23 May, 2006


I mean, what else is there to talk about, really?

You want to talk about PS3? Why? It's the same games with prettier graphics.

You want to talk about the 360? Ditto.

The Wii is just the same games with different controls?


You've got a point, but you're missing the bigger one.

No matter what the hardware is you'll end up with the same games. There'll still be shooters, fighting games, sports games, driving games, etc. Going fast, kicking ass, and blowing stuff up are far more American than mom and apple pie. :)

I hate to say it because the word is so completely overused in the gaming press, but what motion sensitive control gives you is immersion. The feeling you are actually touching the game world, even if it can't really touch you back, is huge.

The example I always give for this is a really terrible game, so humor me here. I occasionally like to play games that have been universally panned to see if they could possibly be as bad as everyone said. One of those games was Jurassic Park: Trespasser. It was $2, so how bad could it be? It lived up to the hype. The pop-in on the terrain was attrocious. The AI was a joke. And the amazing sound engine meant that if you smacked a board with another board, you got to hear three different samples instead of one. w00t.

What Trespasser did have was physics, and a hand. The physics were pretty unstable, but a good enough aproximation. And the you had the hand. It was a pain to control, with separate keys needing to be pressed to wave the arm and rotate and bend the wrist. But the feeling that you could pick up, throw about, and drop objects in the game world was primal. Just being able to pick something up and turn it over in your hand using the mouse added a whole other level of reality to the game.

It was a pain in the ass, of course. Aiming a gun was a huge chore, and the 2D plane of mouse control made throwing stuff with any precision an exercise in frustration. But the hand stuck with me. Every shooter I picked up for months afterward felt terrible. "That isn't my hand! That's just an icon representing a gun! I can't touch anything!" I got over it. They were much better games, after all. But Trespasser taught me the power of touch, and if developers do right by the Wii controller, everyone will know, and they won't want to go back.

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