Aug 10th, 2012

One of the big features of the Wii U GamePad is that players can simply turn off the TV and continue playing their game on the GamePad tablet controller. This feature is now likely to support old Wii games as well: according to a new report, they’ll be playable on the Wii U touchscreen controller. This is possible because the controller has a built-in sensor bar, so players can point the Wiimote at the controller and get full motion control functionality. Of course, this means that you won’t be able to hold the GamePad in your hands while playing the Wii game — you’ll likely have to set to down on the Wii U dock and use it as a screen.

The news was revealed by Nintendo’s Spanish division brand manager Pepe Arcas, who said that he can’t officially confirm the feature, but quickly added that “it makes sense” that Wii games would be playable on the GamePad by using the built in motion sensor. Now, Arcas was talking about simply using the Wii U GamePad as a screen to play Wii games, which means you won’t be able to use the controller itself, it’ll only serve as a screen and sensor bar. A much better feature would be to somehow make Wii games playable by using the tablet controller itself, much like with Wii U games. That would obviously require some patching and updating of old games to support the new control scheme. Something that’s unlikely to happen.

A variety of this feature was previously revealed in a patent Nintendo filed last year, showing an interaction between the Wiimote, television set, and the GamePad:

Wii U GamePad patent


local_offer    Nintendo  wii u  wii u gamepad  
  • EPiC

    lets go NINTENDO, Lets go NINTENDO
    LETS GO!!!!

    • trainerblk

      (Pit) do you hear the people chears. thats the chears for nintendo beinng the most dominate system oncce again.

      • Thepokemonmaster

        🙂 translation in game: Do you hear the peoples cheers, theyre cheering for the return of the goddess paletana!.
        But yes nintendo is awesome

        • trainerblk

          Totally. Hey do not mean to change the subject if you happenn to be geting pokemon black o white2 if anyone pick up the game i challenge you all. 3ds friend code 4983 5155 5302 I all so got kiu & mariokart

      • Dark Pit

        You got that right.

    • Ultimate Cheez

      Yea Wii U woot woot c’mon I can’t wait for the holidays there going to be awsome YYYEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAA

  • WeYou

    Great! I can play my Wii games while taking a dump!

    • ChaoSHer0

      lol XD ikr

      • jat

        and then you can shove the wii remote up ur ass. haha just kidding

    • Roy

      XD couldn’t agree more!

  • Mac

    oh man that would be so great if that is true i hope nintendo of japan takes that into consideration

    • Crapcake

      I’m confused about your name do you mean the apple computer or the name

      • SuperShyGuy

        Maybe it’s the main character from Mike Tyson’s Punch Out?!

  • Crater

    That looks cool, can’t wait for it

  • brickster

    Wait so does this mean you can play brawl on the gamepad alone? or with a wiimote and nun-chuck only? and what about virtual console games?

    • Paul

      its like playing old psx games on a tablet with a bluetooth controller connected

      • brickster


  • Mida

    Oh man what will they think of next?

  • tekkentagU

    wonder how long until Sony and Microsoft copy this feature??

    • snestendo

      right after nintendo makes a lot of money off of it

    • lick1nob

      xbox smartglass

      • mii myselff and iieenn

        is a laggy silly unusable joke

    • Thepokemonmaster

      i know right!, Playstation is copying NIntendo’s famous SSB!
      Microsoft should get back to playing their elmo game and stop copying off of us

  • BananaPwnz

    Wii U just got even better!

  • Paul

    sorry but sounds dumb as you would need to put the tablet on a good height table while using the tablet

    • PearlTiger

      how do you know?

    • Kyron

      Or… you can use your brain, stop being pessimistic, and improvise.

    • napmil

      Why is it dumb? I don´t understand why It always have to exist someone like you that doesn´t appreciate a new innovation. Chill out and embrace it instead. I mean, for god sake, the Wii U has´nt even been released yet so why even comment if the different types of functions are great or not? After you have tried the Wii U irl then you can tell us if you still think it´s a dumb function or not.

    • 88MilesPrower

      Oh no.

      What will we ever do.

  • Funky Monkey

    Nintendo could make the games playable with the controller. They can make them use the touch screen feature. When the Xbox 360 came out there were small patches to make original Xbox games play on the new console. The games need a patch because the graphics chip is different. Would the games be up converted to 720p, 1080i or 480 (4:3 or 16:9)?

  • Dan7el(WiiU day one purchase)

    Obviously something like Metroid Prime 3 wouldn’t work with this idea, but can’t Nintendo make the wii u gamepad buttons have the same effect as if a button was pressed on the remote. For instance Super Mario Galaxy would work perfectly with this idea. All you’d need from a Wii remote would be the shake which can be done on the gamepad. And also just think about SSBB on the gamepad using the buttons on it…..this needs to happen…please….

  • maybe your mother

    GREAT but how u can play skyward sword on the gamepad????

    • Kyron

      Easy…you just swing at your controller like a madman.

    • dubYA

      …The same way you’d play any Wii game on the Game Pad I assume. With a Wii Remote.

    • mii myselff and iieenn

      did u even read the article

    • Thepokemonmaster

      yes you need a wii remote, I’d say it’s OPTIONAL to use the game pad or not,
      I need to finish epic mickey,… i haven’t played it due to the fact iv’e been playing other games

    • Grodus

      dude, you just use the gamepad as a screen *rolls eyes*

  • markw1982

    im just happy the wii u can play wii games in general because my mum had a stroke and she can only play games like wii sports so least i can buy a wii u and play cool new games ad she can still play the games she likes and can play too so well done nintendo you certainly have one happy future customer here

  • Disciplelicious

    Please oh please! Dream. Come. True! Now if my wife has friends over, I don’t have to lug the tv and Wii into our room to play!

  • Alienfish

    We’ve known about the sensor bar on the gamepad since E3 2011. I just thought it was common knowledge by now that this was going to be a feature. It is nice to get somewhat of a confirmation on the subject though.

    • theaquacharger

      It was an accidential leak then and again on an episode of late night with Jimmy Fallon.

  • SuperSonic 128

    That’s awesome news, is what this is, Wii U is becomeing more amazing as we get closer to it’s laughing, let’s keep the ball rolling Wii U.

  • NoPUNintendo

    Yes…YES! I can watch tv, while my kids or wife want to play some games, and vice versa. Now, I don’t have to wait til “big brother” goes off, just to do some gaming.

  • gameflow

    Thats actually a cool idea. For Games that didnt use the Wiimote its a no brainer…but for the ones with motion control I see some problems, because of the distance you have to have for using the Wiimote. But I would totally love the idea with patching some Wii Highlight Games to use it wihtout the Motion Control or with a combination. Like someone said with Mario Galaxy. Its interesting how the Wii U Controller somehow can become the living room tablet. I’ve heard that for Mass Effect will have a ebook/comic feature for the game. And thats also some point speaking for using the controller more like a tablet. Does the controller itself has a small memory to store some small data on it? Stuff like comics, small apps,…? Or you can use it streaming content from a PC or the internet…So many opportunities.

  • Ledreppe

    Nice feature if it’s included in the final product, but I game in my bedroom so I have access to my t.v at all times, there’s no real need for me to play Wii games like this.

  • Zeldazero

    Ok, this still doesn’t answer the actual question this brings up and if anyone knows I’d like to hear the answer. Can you play games only on the controller WITHOUT the Wii U console being turned on. If the controller will play games, say like angry birds without the Wii U, and before anyone makes the comment “no, you need a game in the Wii U for that so it obviously has to be on” I mean maybe the controller has internal memory for holding games on it so it can play games solo so you dont need to be in the vicinity of the main console?

    • EvanescentHero


      The console needs to be on to stream any data to the GamePad, including playing the game on the controller itself. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t move away from the console with the controller though.

  • ajfel

    I’m proud that im owner of Nintendo 64, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo Wii and that I’m soon going to be owner of Nintendo Wii U. Nintendo is better than Microsoft and Sony, they are just jealous that Nintendo once again will become the winner.
    Nintendo 4EVER!

    • Crapcake

      Microsofts actually awesome at making pcs

      • EvanescentHero

        Yes, they are, but they’re bad at making consoles.

        • Grodus

          Looks like someone already said both my comments. 2 someonessss…

  • Ziul

    If the pad was read as the classic controller for the Wii games, it will be possible to play many games on pad. Of corse, far from all Wii titles, but many ones, including some channel and all virtual ones. Make it happens Nintendo! Plz! Would love play Monster Hunter on pad b4 sleep xD

    • EvanescentHero

      Majora’s Mask on the controller. Yes please.

      • 88MilesPrower

        Actually, i think because VC games will be native Wii U software once ported over, this feature is pretty much garunteed.

  • AKA-Link77

    Well Thats OWSM!!

  • Grodus

    I can’t see myself using this feature much, since i have 2 tvs, but its great for people that need it.

  • SanPharaoh

    The more I read about the Wii U, the more excited I become. Is it November yet?


    Yeah even though I have my own TV/place to game, I can see how great this will be when I was a kid and had to play on my parents TV and they wanted to watch regular TV which meant I had to stop gaming. It would be great to move around, lets say if your cooking, and waiting for the water to boil or something, hahaha, you can still game…

  • LazerK

    I really like the idea,but I’m a bit worried about how I would play games like Metroid Prime Trilogy with a small screen(small in comparison to the TV)pointing the Wiimote at the controller.It could feel a bit awkward.If I can get around anything like that,then this idea is more than brilliant!

  • BabyBlueJellyFish

    If I were to play a Wii game on the Wii U, would it run smoother at 60 fps?

  • D2K

    All I want to know is if Wii games will be downloadable to the Wii U in 1080p format. We know the Wii U won’t upscale Wii games DISCS played on the Wii U to 1080p, but if the Wii U allows for full digital-downloads of games it would make sense to have all ‘downloadable’ Wii games in 1080p resolution.

    I guess I can understand the reason why they wouldn’t do this. If you can play Wii games in 1080p graphics on the Wii U what is the point in buying the Wii anymore? Clearly Nintendo believes the Wii can and will survive into the future alongside the Wii U as they have said so numerous times. We’ll see about that.

    I just say they call it a wrap on the Wii and focus on the Wii U. The Wii won this generation running away. 96 million console sold. Mission accomplished. Anyone whom has seen or played Wii games on the Dolphin EMU will agree that the specter of playing Wii games in full-1080p is beyond exciting.

  • John

    ” Pepe Arcas, who said that he can’t officially confirm the feature, but quickly added that “it makes sense” ”

    So you’re basically saying… “This is purely a guess, but someone who works for Nintendo said that he thinks the feature makes sense to him.” ?

  • theorangefish

    Chuck Norris is able to play that way!

  • PenguinGames

    This looks epic! Can’t wait to play some of my favourite games on it, if I play SSBB on it then it’ll be like the Wii U version 😀 ! Kinda.

  • Mega Gamer

    If the wii games could be remastered on wii u it can be a good idea but we don’t know.

  • nintendpatrick

    if this is true than NINTENDO JUST ROCKED MY WORLD
    thank god i found this.
    the exact question i’d been wondering all this time was solved by reading this.

  • wolfniggr

    It’s not true. As a matter of fact, no wii U controllers can be used while on the wii channel (not to mention it takes a while for the channel to load up). Not a fan of the U’s speed in general so far. Maybe that can be fixes with another hour+ update.