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Nintendo’s new Wii U update lets you play original Wii games exclusively on the GamePad

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A new firmware update has hit Nintendo’s struggling Wii U video game console today, this time adding the ability to play original Wii games exclusively on the GamePad.

The feature gives players the ability to turn off their TV entirely and continue playing their current game on a separate screen. Admittedly, the Wii U GamePad is a low-resolution display, but it’s designed to help families who frequently find themselves vying for control of the TV in their living room.

Using the Wii U GamePad exclusively does have its drawbacks, however. Gamers will always be required to play Wii titles with a Wii Remote or Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuck, which means finding a suitable way to prop up the GamePad while they’re flailing their arms around the room.

The latest firmware throws in support for USB keyboards and Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound when playing Wii games. A dedicated friend list icon has also been added to the Wii U Menu, in addition to automatic software and demo downloads via SpotPass.

Anyone using Wii U Chat, Nintendo’s take on Skype and Google Hangouts, will also be pleased to hear that they can now connect a third-party headset to their Wii U GamePad, improving their audio quality during video calls.

You can take a look at the full update notes over here.

Image Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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Published October 1, 2013 — 09:31 UTC