As the question suggests, is it possible to play games off of the WiiU Gamepad without having the WiiU or TV turned on?

For example, I turn on the WiiU Gamepad, but not the WiiU or the TV. I proceed to enter the WiiU menu and play a WiiU game. Is this possible? (with like downloaded games)

  • 1
    The gamepad has zero processor power of it's own; it needs the WiiU to function.
    – Frank
    Feb 12, 2015 at 1:18

3 Answers 3


The Wii U requires the console to play, and many games will require a TV.

The console is what actually runs the game. The gamepad has little processing power on its own, and simply communicates with the Wii U wirelessly. The gamepad sends the controls to the console, and the console sends the video output back to the gamepad.

Depending on the game, you can play without a TV. Some games such as Mario Kart 8 or Wind Waker HD allow you to see the same thing on the gamepad as the TV. However many games will use the gamepad exclusively for other stuff. For example, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate used to be TV-only, but added the ability to play on the gamepad in a later update. Other games have not added such functionality and will require a TV to play.


The Gamepad is a touchscreen and analog control interface. It is essentially a controller. You cannot play WiiU games with the Gamepad only, just as you cannot play Xbox or Playstation games with only the respective controller.


No, you cannot play games on the gamepad alone, without having the console turned on. The gamepad is only a controller with a screen and a proprietary wireless connection to the WiiU. That means it cannot connect to the internet and also does not have any memory to store data. You can play games on the gamepad without the TV on because it streams the game from the console. Thus, it needs to be on.

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