Wii U firmware upgrade lets you play original Wii games on the GamePad

Nintendo has introduced a new firmware upgrade that will enable gamers to play original Wii titles using only the Wii U GamePad.

Potentially helping to boost the desirability of Nintendo’s struggling Wii U console, the new firmware update offers more GamePad play options.

Gamers can now turn off the TV entirely when playing original Wii titles and continue using only the Wii U GamePad for audio and visuals.

“A feature to output video and sound to the Wii U GamePad when using Wii Mode. Users can choose to output to the TV and GamePad or just the TV”, reads the Wii U firmware update details.

Of course, the Wii U GamePad only has a 6.2-inch 16:9 aspect ratio screen with a rather low 854 x 480p resolution, so the quality of the games won’t quite be up to the standard of a TV.

The new functionality will mean you won’t have to compete for TV real estate with other members of your family.

However, there are a few catches when using the GamePad to play original Wii games, as you’ll still need to use a Wii Remote or Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuck as controllers. This means you’ll need to find somewhere to prop up the GamePad whilst you play.

Nintendo’s new Wii U firmware update also includes support for USB keyboard and Dolby Pro Logic 2 Surround Sound when playing Wii games.

There’s also a new dedicated friend list icon on the Wii U Menu and automatic software and demo downloads.

Third party headset support has been added for the Wii U GamePad as well, with improved audio quality added too.

Next, read our pick of the best games of 2013.