The Wii U's whole sales pitch is that its primary controller, the Wii U Gamepad, is also a touch-screen "tablet." But it stops working entirely if it gets too far from the console, so don't get any big ideas.
It means two big things. First, games can get touch-screen controls — games like "New Super Mario Bros. U" for the Wii U let one player touch the screen to freeze enemies or hold moving platforms in place.
Second, it means you can actually play many Wii U games on the smaller screen by itself, no TV required. It's a handy thing if you live somewhere where TV time is hard to come by.
Each Wii U supports only one Gamepad controller. Otherwise, you can use the traditional Wii remotes you may still have sitting around ...
... or the Wii U Pro Controller, made to look and feel more like a traditional video game controller.
Some clever Wii U games take advantage of this for multiplayer games. The early Wii U title "Nintendo Land," for example, has a fun mini-game in which one player uses the Gamepad to be an invisible ghost and chase the players who are using the TV.
Other games used the touch screen to great effect. "Super Mario Maker" for Wii U lets you design "Super Mario" levels on the touch screen and share them across the internet.
In a lot of ways, the Wii U was incredibly forward-looking. The idea of "second-screen gaming" was ahead of its time. Even the Microsoft Xbox One recently got the ability to "stream" games over the network to Windows 10 laptops and tablets. So what went wrong?
This tablet controller presented a big headache for developers, who were slow to make games that really took advantage of the possibilities of the touch screen.
Even some of the Wii U's best titles, including the stylish run-and-gun paint shooter "Splatoon" ...
... cross-franchise brawler "Super Smash Bros. for Wii U" ...
... and platform jumper "Super Mario 3D World" all fail to make a great use of the tablet-like part of the Gamepad.
It also doesn't help that the Wii U hardware is only marginally more powerful than that of the original Wii, which was released in 2007.
This means games that emphasize cutting-edge graphics, like "Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare," are difficult to pull off on the Wii U. A lot of game publishers simply don't bother, which means most of the best Wii U games come from Nintendo itself.
And the name Wii U itself ended up confusing a lot of would-be buyers who didn't understand that it was a separate console, not an accessory or add-on for the original Wii.
Nintendo's critical leg-up, though, is that it's probably the single best games publisher in the business. And blockbuster franchises like "The Legend of Zelda," "Super Mario," and "Animal Crossing" can be found only on Nintendo platforms like the Wii U.
So despite those technical shortcomings and a limited library, the Wii U has a lot going for it. For starters, games like "Super Smash Bros." and the stellar racing title "Mario Kart 8" are still some of the best times you can have with friends sitting on a couch.
And games like "Yoshi's Woolly World" are both adorable and super fun for two players.
It's especially good to see Nintendo stay focused on making games to play with people in the same room after games like "Halo 5: Guardians" for Xbox One removed that ability.
Nintendo has also done something cool — and compulsively collectible — with its Amiibos, tiny plastic figures of a video game's best-known characters. Tap an Amiibo against the Wii U Gamepad, and it unlocks bonus features and content in a handful of Wii U games.
The Nintendo Switch is now available for $299, taking the Wii U's best idea — the tablet controller — and bringing it forward. Now, the tablet IS the console, so you can either hook it up to your TV or take it on the go as you please.
The birth of the Switch also brings the swan song for the Wii U. "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," the latest and some say greatest in the epic franchise, is now available for both systems. The Wii U's last great game is the Switch's first.
And if you missed some of the Wii U's greatest games, don't fret too much: Several of its best games are now available for other platforms, like "Super Mario Maker" and "Poochy and Yoshi's Wooly World" for the Nintendo 3DS.
And come April 28th, Nintendo will be releasing "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" for the Switch, a souped-up version of this essential game with new game modes and features.
So give Nintendo a little credit here. Maybe the Wii U didn't reinvent video games, but Nintendo saw the rise of touch screen and two-screen gaming coming years before the idea hit the mainstream. And it had some truly great games.