I was feeling a bit nostalgic the other day and decided to break out my Wii U. Since I had purchased my Nintendo Switch on launch, my old console (RIP) has been sitting dormant in a box, packed away from when I moved across the country.

Moving was one of the biggest and scariest things I’ve done in my life. I had never lived outside of California, nor had I been this far away from my family. This was one opportunity that I wanted to embrace wholeheartedly. And, four months ago, it happened for real, for real.

It might sound crazy to a lot of people—as it sure did when I moved my things—but I was going to be taking my entire video game collection with me. This meant all of the small trinkets I’ve saved over the years, name badges from events like E3, were going to be packed up and carted along for the ride. Everything survived the journey just fine, although I did have to leave a few clunky items behind. Boy, do I sure miss those PlayStation 2 powered steering wheels!

It took a few months after getting settled that I finally started to unpack my stuff. I had set up most of what I could unbox (given space) and loaded it on a large media shelf. Things were starting to really come together in the office that my girlfriend and I share. She sits directly behind me at her desk, and me at mine. On any given night, you can find us gaming at our respective stations, sometimes with my Switch in hand, her usually playing The Elder Scrolls Online. That is, until the night.

With all of the new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate information, I decided it was time to jump back into the fray and freshen up my skills. When Super Smash Bros. released on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, I had purchased them both. I could enjoy the better graphics and bigger screen on the console, yet still fight on the go. I thought, “Yeah, the games are probably just on my shelf or in a box somewhere. I’ll break them out later when I want to play them.”

To my horror, they were nowhere to be found. Gasp!

Although I wasn’t able to find my games, I did, however, break out some of the games I had grown to love on the console. Surprisingly, there are still active members online for Mario Kart 8 keeping the online functionality of the game alive. I had picked up Super Smash Bros. Wii U used, and again, the community is still going strong there.

Do you remember the hype?

I couldn’t help but think of all the times I had played my Wii U. All of the times that I had enjoyed the console for its uniqueness. For its ambitious UI. I still admire the polished visuals for its first-party titles. Playing some of these games also forced me to think back to the year I had purchased it on launch. Of course, that meant accompanying the memories that tagged along with it.

I always joke that “I was married in another lifetime.” And, truly, it feels like that sometimes. It was so long ago in my life that it feels like ages ago. I was living in a different place, and admittedly, I was a different person then.

The Wii U was a milestone for Nintendo. It was obvious that the company wasn’t able to reignite the fire of success this time around with another rendition of the Wii. It instead became a huge learning experience for the company and its leaders. In order for Nintendo to find success once again, it had to have its ego bruised a bit. I too was experiencing this period of stagnation in my life, a period of rediscovery of myself, and how I could put my best foot forward.

People might laugh at the concept of sharing similarities with a piece of hardware. But, that’s why the video game community is unique in its own right. There’s more to gaming than just plugging in and checking out. It’s all about experiences, sometimes getting a glimpse into someone else’s life through different lenses.

Although the Wii U was essentially a commercial flop, it allowed Nintendo to enjoy a sliver of humble pie. It was a time for revaluation, growth, and looking to the future in order to reclaim some of its fans. From a personal standpoint, I too was emerging from this giant stutter step in my life. Far more humbled, changed, and receptive to those people who were my genuine fans.

Things couldn’t be better for both of us right now.  

Greg Bargas
A console gamer gone rogue. Collector of retro games, pun and dad joke enthusiast. My spotify playlists are out of control. Rocket League anyone?

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