Owning the Apple Watch: Software

We’ve now reached Part IV of the Apple Watch experience, and certainly the one that sets it apart from all other devices—the software. There are plenty of fitness trackers, some of which even tell time. Naturally, you can find watches with lap timers at Dollar Tree. But it’s the ‘other’ things that the Apple Watch can do that elevate it into the category of “smartwatch”. Here, I go over a little bit of what sets the Apple Watch experience apart: Glances, Notification Center, Siri, and Apps. These elements combined are integral to the Apple Watch experience. The main goal of these interaction models and apps on the watch is that they should speed up the interaction experience with technology and let the user get back to whatever he or she was doing, without needing to pull out their iPhone. In some cases the Watch succeeds at this, and in other cases it falters.

But before we move on, check these out first if you missed them:

Part I: Basics
Part II: Hardware
Part III: Fitness

 

Glances

There are two other interactions available from the clock: Glances and Notifications. Glances provide quick, bite-sized pieces of information, and generally serve as watchOS’s version of widgets. They are accessed by swiping up from the bottom edge of the screen while the clock is displayed. Some do have some buttons (mostly the Apple ones), but the third party ones are helpful too. The only issue with these is that they don’t always update constantly in the background. Sometimes I swipe up to view them and they display outdated information, and I have to wait for it to update. I know this behavior is a battery-saving method, but I’d like to see glances updated at least once an hour in the background. On top of that, updating can at times be a little bit on the slow side. However, once they get up and running, I’ve rarely had issues.

The Music glance, for example, is perfect in design and execution. It shows the song that your iPhone is playing, and the option to skip, play/pause, and adjust the volume. One of the other well-designed glances is very similar to Control Center on iOS. It provides a quick way to toggle options like airplane mode. One third-party glance I use is Dark Sky. It’s great at displaying either the current weather, or the predicted amounts of rainfall for the coming hour. The only key is, at times, patience.

The basics needed for music playback on my iPhone (or the watch). Spinning the crown will adjust the volume, and tapping the song info will open the Music app.

The Music Glance. The basics needed for music playback on my iPhone (or the watch). Spinning the crown will adjust the volume, and tapping the song info will open the Music app.

Quick options to toggle Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, Mute, and a nice big Ping iPhone button. Very handy.

The Control Center Glance. It’s got  options to toggle Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, Mute, and a nice big “Ping iPhone” button. Very handy.

Here's the glance for Dark Sky, a weather app that excels in telling you how much it will rain in the next hour. Since it wasn't going to rain soon at the time this was taken, this is the default view.

Here’s the glance for Dark Sky, a weather app that excels in telling you how much it will rain in the next hour. Since it wasn’t going to rain soon at the time this screenshot was taken, this is the default view.

Notification Center

The other interaction available from the clock is the Notification Center. Like on iOS, it is accessed by pulling from the top of the screen and shows a list of truncated notifications that have recently arrived. Tapping on one pulls up the full notification, and a list of corresponding actions (e.g. “Like” for a GroupMe message, or “Delete” for an email). The presence of unread notifications is noted by a red dot at the top of the screen when viewing the clock. To clear all notifications, a force touch is needed to bring up the ‘clear all’ button.

The options are Reply and Dismiss.

The options are Reply and Dismiss.

My main issue with notifications in general stems not from the notifications themselves, but the ones that cannot be acted on via the watch (third party ones). This isn’t an element of the watch so much as iOS, and what Apple has allowed third parties to be able to accomplish. For example, if you receive a text message on an iPhone, you can slide down on that notification and hit reply to respond to the message without leaving your current app. However, other messaging applications can’t do that. That restriction is carried over to the watch. This has been glaring for me lately, as at the camp I currently work at, GroupMe is used constantly. It would be nice to be able to respond to some of the messages from the watch, but I know that that capability will come in time.

The App Launcher

Don’t call it a Home Screen, but that is what this view is most reminiscent of. Pressing the digital crown once when at the clock or in an application will bring you to this screen. Panning around is done with a finger. Scrolling the digital crown out will zoom out until all of the icons are the same size, and zooming back in will zoom in on the app in the center of the screen, making the surrounding apps smaller. Scrolling the digital crown in will zoom into the app in the center of the screen, essentially launch the app in the center. Given that clicking the digital crown on the app launcher will center on the clock app, clicking the digital crown, clicking it again to center on the clock icon, and then scrolling in provides a quick and consistent way of getting back to the watch face at any time. Tapping an icon will launch the corresponding application, and tapping and holding will cause everything to start jiggling like on iOS, allowing you to rearrange the screen. (You can also do this via the Apple Watch app on the iPhone, and I highly recommend using the phone to rearrange things.) Glances and Notification Center are not available on this screen. Though the icons are very small, I’ve only very rarely tapped an icon I didn’t mean to press. Unless you have massive fingers, I don’t think you’ll have a problem launching apps.

This is what pops up when you first press the digital crown. In classic Apple attention to detail, the Clock icon is live and accurate.

This is what pops up when you first press the digital crown. In classic Apple attention to detail, the Clock icon is live and accurate.

Here's a zoomed-out view of my app launcher screen. You can see I don't have too much on here.

Here’s a zoomed-out view of my app launcher screen. You can see I don’t have too much on here. Magnifying glass not included.

Apps

First Party Apps

Apple’s applications are generally simple, clean, and well-designed for the hardware. I’m not going to go in-depth on each one, but I will provide information about two: Messages and Maps.
It’s safe to say that Messages is my ‘most used’ app. In general, most attachments in a thread can be viewed on the watch, and replies can be made as well. What’s that? You say the keyboard must be tiny? Silly goose, there is no keyboard. This is the future; dictation is used. The quality of dictation is reliant on mainly two things: how close your watch is to your iPhone, and the strength of the iPhone’s signal. If I have a strong 4G (my iPhone doesn’t support LTE on T-Mobile) or Internet signal, then dictation is generally nice and snappy. Annunciation is still important, as is announcing punctuation and other things, but outside of that I haven’t had too many issues. The main issue is that there isn’t a ‘backspace’ button. If your message isn’t transcribed properly, then you have to hit back, and then the microphone button again. It would be nice if there was just a ‘redo’ button somewhere on screen. There is also the option to send either emoji or Apple’s Watch-specific GIFs. I don’t really have an opinion on the Watch-specific ones, other than that some of them look really weird.

Here's a picture someone iMessaged me, as displayed on the watch.

Here’s a picture someone iMessaged me, as displayed on the watch. Reddit is a dangerous place.

Don't worry, I won't ever send this to you.

Don’t worry, I won’t ever send this to you.

Maps is one of those applications that really showcases the benefit of a smartwatch. I’ve used it when driving and walking, and both times it has been great. When navigating, the screen shows only the next direction, and gives a different type of tap when it’s time to make a left or right turn. It’s really cool, and certainly beats walking around, staring bewildered at your phone and then looking at your surroundings, trying to get a handle on where you are in an unfamiliar area. Due to the small screen, there isn’t much else it could really display. You certainly won’t be doing too much browsing for shops on it. Thankfully, using Siri to ask for directions to a location is a seamless experience, and the relevant shop information will show up on screen. I certainly do wish that the whole process was faster at times, but it’s hard to find out where the fault lies: slow Internet, slow bluetooth connection, or slow Maps servers, or a combination of all three.

That's a small map.

That’s a small map. I promise I’m not Godzilla-sized.

Some information on the Apple Watch page. More information is available with a scroll.

Some information on a point of interest page in Maps. More information is available with a scroll. I also can’t believe multiple people had the nerve to give Chick-Fil-A less than 4 stars.

 

Third-Party Apps

These seem to run a little slower that Apple’s apps, but that shouldn’t really be a surprise. They also sometimes get tripped up if their parent application hasn’t been opened in a while. For example, I’ll try to start a timer in Due on my watch, they won’t start. If I open Due on my iPhone and close it and then try to start the timers, they’ll respond immediately. Of course, at this point, I may as well use my iPhone in the first place, and that’s where the magic of the Apple Watch starts to break down. Hopefully with third-parties being able to run code on the watch natively this fall, some of these interactions can be sped up.

Also, not all third-party developers have made good Watch apps. One great example is Zipcar’s app. Zipcar is a car-rental service, and the app does the two most important thing I’d want it to do: Provide a quick way to find my car by beeping the horn/remote locking the car, and a quick way to extend my reservation. The Instagram app, on the other hand, is pretty useless. It offers a pared-down experience of the iPhone app: It only shows the 8 most recent photos of your feed. Wait, who wants to look at and comment on photos on a 1-inch screen? Who thought this was a good idea? Instagram is an app that, in my opinion, doesn’t really have a purpose on the watch. The watch’s goal is to speed up certain interactions, and the watch Instagram experience slows it down significantly. The Apple Watch is not an iPhone on your wrist. It is an accessory to it, and a different type of device. Like with the iPhone and iPad, or iPad and Mac, there is some natural overlap, but certain things are better suited to specific devices. Browsing Instagram is not the type of activity that is viable on a smartwatch.

Another issue that I’ve noticed at time is that actions carried out don’t always seem to make it to the iPhone—or at least, not quickly at all. A number of times I’ve “Liked” a GroupMe message, and then gone back to look at that same message on my phone a few minutes later and realized that my Like wasn’t recorded. It’s not a deal breaker, but the fact that I’ve assumed that the action has been carried out and not alerted that it didn’t happen, I worry about other information that may have slipped between the cracks.

Due: Timers View

Due: Timers View. Quick, straightforward, and easy (not unlike hash browns).

Zipper gets it. This is the button I'll likely need the most.

Zipcar gets it. This is the button I’ll likely need the most.

No, Instagram, I don't want to brows through my feed on my wrist.

No, Instagram, I don’t want to browse through my feed on my wrist.

Siri

Siri is the main way you interact with the watch. Accessible from anywhere via a press and hold of the digital crown, she hangs on your every word. Except that she never actually says anything; only text appears. Though that could be because I always keep my watch on silent. In any event, if she can pull something up on the phone, then she will. However, since there is no web browser on the watch, any questions that can’t be answered in an app result a “You’ll need to check your iPhone for that”. Since I don’t use Siri that much, I haven’t really had that issue.

The screen that appears when Siri is listening to your every word.

The screen that appears when Siri is listening to your every word.

The Apple Watch App

There’s one more key app for the Apple Watch, and it’s the one loaded on every iPhone running iOS 8.3 or later: the Apple Watch app. This application is what allows you to configure the settings for your Apple Watch. It has four main tabs: My Watch, Explore, Featured, and Search. The My Watch tab looks very similar to the Settings app on iPhone, and allows you to do everything from set up Apple Pay and Notification preferences to determining the order of your Glances. The other three tabs relate to finding applications for the watch via its own section of the App Store. Remember, downloading an Apple Watch also downloads the corresponding app for your phone.

Overall

While it takes some time to get used to, navigating the Apple Watch quickly becomes second nature. Accessing Glances and their respective applications is easy, though updating information is usually a slow process. Apple’s apps are generally well designed and thought out, but like with any new piece of technology, there are a few oversights here and there. Third party apps are much more hit-and-miss (though that’s expected). Some really get the watch and the type of interactions that work best for it, while others who try to simply recreate an iPhone app and put in on the Watch are missing the point. As developers get more time with the watch and have access to more APIs, their applications will only get better.

Despite the Apple Watch being in its first generation, there’s already quite a lot it can do on Day One. Though there are some occasional syncing/reliability quirks, the main thing improvement the Watch needs is speed. That will come with hardware updates and further software optimization, but in the meantime there’s still an element of the waiting game. The software (particularly the third-party application/glances experience) is certainly the weakest area of the watch, but the one that is also most likely to improve the most quickly.

Marvel, Do Black Panther Right

Black-Panther-Marvel-2016-Images

Over the past year, we have seen a number of cases in which blacks have been mistreated and killed by police officers: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, the McKinney, TX incident, and most recently the terrorist attack on Emannuel AME Church by Dylann Roof. Naturally, these events have stirred up feelings of anger and tension, and usually when these event happen, people look to protest, pray, or escape. Comic book heroes have been one of those escapes for generations of children. The superheroes we love to read not only provide an entertaining distraction, but provide figures we can identify with. Be it the discrimination against the X-Men or identifying with the loss of family members that many comic book heroes (and villains) face, comics can serve as an amazing parallel to the real world and be a source of comfort, understanding, and even serve as inspiration for individuals to achieve goals they never thought possible. This leads me to Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther movie. I worry that Marvel might try to whitewash or diminish a character with a rich, non-American, non-Western history in order to sell more tickets or avoid the very tense racial nature that has gripped the nation in the past few years.

History of the Character

Though you might be tempted to think of the Black Panther Party when you hear “Black Panther”, Marvel’s hero actually predates the organization. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared back in 1966, and is recognized as the first mainstream black superhero. The Black Panther is actually a ceremonial title, given to the chieftain of the Panther Tribe, rulers of the most advanced nation on Marvel’s Earth: Wakanda. The Black Panther we will likely see is T’Challa.

Traditionally an isolationist nation, Wakanda developed independently of the rest of the world, and is ahead of it in many areas such as medicine and technological prowess. It is a great megalopolis and nation, and the only home to one of the most important metals in the Marvel Universe: Vibranium. You may know it as the metal that makes up Captain America’s shield.

T’Challa himself is quite the talented individual: proficient in strategy, politics, science (Ph.D in physics from Oxford), and tracking, he’s considered to be one of the smartest individuals in the Marvel Universe. Since the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t have Reed Richards (blame Fox Media), T’Challa will likely join Bruce Banner and Tony Stark as the top three minds in the MCU. He also is physically gifted: the powers granted to the Black Panther give him strength on a similar level to Captain America, and he has trained in more disciplines such as gymnastics and martial arts disciplines from around the world. In a battle situation, he would likely be armed with vibranium claws and a spear that could cut through Iron Man’s armor.

How will we see Black Panther in the MCU?

Wakanda has been teased multiple times in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ahead of the Black Panther film slated for release in 2018. You can briefly see it circled in the closing scenes of Iron Man 2. It was formally name-dropped in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when the team discovers that Ultron is currently on track to meet with Ulysses Klaue [Klaw in the comics] so that Ultron can build himself a new Vibranium body. While the ensuing battle does take place in Africa, it takes place in South Africa, so Wakanda has not yet been seen on-screen. It’s also been confirmed that Black Panther will be introduced in Captain America: Civil War, though in what capacity has not yet been disclosed.

I do have a prediction for how Black Panther will fit into the Phase Three timeline. T’Challa’s father (and the previous Panther) is T’Chaka. T’Chaka is killed by Ulysses Klaw when he sneaks into the country and tries to steal some vibranium. T’Challa then takes the throne in his father’s stead. This may have already happened by the time we encounter Black Panther in the film, as it would also explain how Klaue could have escaped Wakanda with all of the vibranium that he did: it came down to a final battle against him and T’Chaka, and Klaue won and escaped. The location of the stolen vibranium and attack on South Africa could be enough to get the Black Panther involved in world affairs as Wakanda starts to come to the forefront of political affairs.

My Concerns

But there’s far more to Black Panther than faithfully portraying an African nation as more advanced than the West and a black leader who is of equal intellect to Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. Due to its xenophobic tendencies, Wakanda frowns upon American/foreign involvement. This dynamic is made clear in the Netflix miniseries that came out on BET around 6 years ago. I highly highly recommend that you see it as soon as possible, and certainly before the movie comes out. It adapts the first volume of the Black Panther, and makes clear the type of nation that Wakanda is. The mini-series doesn’t pull as many punches as I think the movie may be forced to. In it, American politicians refer to Wakandans as savages and other stereotypical insults typically addressed to blacks/Africans, and I think that would resonate very well with many black Americans who have seen the tragedies and attacks that I referred to earlier. In addition to the language, there are many disembodied heads and violence and blood are present; the point of ‘we don’t like invaders’ is made very clear. Make no bones about it: many people in the US and around the world don’t like blacks and Africans simply because they’re black and Africans, and the movie should make negative viewpoint clear. Expose it, address it, and then prove it wrong by showing just how advanced and intelligent the Wakandans are. Are they perfect? No. But if there’s any semblance of the need for a ‘white savior’ in the movie, then I think the movie will be a failure. Instead, the movie should serve to uplift and provide hope to black individuals around the world.

Marvel and Diversity

Marvel has already done a fairly good job when it comes to racial diversity. Half-Black Half-Latino Miles Morales has become the new mainstream Spider-Man (even though the MCU decided to give us our third Peter Parker in 15 years rather than have a new hero take on the role). War Machine/Iron Patriot and Falcon are both black superheroes in the MCU that have seen multiple appearances, though they haven’t had their own films. I do think that Marvel has been a bit less fair to its female leads—Black Widow had essentially been carrying the torch by herself (and didn’t even have powers) until Scarlet Witch showed up in Age of Ultron. I certainly hope Marvel does better with gender diversity, and having read lots of Ms Marvel/Captain Marvel recently, I’m really looking forward to her movie in 2018 as well.

Ultimately, by the time the Black Panther movie comes out, the MCU will be a much different place than it is currently. There are many movies that will greatly change the MCU landscape between now and it’s tentative July 6, 2018 release date: Captain America: Civil War (featuring the Panther), Thor: Ragnarok, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, an unnamed Spidey film, and Avengers: Infinity War Part 1. This begs the question: Will the Panther be in the Avengers by Infinity War Part 1? It will be interesting to watch. Regardless, I hope that Chadwick Boseman represents T’Challa well in the MCU, for the sake of the character and for those of us at home who need a headlining black superhero to look up to.

A New Endeavor: Tech Down South

Recently, I’ve decided on embarking on a new adventure with a friend, Matt Wilson (a student of the school out east): a weekly podcast. It’s something that we’ve talked about for quite a while, and after a false start back in November, we’ve finally put  something together that we’ve put some energy behind. The name of the podcast is “Tech Down South”, where Matt and I talk about any tech-related news that comes out for around 45 minutes. Given that we’re big Nintendo and Apple fans, expect those to be popular and common topics, but we’re working to include other, more general information as well. You can check us out on Twitter via @tds_show, or on the web at techdownsouth.wordpress.com. I hope you give us a listen!

Manual

Stick shift. Manual transmission. “The only way to drive a car”. It is called it many things, but in the end, it’s still the best way to operate a vehicle.

I grew up watching my dad drive a manual, a red Nissan Maxima ’92. He loved it to death. He purchased it a couple of months before I was born, in November of ‘93. It was the car that picked myself and my brothers up from the hospital right after we were born. It was the car that he took to work every day for the next 12 years, until it got just a bit too quirky to trust for that daily commute. He held onto it for a little while longer, eventually getting rid of it just a few months shy of my 15th birthday. Feeling the car vibrate under the seat and rumble as he shifted gears, I knew that when I bought my first car, it was going to make sure it would be a manual.

Because he got rid of that trusty Maxima before I could get my learner’s permit, I never had the opportunity to drive it. I never got to feel its steering wheel in my hand nor its clutch under my foot. And while I pleaded for a manual when he shopped for a third vehicle entering my junior year of high school, he instead opted for a pedestrian, but beloved Honda CR-V (which many of you know as Ramona).

Earlier today, I had the opportunity to drive a manual. The friend that takes me to church (no, not that one) has a nice Mazda 3 hatchback that he finally let me take for a spin. I had driven a stick before—my ex-girlfriend’s father showed me the ropes on an old Toyota in the rural Tennessee hills of Joelton my freshman year—but since then I’d been itching to get my hands on one. Given that very few Americans drive sticks anymore (apparently around only 4% of cars sold in the last few years are manual), even finding someone who drove one was a pretty rare in and of itself. After a bit of guilt-tripping and peer pressure, I was able to convince him to let me try it out in an empty parking lot.

Driving a stick, you have to pay attention. You can’t text and drive a stick, to be quite honest. With one hand on the wheel, one on the shaft, and both feet occupied (the left on the clutch and the right working the accelerator & brake), you have to be fully engaged with the vehicle and your surroundings. Unless you were Doctor Octopus, you wouldn’t have any remaining limbs to hold an iPhone. Terrain makes a difference: getting the car from “0 to 1″, as I call it, can be much trickier depending on the slope of the incline one is stopped on. (You don’t want to end up like Wal-Mart—rollback.) Even things like braking require more thought: Are you pressing in the clutch in as you brake? Do you even need to, at the speed you’re going? Do you need to downshift? I think that in an automatic and cellphone-heavy world, these extra factors can help to keep drivers engaged with the road. If driving a manual means I can’t use my phone while driving, that can only be a good thing.

Beyond the need for higher engagement while driving, operating a stick is simply more fun and more rewarding. There’s no sense of accomplishment in getting the car from stopped to 20 mph in an automatic. But in a manual, each start of the car is a reward in and of itself. You’re telling the world, the car, and every frightened passenger in tow that you’ve conquered the car and overcome the stoplight. Only the most experienced manual driver can pop into a new stick shift and make it purr. For everyone else, you’ve got to get to know your car. Over time, you learn where the sweet spot of the clutch is. Once that happens, you’ll be able to masterfully make it to that 20 mph mark. Indeed, few things are exhilarating as successfully downshifting, (putting on your blinker), and zooming by the old lady in front of you going 9 under the speed limit.

After two straight stalls and about 10 loops, I eventually got the hang of the no-incline start. After 4 stalls and 25 loops, I got the hang of the inclined start. It was a flashback to my father teaching me the ropes in his huge truck, in an empty school parking lot 6 years and many miles ago. Impressed by my aptitude, I was even granted the opportunity to drive back to my dorm. If you happened to see a car stall out in front of the book store today in traffic, I apologize. Despite the embarrassment, it felt good to fail and have a new challenge presented to me. It’s an interesting feeling, knowing how to accomplish a task and yet failing at it upon learning how to do it a new way.

I’ve still got a ways to go—be it mastering the stick or even getting a car with a stick. But I have only a little while longer to wait until the opportunity arises. When it does, it’ll be clutch.

(Disclaimer: I simply couldn’t write an article without at least trying to incorporate the slang ‘clutch’. I’ll see myself out.)

21

Happy New Year!

Another semester, another schedule, and, of course, another birthday. January, as you can see, is generally a time full of adjustment.

Back on the 10th, I turned 21. A couple of weeks ago, it hit me while talking to my dad that 21 is really the last birthday one looks forward to as a kid. Five is the last time you can tell people your age on one hand; 10 is the last time you can use both and the first time you hit double digits. At 13, you’re finally a teenager and at 15 you can actually drive a car. After one grueling year, you can finally drive without your mother screaming in your ear at 16. At 17, you are simultaneously excited for the fact that you’ll soon be an adult, but also scared that you’ll soon be an adult. Then, finally, at 18, you can sign your own parental slips, call those 1-800 numbers you saw on toy commercials as a kid, and laugh at your younger child siblings. After that, it kind of simmers down until you hit 21.

The United States is odd in that it joins the likes of Egypt, Cameroon, Indonesia, Tonga, Oman, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, the Solomon Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Tajikistan, and Kazakstan as having a high drinking age of 21. I’m going to venture and guess that you didn’t know half of those countries. In contrast, most other places in the West/Americas mark the age at 18, and some even have it at 16. But it doesn’t matter, because the overwhelming majority of people who do end up drinking most likely started doing so before they reached 21. Having not grown up in a house where my parents drank alcohol, it’s been a little odd to me to suddenly be able to legally do something that so many of my peers do underage and strive to be able to do legally. I think that, like other topics, it seems like something that everyone does unless you stop to observe. Only then when you look around do you observe that it’s a much smaller percentage than what Budweiser would have you think.

Either way, I’ve reached the last ‘fun’ birthday. Save for finally being able to rent a car at 25 and formally kicked off of my parent’s insurance at 26, all of the good good birthdays (while young) are about over. It’s odd to step back and reflect on all of those pivotal moments; where I was in my personal journey, favorite songs of the time, and which iPhone/iPods were out at the time. But now, it’s time to enjoy today, the moment, 64% through my time at Vanderbilt.

Here’s to 21, and here’s to 2015.

Go Buy a Wii U

Having read some reviews of Bayonetta 2, I was moved to make a Public Service Announcement: Go buy a Wii U. Right now, it has the widest variety of games, and the highest reviewed games. There’s something for everyone. The Wii U won’t get the most. The Wii U will get the best. The game that prompted this article, Bayonetta 2, just received a 10 on GameSpot (they’ve only given out eight 10/10 scores in 18 years of business, including Bayonetta 2). IGN also awarded it a 9.5, and they don’t hand those out like T-shirts.

Let me just say that I don’t like GameSpot; I think they’re overly-harsh graders. Among their biggest slights, they gave Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze a 6/10 and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption an 8.5/10. After the latter review back in ’07, I simply had to stop taking them seriously, as Prime deserves a 9.5/10 and no less. Them giving DK a 6 merely validated this claim, as that game earned no less than an 8 in my opinion (and most others agree).

With that said, Bayonetta 2 only serves as another game in a long list of original content that the Wii U offers. Shooters? Grab Call of Duty: Ghosts or Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist. 2D Platforming? We’ve got plenty: Rayman Legends, the aforementioned Donkey Kong, Shovel Knight, and more. Oh, you meant 3D? Check out Super Mario 3D World. Racing? Need for Speed U and Mario Kart 8 will keep you occupied for weeks. Adventure? Pikmin 3 and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (one of my personal favorites). Action? Hyrule Warriors and the upcoming Bayonetta 2. Fighting? Injustice: Gods Among Us and of course the upcoming Smash Bros. We have it all.

The Wii U truly offers something for everyone, and if you’re a true video game fan, you’re really missing out by not owning one. I highly recommend it. If you don’t want a new one, you can usually find one for cheap on Craigslist (your win, trust me). Make it happen.