PAX East: A Quick Intro to Wii Street U

Even though it released last month on the Wii U, Nintendo brought along one station of its Google Maps Street View powered Wii Street U app. The app is free on the console, and usable by only one person at a time, so it’s not exactly a “game” in the way that you’d likely sit down on your couch thinking “oh man, I can’t wait to get deep into Wii Street U!” but more like “hmm… I need a break before I attempt another level of New Super Mario Bros. U.”

Using the GamePad controller, you’re able to control a 360 degree panoramic view of streets, fields, cities, and some buildings, all over the world. The TV screen gives you a general map of where you are (should you choose to set it up this way), while the GamePad allows Street View—mainly because you can turn yourself around 360 degrees while holding the controller, and see the world around you on the screen as if you were there yourself.

The press of a button gets you moving forward or backward, which can be a bit tricky to get the hang of at first. My trial with the app put me in Europe somewhere—I can’t say where exactly, as I was a bit distracted when the Nintendo booth employee set it up—and it took me a bit to get used to using the motion controls. I also felt left to my own devices a bit too much, because you’re more or less dumped into an area and left to do your own thing. As interesting as that may be for a few minutes, it would be nice to have a guided tour to select from, or even a recommended route.


After my few minutes on the streets of Somewhere, I was plopped down inside the White House in Washington, D.C. As a Canadian, it wasn’t as exciting as it might otherwise have been, but I found the concept of being able to explore the inside of certain buildings quite fascinating. If they’re able to put cathedrals, museums, or other interesting locations in here, it might be the next best thing to actually traveling there to see it in person!

Though my demo of the app was short, there appears to be a lot of potential here. If Nintendo decides to continue working on it, things like guided tours, recommended areas to visit, location bookmarks (not having these is a real downside), scavenger hunts for locations, or even leaving notes or “graffiti” for friends to find would definitely add that extra interactive, connective effort to the experience.

Overall, it’s interesting enough to download and set up—considering it’s free—but don’t expect to spend hours and hours in here just yet. Take the time to enjoy a location or two on your downtime! At the very least, it’s a fun way to see some of the world’s most interesting and amazing sites, from the comfort of your living room couch.


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Author: Micah View all posts by
Micah has been playing games since his first pong machine, and has been writing for as long as he could grip a pencil and not drool on the paper. So, for about a week.

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