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Smash bros

My greatest fear in the rapidly approaching all-digital gaming age is losing content between one generation and the next. Nintendo did a very good (albeit complicated) thing by giving gamers the option to transfar their Wii content over to the Wi U. 

But, if Nintendo really cared about letting gamers keep ahold of their content, this file transfer tool would have been available from Wii to Wii years ago.

I have a very early Wii model. It plays GameCube games and runs a little loudly, but curiously never had a problem loading dual-layer discs like the one Super Smash Bros. Brawl came on. No, its malfunction was much more costly.


My Wii suffered from a rare graphical glitch where it would still read games perfectly well, but displayed them horribly. Jittery black lines would sometimes spread across the screen as I played, and on a few occasions, a horrible rainbow-colored digital snow would follow it. When I called Nintendo about possibly repairing the console (back when finding a Wii was fairly difficult), I was told this issue technically wasn't under warranty and would cost a whopping $100 to fix.

At the time I nearly decided to fix it, but Nintendo told me somthing much more chilling after the price: My virtual console purchases would vanish. Repair technicians could not save or recover the hundreds of dollars I'd poured into virtual console games should I get the display problem fixed. Losing all that money was much worse than dealing with weird graphical problems, so I never had the Wii repaired.

Over the years, the Wii's problems grew progressively worse, to the point where some games were virtually unplayable. When I realized the Wii U would let me transfer my content to it day one I knew it was time to put the Wii out to pasture.

But, this isn't a truly happy ending. Nintendo still hasn't learned its lesson about keying purchased content and player information to a console and not a recoverable profile. Giant Bomb's Patrick Klepeck registered his Nintendo ID on his company's Wii U and purchased a few games through the eShop to show during an all-day livestream. His profile is now tied to that WIi U, and trying to remove it would mean losing all the games he bought and saved data. 

This is completely absurd considering that 3DS users could transfer their data to a new handheld from the beginning. A possible reason for this is that a 3DS feels more consumable than a Wii U and gamers are more likely to own more than one handheld than multiple home consoles.

But the option should be available for players who either want to upgrade their hardware or have to replace it. Microsoft and Sony both allow content transfers and have a much better system in place to deal with it. Nintendo's push into the digital age needs to mature, and quickly, or someone else is going to spend six years with a gimpy Wii U just because they're afraid all their content will simply vanish into digital air.