So the Wii U is almost here (launching Sunday, Nov. 18 in the US, Friday, Nov. 30th in Europe!) and, my god, am I excited. In order to contain myself from marching around town fist-pumping the air vigorously in celebration, I have instead devised a nifty little buyer's guide for you, outlining what you should/shouldn't purchase come that fateful launch day. Here it goes...
GAMES YOU SHOULD BUY
Chances are you've already opted for a bundle that contains Nintendo Land anyway, but just in case you haven't, then I should make it clear that this is definitely something that you should be looking to do. While Nintendo Land's primary function is to act as a virtual instruction manual for the hardware, its array of quirky and charming mini-games will see to it that, like Wii Sports before it, this will likely be the first game you play when you have friends over.
New Super Mario Bros. U
It's Mario... in HD. If that alone doesn't sell you, then it's questionable why you're looking to buy a Wii U in the first place. While the so-called "new" Mario Bros. series may be getting a little stale these days, early reports on New Super Mario Bros. U suggest that it's the best iteration in the series yet. Picking this up is a complete no-brainer.
The most intriguing of the Wii U's launch titles, the poorly-titled ZombiU aims to provide a true survival-horror experience for gamers, rather than the arcadey shooting range the genre has become. Set in a haunting post-apocalyptic London, ZombiU looks set to be genuinely, pant-wettingly terrifying, and for those looking to supplement their Mario with a little maiming, it's certainly the most killer* option.
GAMES YOU SHOULD AVOID
Game Party Champions
Do you remember Game Party's 1, 2 and 3 on the Wii? No? Lucky you. If you look up the definition of shovelware in the Oxford English Dictionary, chances are you'll see a photo of some hapless soul flailing their arms around in front of their TV playing an INTENSE round of Game Party's shuffleboard. The series is now making its way to the WIi U, and with Nintendo Land already looking likely to cover all of your mini-game needs, there should be no incentive to go and pick this up.
The Wii U's self-proclaimed "Ultimate Farming Game" (as opposed to all the other farming games available on the Wii U?), Funky Barn is clearly not marketed towards the demographic in which I inhabit (embittered, twenty-something-year-old writer), but nonetheless do you really think a game which encourages kids to "get hands on" with their animals is really something we should be condoning?
"Deluxe" 32GB Wii U w/ ZombiU and Pro Controller
While most will no doubt opt for the bundle that includes Nintendo Land, the real value for money comes with the ZombiU bundle. Containing all of the nice extras that the "deluxe" package offers (the 32GB internal memory, the Wii U console stand, the GamePad stand/cradle set, the sleeker black design), the ZombiU bundle also includes the Pro Controller, which will be an absolute necessity for those who will sometimes want a more "standard" gaming experience than the one currently provided by the GamePad.
If you still own your Wii, Wii Remotes and Nunchuks then you're in luck, because these are the controllers you'll be using for offline multiplayer titles such as New Super Mario Bros. U. However, if like the rest of us you flogged yours two years ago on eBay, then you're probably going to have to go out and purchase them all over again.
You're also probably going to have to purchase the slightly more expensive Wii Remote Plus controllers, seeing as how it's likely that Wii U games will need more responsive motion-control further down the line. If you're a sucker for conformity, then you'll probably want to purchase the Wii U branded controllers, but if you haven't got bags of money to throw needlessly at the wall, then it's highly advisable that you hop online and buy a few pre-owned ones.
Paul Tamburro is the UK Editor for Crave Online. Follow him on Twitter @PaulTamburro