One thing that many Wii U owners fear is the almighty freezing bug. It happens to some while switching between applications or returning to the home screen. For others, it happens only in Wii mode. For folks like me, it just happens completely at random. That means that yes, it can and does happen while playing or loading games. It can be frustrating, even if it doesn't necessarily happen too often anymore. A previous update definitely cut down on how often the console freezes, but for some the issue itself still persists (myself included).
I was hoping, as were many of you, that this new patch would remove the freezing entirely. Unfortunately, that isn't the case, as I got my first freeze in almost a week while playing some Need for Speed: Most Wanted U this morning right before work. However, I did come to notice I could do something that previously was only able to be done in Wii mode: I can reset and shut off my console without unplugging the power. Previously, if it froze in Wii mode, the normal reset feature would still work (since I presume the whole console didn't freeze, just the Wii stuff), but when the Wii U itself froze you had to always unplug the console.
That's not fun for anyone, because while normal in the tech world to reset things, it's always ideal (and less of a hassle) to be able to simply restart it without unplugging the power. Thankfully, after holding down my power button my gamepad for 5 seconds, it actually shut off the console while frozen. I only discovered it because it's a habit of mine to keep trying it since I really don't want to get off the couch and dig out the console to fix it. Turns out, since the update, it works. Grant it, I have only done it once, but I have heard stories of it working for others too. So, thanks Nintendo for sneaking that one in. Now just figure out what exactly is causing your hardware to 'hang' to begin with.