9. The Wii U’s GamePad Is Revolutionary

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While the Wii U’s GamePad, admittedly the main draw of the system, may look completely unwieldy and awkward, it must go on the record that it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite controllers of all time. Yes, the screen on the GamePad’s face could have probably supported multitouch, and yes, the battery could have definitely been a tad better, but overall, there are very few blemishes about Nintendo’s controller.

The GamePad is lightweight and fits into your hands quite nicely, with grooves that feel natural in your palms and a shelf for the trigger buttons and your pointer fingers. The sticks are well-built and have a solid click to them, while the buttons don’t feel mushy and cheap like the original 3DS’s. The screen is wonderful, and while it’s not as vibrant or luminous as the Vita’s OLED, I’m impressed with the build. However, the sheer coolness of the controller is in the way that the Wii U and it’s software use it.

Using the GamePad as a sonar/scanner in ZombiU and the upcoming Aliens: Colonial Marines adds that extra bit of tension and immersion. Nintendoland (the pack-in for the black 32-gig system) is a wonderful tool to help new owners find their way around the GamePad and its potential uses. I can plug in some headphones and jump into an online match in Black Ops II without having to turn on my TV and disturb my sleeping roommate.

While not every game released uses the GamePad to its fullest extent, there is so much potential that Nintendo should be able to harvest from the odd controller that could.

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This article was first posted on January 29, 2013