Wii U Can Now Play Wii Titles On GamePad, But There’s A Catch

By Ishaan . September 30, 2013 . 7:21pm

Nintendo have released a new firmware update for the Wii U that allows Wii games to be played on the Wii U GamePad. The catch is that you can’t use the GamePad to control them, and still need to use a Wii Remote.


Here’s a full list of features the update adds:


New Features:

  • A feature to output video and sound to the Wii U GamePad when using Wii Mode¹
    • Users can choose to output to the TV and GamePad, or just the TV
  • A feature to automatically receive recommended software and demo titles from Nintendo using SpotPass
  • Support for USB keyboards
  • An option to disable use of a Nintendo Network ID on non-Nintendo hardware, such as PCs and smartphones
  • Support for Dolby® Pro Logic® II Surround Sound when playing Wii software


Changes to Wii U Menu:

  • Added a friend list icon to the Wii U Menu for easier access to the Friend List


Changes to System Settings:

  • An option to automatically receive recommended software is now available under “Internet”
  • A setting to select which cable outputs sound is available through “TV”
    • Users can choose to output sound through an HDMI cable, non-HDMI cable, or both cables at the same time. Click here for instructions
  • A setting to adjust the hourly interval in which standby functions are performed is available under “Power Settings” when Standby Functions are enabled


Changes to Wii U Chat:

  • Added the option to view a friend’s profile on Miiverse when sending or receiving a chat request
  • Users can now chat using a headset connected to the Wii U GamePad


Changes to Internet Browser:

  • Pressing the R or L Buttons on the Wii U GamePad will skip video playback forward/back a small amount of time
  • Holding the R Button will speed up video playback
  • Ability to save username and passwords for websites that require login²
  • Ability to launch the Internet Browser during gameplay and upload screenshots
  • Added support for viewing PDF files³
  • Added features intended for website developers that allow the user to enable developer tools and set user agent


Improvements to system stability and usability:

  • Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience


¹ Wii software displayed on the Wii U GamePad cannot be controlled by the GamePad. This feature only allows Wii software to be displayed on the GamePad. A Wii Remote Plus or Wii Remote is required to play Wii software titles.

² Users can delete saved usernames and passwords from the Internet Browser settings.

³ Sometimes data may not be displayed correctly depending on the size and format of the PDF file. PDF files cannot be saved.

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  • Albert Calderon

    Then what’s the point of using the gamepad at all? To play Wii games that is.

    • It sounds like something that’d work in terms of Classic Controller-controlled games the best, like Sonic Colors or Xenoblade.

    • fool

      So you can play without using the TV screen?

      • Albert Calderon

        Yeah but I don’t see the point, it seems like it would be too uncomfortable. lol I can’t imagine holding the gamepad in one hand and in the other the Wiimote. I just think it makes sense to just use the TV for that :p

        • You use the gamepad as a TV that you put on a desk or your bed or something. you don’t hold both at once, that would be stupid. It’s basically a mini TV.

    • ronin4life

      I can play in my own room a floor above the living room the wiiu is in… in my bed, so I don’t even need to use my own tv.
      Which is pretty cool, because my house is really noisy…@[email protected];;

  • Judgephoenix

    what the…..

  • Nanashrew

    Just tested it and it’s great! I was playing Mario Galaxy right here at my desk.

    If people want to know how it would work this is a good video that demonstrates it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTLRdP9oOfw

    Or even look at Pikmin 3, the gamepad acts as a screen and has a built in sensor bar. I don’t even need a TV to use my Wii U now.

    • I actually played around with it too and it’s pretty neat. I think this is at least a good starter point for potential pad-only play for Wii stuff, and I think it’s cool that the Wii U gamepad has a sensor bar built right in.

    • Shadowman

      That is, NICE.

  • fool

    Holy moly they added Pro Logic II back?

    • malek86

      That and the ability to output video and sound from different cables. It was one of my main peeves with the Wii U.

      Also, let’s see if we can finally upload screenshots on Twitter!

  • Curan_Altea

    Would be really neat if eventually you can control the games with the gamepad. Even assign actions to the touch screen like with the Vita and psp games.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      That’d get hectic with how different the set ups are from range to game. You could potentially get locked in a “please remove the classic controller pro” kind of deal.

  • Scissors

    A huge oversight in my opinion, I was thinking how this would help me beat Xenoblade because it’d be much easier to play that with off TV play, but booting that up to a gamepad and then connecting a wii-mote to a classic controller is even more cumbersome than playing on a TV. I understand not being able to play Skyward Sword or any other motion controlled game with the gamepad, but if there’s not a future update that lets you play games that supported the classic controller with the buttons on the gamepad then that sort of destroys this awesome idea for backwards compatibility through the gamepad.

    • ronin4life

      The original reason(or excuse, depending on how you look at it) they gave for no off-tv Wii play was the method of emulation: The Wii “Inside” the wiiu couldn’t understand the Gamepad, as it was built for wiiu. I am guessing they just have it set up somehow to play the WiiU in the background enough to stream image and sound to the gamepad, but as an input device the “Wii” still can’t recognize it. It just thinks of it as a TV.

      This is what I always thought they may be able to do to overcome their stated roadblock. Though I am no coder or tech guy, so I really don’t know.

  • AuraGuyChris

    Oh, so now the GamePad is LITERALLY a TV screen, except portable and smaller.

    • Malon

      Except you still have to be at home.
      But it´s still a great improvement !

  • Spirit Macardi

    I’ve dreamed of this day!

    Time to play the Klonoa remake in handheld form :D

    • Lightthrower

      Not a handheld, you still need a controller.

      • Spirit Macardi

        I know. Still though, this lets me play the game no matter where I’m sitting in my room x3

        • Wesley Kenneth Houpt Mattingly

          A TV allows that as well…

          • AkuLord3

            Who says there’s a TV IN THE ROOM 0-o

          • Spirit Macardi

            My TV doesn’t pivot to where I am in the room. And even if it did, there’s a wall behind it.

            With this though I don’t even need to face the TV, I just pick up the handheld and place it somewhere else (having a plastic protective case with a flip-out stand is great).

            Plus being able to play console games in bed is the ultimate form of decadent laziness XD

          • Wesley Kenneth Houpt Mattingly

            I play console games in bed. What is this community, a bunch of 10 year old’s or something? You must have either A:some the of the most terrible room designs or layouts, or B: ridiculously small Tube TV’s from the 90’s. My bedroom is 18 x 15 and I can see my 60″ anywhere in the room very well.

          • KingRuff

            Woah! You have a TV that follows you around the room?! Too bad the rest of us live in the present where TVs don’t move.

          • Wesley Kenneth Houpt Mattingly

            See above…

  • Bobby Jennings


  • Jrocy247

    It’s like…..Nintendo is being run by a bunch of lab monkeys who honestly have no clue what to do anymore….
    This is literally stupid.

    • Zero_Destiny

      I’m not entirely sure why someone may want to go to the trouble of using the gamepad as a surrogate TV. I suppose there are reasons, probably mostly because they can’t/don’t wanna use the TV, or they wanna play Wii in another room, though it does seem cumbersome still.

      That said, all this update really is, is another set of options for Wii U owners, which is nice to be given.

    • Wesley Kenneth Houpt Mattingly

      Coming up on its first year of sales and hasn’t gotten much over 4 million. They don’t have the money to do stuff since people are only buying 3DS.

      • They don’t have the money to do stuff since people are only buying 3DS.

        In what imaginary world does Nintendo not have the money to do stuff? They have more money than anyone. They’re fumbling with Wii U, but it’s not for lack of finances.

        • Chris Evan Jonance Ingeniero

          yeah its more on lack of Developer confidence because the so called “gamers” what HD games and HD shit instead of good long lasting games

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      They did it so they didnt have to bother with the VC library

  • Zero_Destiny

    Well, I gave it a go, and it worked pretty well. I’m actually impressed with how well the gamepad picked up.

    If worst comes to worst, and we never get Secret of Mana (and a bunch of other games as well) on the eShop, I know now that I can still be able to play it on the gamepad. lol Having full access to the Wii’s Virtual Console again is pretty nice, though still not ideal since you can’t use the buttons on the gamepad itself.

    • Enzo

      It shouldn’t be impossible to make it happen, though. They should have included it from the beginning, but the fact they did this at all is pretty surprising IMO.

  • Gukurinko

    Man, now i really want to get myself a WiiU. Since im in college having to be in one specific are to play is quite annoying but with this, hopefully could play brawl any where.

  • Wesley Kenneth Houpt Mattingly

    Worthless update. Still making have to use a Wii mote which I do not own, nor will. just like CCP not working on many Virtual console titles. Get it together Nintendo, if you’re wondering why Wii U is tanking, the lack of games is one, and the support for it is the other. All I do now is watch Netflix on my Wii U, because it works better and faster than PS3 one. :/

    • No excuse now, gotta go get a Wiimote and nunchuk at a pawn shop then play Trauma Center.

  • Stranger On The Road

    Nintendo: Wii games can be played on the Wii U’s gamepad….
    Me: hurray!
    Nintendo: ….. using the Wiimote
    Me: Huh? Why would I want to do that?

    Any way, how about the Wii games that supported the ‘classic’ controller, aren’t those the real reason we would want to play the Wii games on the Wii U’s gamepad? Well, at the very least that is why *I* want to play Wii games on the Wii U’s gamepad.

  • NeoAthanasius

    Cool! Now I can play “Shiren the Wanderer” anytime!

  • sfried

    The Wii on Gamepad as TV is nice, but forget the OS is quite noticably speedier now. It just took me 3 secs to boot AC3, and Miiverse/eShop too is very fast. But the best part is the browser: I’m literally not going to get off my WiiU now that it could handle PDFs too. Holy moley!

  • Anyone know if they fixed the gamepad from freezing when watching YT videos?

    • Wesley Kenneth Houpt Mattingly

      Never had that issue in 6 months.

  • Hector Velar

    c’mon Nintendo, make it so that you can play 3DS and DS on tv by using Wii U technology… kinda what you did it for the Game Cube!

  • Nintendo have released a new firmware update for the Wii U that allows Wii games to be played on the Wii U GamePad. The catch is that you can’t use the GamePad to control them, and still need to use a Wii Remote.

    That sounds rather… “halfway”. Why not implement a touch-screen control for streaming on the gamepad screen, while they’re at it? I imagine that would make many Wii games quite convenient to play.

    • hazelnut1112

      That was what I was hoping. Use the touchpad to substitute for the motion stuff. Shooters would greatly benefit from that, would feel the precision of aiming with a mouse. Maybe in the next update.

  • hazelnut1112

    This would be perfect assuming you can play games that require no motion on the pad like Rhythm Heaven.
    Having your headphones on for Maximum enjoyment from that game.

  • Linhua

    … okay so… I can understand why you can’t use the Wii U GamePad for Wii games that require motion. Even though the Pad has a Gyro sensor as well… I can imagine the majority of us here would rather not sling around a nearly irreplaceable mini screen that weighs more than twice the Wii Remote and costs who knows how many times more the price of a Wii Remote. Especially without a strap… lol.

    … but what they SHOULD have done was get the OS for the Wii inside of the Wii U to register the Wii U GamePad as the Wii Classic Controller… y’know… since they both have just about the same buttons.

    … I feel that this is doable since the Wii is just software inside of the Wii U now. A little tinkering and then BAM… for all the fans of using the Classic Controller for their select Wii Games… it would be like truly playing a handheld Wii.

    … and I want this sooooo bad for my Xenoblade Chronicles. I’ve been known to play games like that for HOURS… so people can do what the hell they want with the TV and bother me no more!

    … I hope Nintendo is still listening to their fans… Maximum Capability! Take this Game Pad to New Heights! Leave no option behind!

    .-. I’ve often stressed that it’s always nice having the option.

  • So people can play Wii games without complaining about how they look on a HDTV.
    I wish for actual gamepad button support but oh well.

    • Wappuli

      People are actually coplaining about it? Sure it doesn’t look as good as Xbox360 or PS3, but with component cable it looks fine, or is it different when played using Wii U?
      But I don’t see how this going to help that, it’s not like it will magically look any better with smaller screen.

      • ddh819

        actually i think it will look better with the smaller screen

  • Aristides

    >_> I want to use the frigging controller buttons, if not I might as well just use the “big” TV lol

  • ddh819

    now i can wii in the bathroom

  • NimbusStev

    I can’t think of a single instance that I’d ever be in my own house and want to play a Wii game on a tiny little screen instead of a TV.

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