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We Have Wasted the Wii

April 4, 2009

EA claims that the Wii Motion Plus is incredibly accurate, so accurate that they’ve had to tone down the controls of the character on screen. Am I the only one who can’t help but ask, why wasn’t this implemented in the original Wii Remote?

Over the last two years, the Wii library has been filled with party games that range in quality from terrible to mediocre and games that ripoff Wii Fit usually with bad results. As for games that more resemble what is on the PS3/360, i.e. third party titles, they range from mediocre to good, and it is only Nintendo’s first party titles that have ended up as masterpieces. It has gotten to the point where there is so much filler in the Wii library that it resembles the days of the Atari 2600/5200, with so little information on the individual titles, that the market has been flooded with shovelware and Gamespot/IGN refuse to review most of what comes out for Nintendo’s little-experimental-console-that-could.

So now the Wii Motion Plus is on the way. It promises true “one to one” movement, meaning whatever you do, your avatar on screen can do. No, for real, in all three dimensions. So theoretically, we could see more than an updated version of the Atari’s lightsaber battling game for the 2600, now named “Clone Wars: Lightsaber Battles.” Hell, maybe we’ll have the best Jedi simulation since “Jedi Outcast.” Will we though? No. “Force Unleashed” could have been that. So then will we see a realstic sword fighting mechanic in the next Zelda? Probably, but I would guess that Zelda will be on the next Nintendo console and not on the Wii. Improved swing mechanics for tennis games? Definitely, if EA has anything to say about it, though hardcore tennis games feel a bit like a niche market if you ask me.  Tighter aiming in first person shooters? Yet to be seen, though it’s possible.

Unfortunately, the Wii has already left its mark as this generation’s base for shovelware. When Nintendo got rid of the Seal of Quality, they got rid of the one thing that separated them from the competition: a strive for quality over quantity. I guess quantity is key this time around. That, however, is not the point. The point is that when we saw the Wii remote for the first time, we thought it would be capable of true 3D movement at launch, and what nintendo delivered boiled down to a mouse in the air, capable of working on only one plane and just barely being able to detect if the infrared sensor was getting closer to the source. That’s not what we wanted, but we accepted the waggle with glee. Now the Wii is about to see a major overhaul in control design, which will hopefully improve such games as “SSX Blur,” which seemed to have been designed with the Wii Motion Plus in mind long before it was announced. But with the first announcement of the next generation of consoles only about a year away (based on 5 year cycles), is the Wii Motion Plus too late to make any difference in the quality of Wii games?

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