Boy, have I got a story for you.
My experience of owning a Wii U has been a little different to that of most. Like many of you, I was deeply excited to purchase one when they came out, so I spent about six months saving up (it would have been less, but I have to eat at some point.)
When I pre-ordered my console, I asked about the possibility of a midnight opening. ‘Oh yes,’ said the kindly man in GAME, ‘we’ll definitely be doing a midnight launch.’
When the fabled day was just a few hours away, I walked down to my town centre, arriving over an hour before the doors were due to open. I rang the GAME line to double check about the midnight opening and the automated voice assured me that there most definitely was one. Everything was ready. I had booked two days off work to enjoy the console. I even had enough money left over to purchase an extra game alongside ZombiU.
But things started to go wrong for me. I walked in laps around the shopping centre for over an hour, wondering which door was going to open. It was freezing cold, seeping through my coat and gloves so that if I didn’t keep walking, I wouldn’t stay warm. I stopped half a dozen roving security guards and asked them what was happening. They all shrugged and said, ‘What’s a Wee-You?’
Finally at ten past midnight and no idea what was happening, I walked over to the other GAME store in town. The lights were on! Finally! The end was in sight! I knocked on the door, eager smile on my face, clearly the first person in line. The man inside the shop opened up and said, ‘You alright there?’
‘Yes, I’m fine,’ I said. ‘Can I pick up my Wii U here?’
‘Uh, no,’ he said. ‘We’re not doing a midnight launch. Only the store at Cribbs Causeway [many miles from my current location] is doing that.’
As I explained my predicament, he looked stunned. He explained to me that there was nothing he could do, but if his tills were open, he would gladly sort me out.
There was nothing to be done, so I walked all the way home in the freezing cold.
After four hours’ sleep, I ran back into town, getting into GAME just as it opened and FINALLY getting my hands on a brand new Wii U console.
That’s when my real problems began. I set it up and tried to access my router to get online. Nothing. How was this possible? The Wii U was next to the router. I was surfing the internet. The 360 and 3DS had no issues with it. I tried again. Nothing. I rang up my Internet Service Provider (Virgin). There was nothing wrong on their end. I rang up Nintendo.
‘Ah,’ said the disembodied voice on the other end of the line. ‘We’re having some problems with Virgin. Let me talk you through it.’
And talk me through it he did. I had to manually set up my router – even though it was roughly three feet away from the console – and finally I was online and could download the update. So I set it to update and waited patiently, getting into ‘Virtue’s Last Reward’ in the hour the download took.
Eventually the bar was nearly full. But suddenly it disconnected, citing error code ‘193-999’ as a reason. Undaunted, I tried again and the same thing happened.
‘Ah,’ said another disembodied voice from Nintendo Support. ‘That’s just a congestion message. Lots of people trying to get online, that’s all it is. Try again around midnight.’
So I waited, enjoying a bit of zombie-bashing action and laughing with delight at the frantic silliness of NintendoLand. Finally midnight rolled around and I tried again. This time the download bar filled, leading into the initialising bar. I was almost giddy with excitement.
Then the bar reached 99% and crapped out, no error message given, just that there was a problem and I should try again. So I did.
Three more times.
Around four am I woke up on the sofa to see yet another error message. Too tired to react, I went to bed.
I tried all the next day as well, with similar results. I rang up Nintendo once more, but the service is shut on weekends. (Console release Friday, shut on Saturday – explain that one.) I played a bit more ZombiU, trying to update again every so often.
Finally Saturday ended and I was due back in work. My colleagues came rushing up to me to ask the question they all wanted to know: ‘What is the Wii U like?’
‘I don’t know,’ I replied. ‘Buggered if I can get it to work.’
One of my tech-savvy friends took a look at the console that night. The only thing he could think was to wipe the hard drive and try again. So I did.
At this point it was generally agreed that my Wii U was, to use the technical term, completely FUBAR. It can only have been a manufacturing fault.
Monday morning rolled around and I sadly packed up my Wii U, lugging it all the way into town. The chaps in GAME seemed stunned that I was presenting them with a faulty console and could find no problems with it themselves, but they kindly replaced the console and I took it home.
I manually reinstalled the internet connection and… yes, you guessed it. Nothing. Update still won’t come through.
‘Ah’, said yet another disembodied voice from Nintendo Support. ‘We’re still having problems with Virgin. We have a new batch of codes that are working now. Let me help you change the settings.’
So I did. Nothing.
‘Ah,’ said a four voice. ‘Try again?’
‘Ah,’ said a fifth voice. ‘I have no idea how to fix this. It’s unheard of. This has resolved all our other customer issues. You’re the only on having problems. It must just be that the router can’t quite connect to the console. Maybe it’s a manufacturing fault?’
‘It can’t be, this is the replacement console.’
‘Oh, right. Well… in that case, I would recommend going to a friend’s house and downloading there.’
‘Does that mean I have to go to a friend’s house very time there’s an update?’ I asked.
‘Um… yes,’ said the voice.
So here I am. I have a brand new Wii U that I’ve hardly touched. There are no problems with my internet. There are no problems with my Wii U. But the two refuse to get along. They just glare at one another, like wounded ex-lovers, unable to forgive each other but unwilling to move forward.
So, can you answer me this question: is there anyone else suffering the same problems? Does anyone have a solution? Because I might take a hammer to either my router or the console and I’m not sure which one I blame more.