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Wii U Transfer ToolNintendo constantly pushes the narrative that it is a forward-thinking company.  It's so forward-thinking, in fact, that it has a nasty habit of making attempts to look backward into a frustrating, mind-boggling exercise.  On Sunday morning I finally decided to transfer my old Nintendo Wii content (Virtual Console games, Wii save game data, WiiWare, and my Wii Shop Channel history, among other little things) to my new Wii U so that I could reclaim some shelf space and attempt to unify as much of my Wii/Wii U content as possible.  Moreover, I wanted to upgrade some of my Virtual Console games to their Wii U counterparts to take advantage of off-TV play.  I knew that Nintendo offered a special transfer utility on the Wii to handle this process, so I figured it would take about thirty minutes to complete and that would be that.  Not hardly.  Instead I spent over two hours jumping through Nintendo's hoops and suffering error message after error message.

I started by downloading the transfer utility from the Wii Shop Channel on my Wii.  I read the basic procedure guide and quit out of the utility in order to copy Virtual Console games off my Wii's SD card into system memory, as only data in system memory can make the leap to Wii U.  I packed my 512 MB of storage as full as I could with as many cherished games as possible, and in the end I had only eight blocks left.  I returned to the transfer utility to start the process again and was told I needed to have my Wii U initialize the SD card I would use for the transfer.  That's not entirely unreasonable, so I turned on the Wii U and entered Wii Mode to access the transfer utility on that console.  The Wii U's utility explained the process again and I initialized the SD card.  I then went back to the Wii and tried to start the transfer again, this time with a kosher card.  After thinking about it for some time, the Wii complained that it didn't have enough free system memory space to begin.

One block of memory was holding everything up!  I went back into the Wii's memory manager and deleted that one precious block (goodbye, Netflix save data), returned to the transfer utility, and tried to start again.  This time my Wii cleared whatever space check needed to be performed, but was given another error that the Wii U's Wii Mode did not have enough free space to take on all of the data I wanted to transfer.  I really don't understand why this happened, as my Wii U's Wii Mode was as blank as it comes from the factory.  I hadn't even gone into Wii Mode until that day.

I quit the transfer utility and deleted more content from the Wii's system memory (farewell, Magician Lord), then tried the whole thing again.  This time the utility cleared both storage space checks, but failed when it couldn't find an Internet connection.  I should point out that this was the first and only time in my Wii's life that it failed to connect to the Internet when asked.  Starting over again, this time everything cleared and the transfer process began.  Dozens of adorable Pikmin began carrying my content to the SD card (represented onscreen by a rocket).  I wasn't able to fit everything eligible to be moved into system memory, obviously; in addition to Magician Lord, I also had to abandon Kirby 64, Sin & Punishment, and a few terrible WiiWare games I'd acquired when I used to review games for Kombo.  Eventually the Pikmin finished their task and I was cleared to blast off to the Wii U.  I closed out the process, shut off the now-blanked Wii, and moved the SD card to the Wii U.

Once on the Wii U, the process became easier.  Now it was just a matter of unpacking the SD card's contents to the new console via Pikmin hard labor.  This took some time as well, and by the time everything was over and the Wii U had given me the all clear, over two hours had passed.  I eagerly hit the eShop to download updates to Super Mario World, Super Castlevania IV, and Mega Man X2 at their discounted prices.  The headaches were worth the trouble, as those Super NES games look and play fantasically on the GamePad's screen.  More than anything else, I was glad to have the process behind me.  When the next Nintendo console releases and I'm encouraged to transfer my Wii U content to it, I really hope that the transfer process is easier and streamlined.  All of this back and forth utility switching and mixed messages on how much free space is required to complete the transfer tested my patience in ways that no actual Nintendo-produced game ever has before.  In the meantime, it's time to disconnect the Wii and move it to its place of honor besides my other retired game consoles.  What's going to take its place?  I believe it's time for the GameCube to return to active duty.