Monday, November 27, 2006

Wii Update

I've seen enough videos of controllers slipping out of the hands of insane people, snapping the retaining loop, and flying into walls (or televisions--argh). Clearly, Nintendo underestimated how much people would get into playing these games. So I added a small loop of 30 lb. test fishing line to each controller and that potential disaster no longer exists. Now I don't have to worry about Eli 5.3 and his spectacular gyrations. Or mine.

Wii Sports has been very underrated, I believe. We spend far more time with this game than with anything else, because you can use the real-world movements for the games. And it is ridiculously fun.

Three possibilities come up right away. One, someone could make an absolutely killer golf game, because the sensor's degree of accuracy seems to be very, very high. Two, same thing with boxing. Playing a boxing game where your onscreen character moves its upper body in response to yours is spectacular.

Third, and I think this is just dead-solid obvious, where is Wii Fitness? Has there ever been a more obvious game to develop? And if you don't think moving a controller around can get you in shape, just wait until you get one. The more you get into the game, the harder you work, and if they design the game properly, it would be a blast.

Actually, here's the fourth possibility: a decathlon game. Every event in the decathlon is basically a mini-game, anyway, and it would be a perfect use for the controller. And the decathlon points scoring system for each event would provide an overall structure to the mini-games. That's even an easy Olympics tie-in.

Here's one other thing Nintendo didn't do well: support the aspect ratio of 16:9 sets properly. On my screen, the image doesn't quite extend to fill the full screen (it's about 1/2" inch off). And it varies by game--Super Monkey Ball, for example, is far worse than that. Since many people use mulitple input sources through a switch box to a single output, there should be a screen adjustment option at the console level. As far as I can tell, though, there's not.

I heard some crazy stories about the length of time people were waiting in line to get Wii's this weekend. Four hours, six hours--it's amazing, given how many systems they seem to be shipping.

So we've all flipped over the Wii. Nintendo has huge momentum right now. For them to keep it, they need to make sure that there aren't a long list of games released for the console that are basically shovelware. That's the big risk right now, and if Nintendo doesn't have an effective quality control program, they may still blow it.

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