party developers often didn't know how to implement the GamePad into games that were not originally designed with the Wii U in mind.
  5. Only one player can use the GamePad during multiplayer games, as the system cannot connect to multiple GamePads, despite Nintendo promising it could use two.
  6. Nintendo never sold GamePads separately for over three years, and even then, you can only buy them in Japan. If the player broke their GamePad in any way, they would have to either ship their GamePad over, buy a replacement from someone who happened to have one for sale on hand, or buy an entire new console.
  7. There is a huge missed opportunity, as there is no 3DS (or DS) game card slot installed into it to play even more games on it, kind of like how the Super Game Boy for the SNES allowed Game Boy compatibility, or the Game Boy Player for the GameCube, which allowed every Game Boy game from all 3 iterations to be played on. This would have made the console more successful otherwise, even if it were just a simple add on accessory.
  8. Some games use the Wii Remotes, which don't come included with the Wii U, instead of the GamePad, and even required the MotionPlus add-on at times. An example of this being Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade, where 25 minigames use the Wiimote, while 10 minigames use the GamePad, not to mention, it was released around the time the Wii U was released, making it feel weird to launch a game on a new console, but barely utilizing the main console’s features.
    • While the Pro Controller is often available for players that don't like the GamePad, some games such as Lego City Undercover, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Mario Party 10 made it mandatory to use, even though the former two titles were eventually reworked for the Switch so that they wouldn't need a second screen.

Good Qualities

  1. As mentioned above, it allows off-TV play, meaning that you can continue playing on your controller screen while someone else is using the TV. It can also be used in local multiplayer without resorting to split-screen.
  2. Despite being rather gimmicky, the GamePad is comfortable to hold and is lighter than its appearance suggests.
  3. It also gives dual-screen capabilities to the Wii U, a first among home consoles.
  4. The design looks quite nice.
  5. This is quite reminiscent of the Nintendo DS, the most successful Nintendo console to date.
  6. It laid groundwork for the Nintendo Switch, which can be played in portable mode at anytime, without any TV nearby.


  • The Wii U GamePad is the largest video game controller to date, beating the original Xbox controller.
  • The Wii U GamePad originally had the start/select buttons alongside the Home Button, instead of being on the right like the Nintendo 3DS. This was likely changed because players would find the button placement of start/select too far from the buttons. The prototype also had the 3DS-style joysticks, which were changed due to the lack of LS/RS button capabilities, which the Wii Classic Controller lacked.



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