23 October, 2009

Wii Fail

written by Blain Newport on Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Writing about the new motion controllers got me thinking about how they might be used to make gaming more awesome. But any conjecture and wishful thinking should be tempered by the fact that my hopes for the Wiimote in 2006 went pretty much nowhere.

How My Hopes Turned Out

The Wiimote wasn't accurate enough to support this until the Motion Plus came about (roughly three years later). Wii Sports Resort has a sword mini-game that is reported to be fun, but I'm waiting for Red Steel 2. There may still be hope for Swordplay.

Swinging Soldier (Bionic Commando)
Capcom was already working on a third person Bionic Commando game for HD consoles. To my knowledge, nobody else tried anything similar.

Magic / Psychic Soldier (Psi-Ops)
To my knowledge, nobody tried it.

God Games (Populus)
To my knowledge, nobody tried it.

Rhythm Games (Samba de Amigo)
There are plenty of them on the system (including Sambe de Amigo), and some are even pretty good. If I wasn't tired of the genre, I'd be a happy gamer. This is the one category where things seem to have worked out.

Boxing (Fight Night)
Boxing had the same problem as Swordplay (lack of precision). But with the added problem that there's no Motion Plus for the nunchuck, so it won't get better. The best boxing game for the Wii (Punch Out) was impossibly difficult with motion controls.

Robot Monster Rampage (Giants: Citizen Kabuto)
To my knowledge, nobody tried it.

Drive and Shoot (Lucky & Wild)
Okay, I didn't mention this on the blog, only in conversations, but Lucky & Wild was a silly game from 1992 where you steered and shot at the same time. It could have been done on the Wii since launch. To my knowledge, nobody tried it. Well there was a Starsky & Hutch game based on loosely the same principle, but it predates the Wii. And sucks.

What Happened?

Between the Wiimote's limitations, publishers' risk aversion, and a possible lack of imagination on the part of developers, motion control hasn't made much progress at all from my vantage.

Seriously, how do you have motion controls and not make a giant monster game? Why haven't any of the Wii games I've played put enough feedback on the screen that I feel I really understand how the sensors are translating my movement and can adjust accordingly?

But when early efforts like Zack & Wiki didn't move any units, it's not surprising that publishers and devs decided to spend their efforts elsewhere. The Wiimote was a missed opportunity.

Next Time: I imagine a brighter future (that probably also won't happen).

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