News Article

The World's Most Scathing Video Game Critic May Be Warming To Wii U

Posted by Damien McFerran

"There's definitely something about it I find comforting" says Yahtzee

Video game critic Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw is best known for his breathless rants about mainstream forms of interactive entertainment, and has previously been quite negative about the Nintendo Wii U.

However, in his most recent column for The Escapist, Croshaw appears to have mellowed ever so slightly, and actually has some positive things to say about the console:

I could not, by any stretch of the phrase, be said to be 'coming around' to the Wii U. And yet - that being the sort of statement inevitably followed by the words 'and yet' - I seem to have been getting more use out of it lately.

I'm still not impressed by blatant gimmickery - although I'm not as sniffy about the controller as I was about that of the Wii U's predecessor, complaints about battery life notwithstanding - and there's this weird insular nature about Nintendo and its jealously hoarded IP combined with the stark whiteness and gentle soundscape that remind me of an alien sterilisation cult. It's like the beginner's guide to becoming a Mac user. And yet (here we go again), there's definitely something about it I find comforting, like a big woolly sweater with built-in blinkers. Maybe because it's the only major next-gen console that seems content to, mainly, just be a games machine.

Could the sharp-tongued critic ever be fully converted to the Wii U? Do you share his feelings about the console being "comforting" in the face of the media-focused Xbox One and PS4, both of which want to be the centrepiece of your living room rather than just being a games console? Or does he have a point about the "gimmickery" which surrounds the system? Drop a comment to tell us what you think.

[via escapistmagazine.com]

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User Comments (108)

Hyperstar96

#1

Hyperstar96 said:

there's this weird insular nature about Nintendo and its jealously hoarded IP combined with the stark whiteness and gentle soundscape that remind me of an alien sterilisation cult.

... What does that even mean?

tchaten

#2

tchaten said:

What an "intellect" - haha

But - I love that Nintendo has kept the Wii U focused as a gaming machine - sure it does other things, but at its core it remains a box for gaming - I'm glad it's not a home theater media box.

@Cohort - no you were 2nd :)

nomeacuerdo

#3

nomeacuerdo said:

Actually that is something that has pissed me off about Nintendo consoles, their inability to reproduce any movie on DVD/USB. Why? I don't want/need Netflix, I want to use my own media!

OorWullie

#5

OorWullie said:

I hadn't heard of this guy before now,he's got a way with words haha.Originally the Wii U was going to be the centerpiece of the living room,what happened there?

Artie

#8

Artie said:

It means the Wii U dashboard and the way Nintendo is virtuously protective of it's intellectual properties that it only releases them onto their own consoles that reminds him of the Heavens Gate cult.

Spoony_Tech

#10

Spoony_Tech said:

And yet if this was a negitive comment then we would see the comment section go all the way to 200+ Going with about 60 -70 here! ;-)

Savino

#12

Savino said:

This guy is awesome! I love his reviews! I just don't tale him seriously! He just a guy who rants for the sake of rant!
Go see his review of animal crossing and you will get it!

tchaten

#14

tchaten said:

@nomeacuerdo I'm happy Nintendo sticks to gaming - I already have an Apple TV for all of my video entertainment. There is no need to try to become the 1 stop shop for all TV entertainment - like the XBox One is trying to do

Zael

#16

Zael said:

the wii u is the best console for playing at this round, no matter the power, we are getting the best games like X, bayonetta 2, smash bros, mario kart, wonderful 101, fire emblem, and will arrive zelda, metroid etc.
Many people hasn't understood this yet because think that graphic is everything, they are wrong.
Ok the gamepad isn't so great and probably is useless, but with games like x and bayonetta I think this is a secondary aspect

MrGawain

#17

MrGawain said:

At the moment all the PS4 and Xbox One are promises about how great things will be by adding TV and Clouds and Voice Control and Share buttons. They may eventually be, but at the moment nothing is proven. Especially not for if they make games better.

Nintendo is fact. It's only a bit more powerful than a PS3 or 360, and may not as strong as the 'Next Gen'. But now it has Pikmin and 101 and Rayman and a bunch of other stuff that is solid, quality gaming. And its starting to use the gamepad and Miiverse like they were designed to do.

You know you're going to get solid, comforting quality from Nintendo, not half baked ideas.

dizzy_boy

#18

dizzy_boy said:

Why on earth do people still think that nintendo needs to add dvd playback on their consoles?
Nintendo aren't going to add dvd playback because it'll add to the cost of the console, and that there can't be many people left without atleast one dvd player in their house.
And if you can afford either a wii or wiiu, I'm pretty sure that you can afford pick up a cheap dvd player aswell.

ToniK

#19

ToniK said:

Some guys just feel the need to be overly negative about everything. I understand that but I don't think it's very constructive. Most of the time it's fake anyways, just to p*ss some people off :/ I don't really like that style.

unrandomsam

#20

unrandomsam said:

Miiverse is just as pointless as the rest of of the unnecessary features in the PS4/XBONE. (So is everything other than buying and playing games).

nomeacuerdo

#22

nomeacuerdo said:

@Cohort yeah, I've used it, but I still think the offering is very limited.

@tchaten well I'm not asking for a console that could even wash the dishes (but actually that would be awesome) I'm just asking for the posibility to pop in a DVD and play it. It's not trying to turn the console into a media center, just the possibility of playing back a DVD, I know that i'm not asking too much, right?

Cohort

#23

Cohort said:

@nomeacuerdo for £6 a month I think what you get its pretty damn good, the difference between the UK and US service though is like night and day though..

MAB

#24

MAB said:

The first thing I think of when buying a gaming console is 'can I watch movies and TV instead of playing games' ;)

nomeacuerdo

#25

nomeacuerdo said:

@dizzy_boy how much cost could it add? It's not like it would need additional hardware. The problem is that I have a huge collection of DVDs, and it would be more a practical thing rather that economical thing.

@Cohort now imagine the Latin american Netflix. (hint: it is pretty terrible) Even with such an excellent price, it's a waste of money paying $6 ~ $7 for a bunch of soap operas, terrible movies and movies that I already own. -_-

SetupDisk

#26

SetupDisk said:

I love my Wii U. As for this guy, I have never heard of him before and I think my life was better for it.

SetupDisk

#27

SetupDisk said:

@unrandomsam
Maybe for you but a lot of owners seem to love it. Plus it is a great way to share Art Academy. Oh that's right, it's not useless at all.

WiiLovePeace

#29

WiiLovePeace said:

Never heard of him before & probably never will again :p I greatly enjoy the Wii U & that's all I need to know :)

unrandomsam

#30

unrandomsam said:

@MadAussieBloke Stuff like Streetpass Plaza / Mii's and Miiverse annoys me just as much. (It is possible that there may be a time when I might want to use a DVD in a Nintendo console. It is impossible I will ever use any of the other stuff that Nintendo makes other then when I have to have a Mii to save or whatever. (In which case I use the defaults and a 2 letter name).

nomeacuerdo

#31

nomeacuerdo said:

@Cohort Yes it does, but its a pain in the cheeks to go all over the settings messing with the configuration. It's more simple to hook the laptop on the TV (and it is also boring to do).

unrandomsam

#32

unrandomsam said:

@SetupDisk Yeah but some people might want to watch DVD's. It could be done with a one off cost. What makes those people who want to use Art Academy more important ?

Cohort

#33

Cohort said:

@nomeacuerdo just set it up as connection two, I've got US netflix setup on my blu ray Player and UK Netflix setup on my Wii U... Marvelous!!!

unrandomsam

#34

unrandomsam said:

I think the reason is they care more about stopping people making modchips than making things easier for paying customers. (I think it is also a problem that is past - in the poorer parts of my city you used to be able get anything chipped for £20 there and then but there is nothing like that now).

Shiryu

#36

Shiryu said:

The more Sony and Microsoft confuse me with all the gimmicks they are cramming on their next gen hardware I never wanted in a video games console , the more I firmly believe I made the right choice to own a Wii U.

element187

#38

element187 said:

@Hyperstar96 I don't think this dufus even knows what he is talking about.

Nintendo hoarding IP? You mean you want them to put your franchises on other systems so they can cannabalize their own hardware business?

Or if he is saying hoarding as not using them at all, which is blatantly false, 3D Mario, MK8, X, Zelda, DK are all going to be out soon.

If he is speaking of F-Zero, Starfox and Metroid, well those games didn't sell well at all in their last few outings so why would you expect these low number selling titles at the beginning of a new console.

LeVideoGamer

#39

LeVideoGamer said:

Yahtzee is one of those guys that I listen to and laugh, but pay almost no attention to his opinions. I agree with him very rarely.

However, he may have a point about the PS4 and the Xbox One. I'm getting a PS4 solely because of Sony's exclusive games. Couldn't give a damn about the other features. If I cared for Microsoft's exclusives, maybe I'd get an Xbox One as well. The Wii U is definitely going to be my main console for this generation.

Blast

#40

Blast said:

Nintendo always gets slammed for trying do something different...something INNOVATIVE. The Wii U Gamepad isn't a joke and actually enhances gameplay. That guy (in the article) reminds of me how the 3rd party developers will be running to Wii U in the upcoming months.

Shambo

#41

Shambo said:

@OorWullie You should watch Zero Punctuation reviews. They're fun to watch, but don't expect ANY praise. There is some here and there, though. Still, fun to watch.
Wii U IS comforting. With Nintendo focusing on games and being Nintendo, while the others lost focus completely, with the only focus still being money and winning this childish 'console war'... Nintendo still has a way to go in HD, but I enjoy their efforts and the system much more than I ever enjoyed my ps3. Obviously the latter has more games out, it's at the end of its life cycle.

AlexSora89

#42

AlexSora89 said:

Wait a minute... Ben Croshaw likes the Wii U?
I-just-I-what
Okay, let's just say Jim Sterling likes the console as well and call it an April Fools' day joke that's come either several months early or a few months late.
I mean - okay, I'm glad that Ben seems to appreciate the console, but he's pretty much the last person I expected to do so. Bear in mind this is the same guy that thrashed Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Super Smash Brothers Brawl, I said - in one of his reviews back in 2008.
Still, this is nice to hear. Unless the guy's been trolling us, of course.

TheRealThanos

#43

TheRealThanos said:

Convergence will presumably be the death of Nintendo; they will offer some options, such as they have now but no wider range of it and also don't expect them to change their proprietary drives any time soon. To me it also seems REALLY presumptuous and impolite to demand this from a company.
I'm going to preemptively ask people to please not bring up the 'yeah, but if they didn't incorporate a DVD/Blu-ray player or <enter desired functionality> then at least they could have made the hardware better' point, because that has already been beaten to death. A lot of people that want some of these added functionalities come across as people that want to be able to play their illegally downloaded movies/TV shows/DVD's on their console, well you can already do that by soft modding it, so you're welcome to try that if you so desperately want that. Most other people own laptops, tablets or other equipment that they can play their movies on so their isn't even a good reason for you NOT to be able to do all this extra stuff and just leave the games console to do what it's best at and that is to play games...
@Shambo Hear, hear! That second part of your comment was put together quite well, totally agree with you.

LUIGITORNADO

#46

LUIGITORNADO said:

@Hyperstar96

LOL! I was thinking the same thing.

Is he annoyed that Nintendo doesn't release all their IPs regularly? Star Fox, FZero...and such? Or is it another "Nintendo should go third party" case?

I never even heard of this guy before...is he from the UK?

element187

#47

element187 said:

@unrandomsam one off cost... then you have the people who wanted a bigger battery, who watned USB 3.0 people who wanted a $100 harddrive in the system... Thats a lot of one off costs... Oh wait, you want Nintendo to only implement YOUR idea and nobody elses.

If Nintendo listened to the complaints of gamers about the system it would cost well over $600.... Nintendo is better off doing what they want, mostly because gamers don't understand business nor economics, yet they love to pretend like they would make a better CEO.

odd69

#49

odd69 said:

i hate game critics and game reviews, they are hardly fair and critics are just pricks

DerpSandwich

#51

DerpSandwich said:

I don't even know who this guy is, but he wears a fedora and "rants" about video games, so...I'm just going to keep on living my life now.

rjejr

#54

rjejr said:

Having recently come around to the Wii U myself I can easily see his POV. I don't know who he is and dont' know the sound of his voice so I read the piece w/o a predisposition to see him as an angry web ranter. But yeah, I agree w/ a lot of what he said.

As for DVD playback. I have a PS3 for that. But my wife and kids were watching so many old tv shows and movies I bought a $25 HDMI upscaling DVD player just so I didnt' have to worry about the $300 PS3 having drive and/or laser issues. And I don't think the Wii U would make for a great DVD player anyway due to lack of Dolby support and optical out. I've read Netflix has audio issues due to that as well but haven't tried it.

Overall though as a parent the Wii U and Nintendo are comforting. I'ld rather my kids were excited for Pokemon and Mario rather than GTAV and Last of Us.

Sean_Aaron

#55

Sean_Aaron said:

I like his reviews and his Pikmin 3 review, though I don't agree with it (mainly because I wouldn't use the Gamepad to play - Remote and Nunchuk rule!) he has toned it down a lot.

I think he's got a point there. Sony and Microsoft seem to be competing with Apple and purveyors of media PCs - I have a media PC so they'd have to sell me on games which aren't available on Steam or PC/Mac and they fail because their standalone IP just isn't as compelling as what's coming from Nintendo.

unrandomsam

#56

unrandomsam said:

@element187 I don't care what they do - what I don't like is them being hypocritical - Nintendo "We only care about the games" - But yet we will still add pointless stuff like Miiverse/Mii's etc etc..
Have you ever been to Japan ? (I have - I think I understand far better than you why they are like they are).

Kage_88

#57

Kage_88 said:

I'm amazed at how little I care about what this guy thinks.

Seriously, just amazed.

Reverandjames

#58

Reverandjames said:

This guy is clearly an idiot who likes to use big words to sound like he knows what he's talking about, when in reality he is just a troll in a stupid hat. I bet he was bullied at school.

TheAdrock

#59

TheAdrock said:

This guy's poopiedoodledaisies doesn't stink. And he likely hugs his own duck. If he wants to say something positive about the U then cool. Whatever.

P.S. Another redacted insult.
Please watch the profanity and insults — TBD

johndevine

#61

johndevine said:

This is the person that does the no grammar poopiedoodledoggiedoos on youtube. Sure he doesn't even really talk about games. He's a comedian.
Watch the profanity please — TBD

SpookyMeths

#63

SpookyMeths said:

Does this guy write for Pitchfork? He sounds like he writes for Pitchfork.

-Every sentence needlessly wordy (gotta put that Lib. Arts diploma to work!). Check.
-Seemingly random references to Macs or other Apple products. Check.
-Fedora. Check.
-Stark derision for a product that he clearly enjoys. Check.
-Thinly-veiled insults at the consumer base of said product. Check.
-Air of pretension and self-importance. Check.

Yeah. Does this guy write for Pitchfork?

I mean gosh how many words do you really need to say "I think it's fun, but the battery life on the Gamepad is quite short."

Mickey

#64

Mickey said:

I had no idea this kind of mean-spiritedness towards a human being even existed on Nintendo Life. Now I do. And now I'm not going to comment on articles for awhile.

Platypus101

#66

Platypus101 said:

@nomeacuerdo meh... There are so many other devices to do the job, why kill the drive-life of your (now 300$) Wii U? I understand convenience and all, but at what price? Let the media player be a media player, and the gaming console... Let it be a gaming console ;)

LDXD

#68

LDXD said:

@unrandomsam how is miiverse pointless and not about games considering that's what its there for in the first place to talk about games and post pics of gameplay so how exactly is Nintendo being hypocritical?

bezerker99

#69

bezerker99 said:

With that hat, the guy reminds me of Freddy Kruger. Glad to see he is liking the Wii U a little more now.

LDXD

#70

LDXD said:

And I swear I thought I saw this dude on an episode of breaking Amish :/

Norik

#72

Norik said:

Yahtzee is probably the only Internet critic I trust (with the exception of maybe CGRunderow). He's honest, straight to the point, and has a gift for words.

Also, he sure has saved me tons of money.

Ukulele_Wizard

#74

Ukulele_Wizard said:

I actually kind of wish Nintendo made it a multimedia device. It would be nice to be able to pop in a DVD and have it start playing in a few seconds as opposed to me having to switch the input and wait for my 6 year old DVD player to read the disc and then start playing about a minute later. But that's probably just because I have a horrible DVD player.
That being said, I feel like a lot of people are forgetting about Nintendo TVii. Nintendo needs to make it available in ALL regions, so then you can get a $200 cheaper Xbox One with a more impressive lineup of games. Nintendo also needs to start advertising the multimedia features. They need to have ads about being able to watch Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu. They need to have ads about having the best Internet Browser, about Miiverse, about the eShop, and, most importantly, Nintendo TVii. I honestly think that with the Xbox One, Nintendo TVii could be a game changer.
As of now, though, I do like that it's targeted at gamers and at playing games, but for the upcoming holiday season, I think Nintendo really needs to change that to heavily appeal to the casual crowd. Arguably the two strongest brands coming out of last gen were Nintendo and Xbox, so if consumers here you can get an Xbox One with most of the same games and a ton of awesome Nintendo games, all for $200 less, like I said earlier, that could be a game changer.

unrandomsam

#76

unrandomsam said:

@LDXD Nothing to do with playing games. (Or buying them). Its exactly the same as the stuff people here complain about Sony/MS adding.

sinalefa

#77

sinalefa said:

@MadAussieBloke

Leave Bogie out of this!

@rjejr

Exactly. I play the occasional Blu Ray on my PS3, but if I would be watching movies heavily, I would rather get another dedicated system so my gaming console lasts more playing games. The only Wii games I play on my Wii U are the double layered ones, as the old Wii does not read them anymore, except for Brawl and Metroid Prime Trilogy.

Ristar42

#80

Ristar42 said:

Zero Punctuation is great, I find it well written & funny. I've also found Yahtzee's reviews spot on regarding a number of games. I like the idea of a games only console (having started with the Atari 2600 myself), but the Wii U does not have an adequate number of games that interest me enough to invest in the console... yet.

LDXD

#81

LDXD said:

@unrandomsam OK so Nintendo had Nintendo power magazines since the beginning so I guess to you they were always hypocritical? mii verse is still game related material just like everything they have always done
whether you like it or not it can be pretty useful and can enhance gameplay the same can't be said about a DVD player

Melkaticox

#82

Melkaticox said:

Yahtzee's more of a comedian, to be honest, he LOVES to nitpick and ask every single Nintendo game to be uber original (fun fact: he thinks Super Mario Galaxy is pretty much the same as Sunshine and 64...)

ACK

#83

ACK said:

"Jealously hoarded IP"? Oh bother...

What is a company supposed to do? Pass out their IP as party favors?

Mahe

#84

Mahe said:

Despite the Wii U's problems, it is still offering the best games this fall against the PS4/Xbone. There should be a lot of great game content on Wii U this fall.

Warbeard

#85

Warbeard said:

Nintendo machines and games are like hugs and warm slippers - you cant help but be happy

Shonen

#86

Shonen said:

All of my Wii U/3DS are digital these days, i live in Brazil so if i go digital its much cheaper and dont have to wait anything to arrive from the US.

TheKingOfTown

#87

TheKingOfTown said:

How have you people not heard of this guy? His scathing reviews are hilarious! Seriously, Zero Punctuation, his show! Watch it!

R_Champ

#88

R_Champ said:

@Warbeard

Haha, it's funny you say that. You know what system I play during the holidays with my family to have a good time? Nintendo systems. You know what systems I'm shouting at the TV because someone just exploited a cheap trick online? Everything else...

One-Winged-Pit

#89

One-Winged-Pit said:

He is not exactly a genius. He complains about Nintendo all the time just to complain when he could easily change something. watches Pikmin 3 review he did Yeah he ignores that you can use the touch screen for the player and that you can use the Wii mote instead that most people prefer.

R_Champ

#90

R_Champ said:

@ACK

Lately it's been the belief that Nintendo's IPs should be shared but Sony and MS are clear to hoard.

Plus, I think this guy has a "gift" for superfluous language. A lot of "journalists" on the internet try to prove their worth by using convoluted language, masked and blatant negativity, and stupid-looking hats. I think when he's saying "jealously hoarded IPs" he could have really meant " many coveted IPs" or heck, "copious amounts of venerated IPs" if he still wants to sound smart. Instead when get derogatory assertions caramelized under a boisterous thatch of leather and nylon for the sake of ineffectual adoration...now where's my hat with the propeller on top?

AtomicToaster

#91

AtomicToaster said:

That's why I don't get all the Wiiu hate! WIth everything else the competition is doing wrong the machine that's primarily about games is getting all the hate, lol! Okaaaayyyyy!

Zombie_Barioth

#94

Zombie_Barioth said:

@R_Champ
Thats certainly how I read it. Nintendo are sitting on some of the most coveted IP in the world. Mario himself is as well known and respected as any Disney character. We know it, they know it, and so does the competition. Theres a reason its their IP people want to see go third-party and not Sony's or Microsoft's, they're like the kid with the biggest bag of Halloween candy.

HappyHappyist

#95

HappyHappyist said:

gotta say i like his reviews. guys, the way he works is this; he explains the bad parts of a game to an extreme degree. i'm just glad he isn't one of those people saying "WiiU haz no gaammeezzzz". those people annoy me.

Stucazzo

#98

Stucazzo said:

Who is this hipster-doofus with the fedora hat? Never heard of him and what credibility does he have besides being a hit with the ladies?

kyuubikid213

#99

kyuubikid213 said:

Haha. I actually watch Zero Punctuation (the show Yahtzee does) and I do admit, when he usually comes around to a Nintendo game or a game on a Nintendo system, the review is far more negative toward the actual console and company rather than the game itself, but some of his points are pretty good.

Just... Don't insta-rage on him because he doesn't like Nintendo stuff. Because the fact of the matter is the GameCube was one of his favorite systems. He also likes Luigi because he has a more fleshed out personality over Mario. And it takes a specific kind of game to make him happy. The most recent one I can think of is Spec Ops: The Line.

Glad to see a ZP article, though.

ICHIkatakuri

#100

ICHIkatakuri said:

@tchaten adding DVD wouldn't be too much of a cost, the Wii could play them according to homebrew sites. If the licences cost so much then Nintendo should make a DVD channel and charge those that want it to cover the licence fee, its possible as no hard tech needs to be added, just a media player.

I always liked the zero punctuation reviews on escapism, yahtzee hates all games aside from portal and thief! I can imagine him warming to a console like wii u because of its focus, having seen him talk badly about games which try and be everything rather than just getting the fun bit right.

FritzFrapp

#101

FritzFrapp said:

Never heard of this person. Listened to his 'review' of Pikmin 3. Don't want to hear of this person again.

Haywired

#102

Haywired said:

Nice to see Yahtzee getting some (though not much) appreciation from Nintendo fans. The usual response is to be totally butthurt by him and to say that he's totally biased and "always rags on Nintendo!" completely ignoring the fact that he rags on everything (including lots of things that Nintendo fans also hate, so maybe you have more in common with him than you think). And also the fact that he has been positive about Nintendo (see his Luigi's Mansion 2 review for example). I don't agree with everything he says, but guess what (and this will be mind-blowing to a lot of people round here) I don't cry about it! But perhaps I'm one of the (worryingly few) Nintendo fans with a sense of humor and who doesn't live their life like a precious, over-sensitive pansy. I generally don't like cynical, vicious "everything's crap" stuff, but I think he's one of the most refreshingly honest, fearless and funny reviewers around, unlike so many who are scared to put a score lower than 9 out of 10 for fear of the pathetic fanboy meltdown in the comments section...

eza

#103

eza said:

@All_DVD_Watchers - the original Wii can play DVD discs and media from network shares - it's been my living room media centre for years now!

Use the Homebrew Channel and its app browser to install DVD playback support and a media player (mplayer, geexbox, and wii radio are all good), and you're all set :-)
It doesn't have the power to decode HD files though - stick with DVD-size videos.

Let's hope the HBC will be available for Wii U!

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