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Not Everyone Still Wow’d by Waggle

October 25, 2007

bleh

Over at Wired.com, Clive Thompson has written an article on why he believes the Wii controller is just as artificial as a regular controller. I enjoyed the read and was pleased to know I wasn’t alone. His article was inspired by playing EA’s Skate which relies heavily on the thumbsticks to simulate skateboarding, and he comes to the conclusion they do a much better job of nailing that ‘realistic’ feeling that Wii promised and have not delivered.

I have yet to play a Wii game that didn’t annoy me with it’s controls. Someday that game may arrive that finally shows me that the Wii controller can be used in wonderful ways, and won’t make me wish I could just plug in the classic controller instead. We near the one year mark of the Wii, and I still can’t bring myself to finish Zelda: Twilight Princess simply because of how annoying it is for me to flick my wrist to do a simple sword swipe animation. Even more recently, Rockstar’s Table Tennis showed me how awkward it can be to try and use awkward button layout combined with poor motion controls.

Either way, agree or disagree with my growing dislike of Wii controls, the article is a good read. Check it out here:

http://www.wired.com/gaming/gamingreviews/commentary/games/2007/10/gamesfrontiers_1022

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. drewmg permalink
    October 25, 2007 8:57 am

    I totally agree with that article. The Wii is a system where you’re supposed to make natural movements to simulate game movements, but most of the time those movements feel anything but natural. Sword fighting SHOULD be cool, but developers can’t do 1:1, or they would have already – besides, there’s no resistance from the other sword coming back at you.

    Wii may be good for Nintendo, and it may be good for the games industry, but it’s not good for *GAMES*.

  2. October 25, 2007 11:17 am

    Wii is only good for Nintendo’s part of the industry. They’re actually hurting it badly.

  3. October 25, 2007 12:22 pm

    I’ve played the demo of SKATE and loved the controls, so I totally agree with Thompson’s assertion that they nailed the emulation using thumbsticks perfectly.

    However, you can’t generalize this for all games. As I commented on the previous article, even the future balancing board would not help a skate board game to feel more “natural”, since you still would need another controller to pull off the tricks.

    The truth is, the Wiimote is perfect for emulating certain actions, such as playing golf, but not all. Even Nintendo recognizes this which is why they are releasing Smash Bros Brawl with a traditional control scheme. That has been one of the bigger problems with 3rd party developers and Wii: trying to force the implementation of gestures into actions that don’t need it.

    Other game types that are perfect for gesture emulation, in my opinion, are first-person shooters, balancing puzzles, racers, and racket ball sports with limited movement. Oh, and point-and-click interfaces work well, too. Everything else should just stick to old control schemes, but then why make it for Wii?

  4. Joey permalink
    October 25, 2007 2:42 pm

    This kind of reminds me of the control pad for the Gamecube. When I saw it for the first time, I really wondered what Nintendo was thinking. To be honest, I’m not really a fan of that control pad and even to this day, I still prefer the Saturn’s layout the most even though the whole thing somewhat felt hollow and fragile.

    Controls have always been an element of gameplay, but it has never seen this much focus before. I think the Wiimote offers a lot potential and possibilities. But I think when a control scheme for the Wiimote fails, it fails hard. Simple sensible gestures are the way to go in my opinion.

  5. October 26, 2007 1:49 am

    While I have yet to play a game that had controls that felt “natural”, I have never been frustrated with the controls of Excite Truck.

    Everytime I pop in Burnout Revenge on the box I try to turn the controls and then after a few feel less involved. Which is sad because I really love(ed) BO:R. Hopefully EA will make (PORT:( ) a Burnout game to Wii with Excite Truck Controls.

  6. drewmg permalink
    October 26, 2007 8:39 am

    I have played several Wii games that I thought felt good. Most of them aren’t trying to mimic actual movements, though. Metroid felt great, except for the “yanking” motion of the grapple felt bad because you had to wait until the thing hooked which was about a second after I pulled it back EVERY TIME. Which means I pulled it back, and then realized I had to pull it back again, with NO ROOM LEFT to pull.

    Excite Truck controls well, I enjoy that game, despite it having the depth of a brick. SSX Tricky really felt awkward to me, as did Sonic and the Whatever.

  7. October 28, 2007 3:55 am

    Frisby – while there are a good many people who are quite happy with Excite Truck’s controls, and I would not begrudge them that, I would put that against Motorstorm. To me, that game steers even better with the motion sensors, seeing as the controller actually has handles and is made for two-handed control. And of course has that whole non-GameCube graphics advantage. Food for thought.

  8. October 28, 2007 4:35 am

    I think people just lose themselves in their Wii games on purpose and soon overlook all a game’s flaws. Case in point, Excite Truck. That game is ok for an afternoon of straight grinding if you get into the whole medals thing (in which your brain shuts off and you just do it), but the gameplay itself is about toe-deep. There are only ever 2 routes you can take when there’s a fork, and even then they don’t differ from each other. It’s a made for arcade game, but more shallow. Idaknow how they let that get on a console.

    And by the way, no i’m not wowed by waggle. I’m still intrigued by the controller though. It’s a nice change of pace after months of Warhawk. Maybe if i get something new for it, i’ll change my answer. Wish me luck. :/

  9. October 28, 2007 12:50 pm

    Well, game control issues aside, we still need to see a really immersive game on the Wii. Which is ironic given all the hardcore and immersive games that have come out for the DS!

    The new Fire Emblem on Wii hopefully will start something going there…

  10. Joey permalink
    October 28, 2007 7:18 pm

    Fire Emblem is a turn-based strategy game though. What kind of immersive Wiimote gestures would be used there? In fact, there’s really no need for it. The classic controller would do just fine.

    Now, platformers on the other hand…

  11. Bill permalink
    October 29, 2007 6:44 am

    Fire Emblem actually uses no motions controls at all. At least the Japanese version didn’t. It was playable either with the wiimote on its side, with classic controller, or with the gamecube control.

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