A How-to on Emulating J2ME games
Wii at $250
I am sure most everyone has heard this by now. Nintendo's announcement that the Wii will at retail and $250 in the US has hit the wires. So you cannot quite get a X360 and a Wii for the same price as a PS3, but it is pretty darn close. Heck at $250 I am definitely going to pick one up. The key to a successful console is to get as many out in the wild as possible. If you are a game developer you want to spend you time ( and money ) making a game for a system that has a lot of owners. There is no reason why a developer should spend $10 million to make a game for system A that has 10 million owners when the developer could make the same game for the same cost for system B with 50 million owners. More owners, more buyers. It is that simple.
What do you think? Can Wii dominate on price alone? More importantly are you going to buy one?
Possible downtime next week ... or ... why XO blows
We've known for a few years that XO will be shutting down the co-location facility MobyGames hosts its servers in. We have been seeing more and more customers leave and the facility change from a manned operation to remote support all harbingers or a doomed colo. Through it all we have been relatively happy. The bandwidth is relatively reliable and the prices are OK. There has been a few mishaps. There were random billing issues. Largely I attribute this to MobyGames being a legacy customer way back from the Concentric days even before MobyGames was born. Even once the power was shut down by accident. We were pretty torqued, but not nearly as torqued as a large online retailer of tickets for live events. They could be considered pretty much an anchor tenant. Something like a Starbucks at a strip mall.
Once they vacated we knew one day we would get a letter and Brian and I would have to pick up and move the physical infrastructure somewhere. Well that day came sometime in March. We were like OK. We shopped around, but XO gave us a good deal. From that point forward it has kind of sucked. While planning the migration XO informed us that the insurance requirements have changed and they will not let us into the facility without proof of insurance. I tell them, "OK. No problem, but it will take a little while for us to get with an insurance broker to get the General Liability or whatever they needed." Yesterday I am told that they will let us move in as long as we promise to meet the insurance requirements later. Great.
MobyGames is headquartered in Chicago. That is where each of us are originally from and where MobyGames was born. Since then I have moved to New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and finally back to New York. Brian lives in Colorado. In order to move the servers and network gear while at the same time maintaining uptime I told XO we will need a week or two to plan and coordinate the move since it is a little more complicated than packing up and moving a few books and a desk lamp. Well today XO told me we have to move by May 31. The facility is being torn down and a new tenant if moving in June 1.
Great so now we are scrambling. We have plane tickets, equipment has been purchased and orders expedited. Brian and I arrive on Monday. We had hoped to use Monday to move in the "swing equipment" and set it up. So that on Tuesday we can cut over with a minimum of interruption of service. Normally the facility has 24/7 access, but you need key cards. XO neglected to send them to us. They very helpfully said we could pick them up on Tuesday. A day too late.
Well I am not overly happy with XO. I guess I should of been more on top of this. Oh well. Hopefully there will be little or no downtime. Of course MobyGames may flat line for a few hours ... or god forbid even longer.
The worst game licenses ever
GameDaily takes a look at some of the worst video games licenses every. For the most part licensed games stink, yet people keep buying them so of course developers keep making them. Heck, 50 Cent: Bulletproof is widely considered a terrible game, but sold over a million copies. Obviously these are the worst of the worst. Is anything ever going to change?
No Dolby Digital for Wii?
IGN is reporting that there will not be Dolby Digital for Wii. The article states that the "special" A/V plug does not have an optical out and hence no Dolby Digital. I may not be a audiophile wiz or anything, but I do remember seeing a coaxial digital connection on the back of my stereo that used plain old copper. IGN further goes on to report that all the Wii games demoed at E3 were only using Dolby Pro Logic II. Having been to E3 a few times myself rarely has any vendor bothered to set up a surround sound system to demo a game. The background noise level is way too high and space is far too much a premium. Is IGN seeing a story that just may not be there? If the Wii doesn't come with even what is standard in this generation is Nintendo taking cost cutting too far?
Wasting time to a whole new level
Someone took the time to create a rather elaborate domino knock down in Oblivion. Better yet they recorded it. Your game playing is getting in the way of my domino knock down. Your domino knock down is getting in the way of my game playing. Finally a solution to that age old problem.
Secret pacts, HDTV and HDMI
Next Generation is reporting that there are secret deal afoot to keep ICT from consumers until the end of the decade. To me this all smacks of incompetence rather than conspiracy. These companies do not have much of a history of cooperation. One of them inevitably will break the deal to grab a little more market share. If consumers are hurt and HDTV penetration remains low it is only due to corporate blundering.
What do you think?
New Nr. 50
LepricahnsGold just made it to the All-Time Top 50 MobyGames Contributors. The great struggle continues!
Video of Wii drum demo from E3
For those of you who couldn't make E3 and for the many who were there, but refused to brave the sometimes 3 hour plus long line, there is a video of a demonstration of some of the interesting capabilities of the Wii controller at Google Video. Drum Hero anyone? Three player Guitar Hero? Guitar, bass AND drums!! We all laughed at the big N, but it does seem pretty interesting to me.
DS Lite in black, in Europe June 23
Looks like Europe will get the DS Lite June 23 and unlike the rest of the world the units will be available in white and black. I got a free copy of Brain Age at the Nintendo keynote at GDC. I ended up giving Brian my copy since I did not yet own a DS and he was dutifully manning our booth and didn't get one. The game was so good I decided at that point I was going to get a DS. Uncharacteristically I decided to wait until the Lite comes out. Is it me or does it seem unfair that only Europe gets the DS Lite in black?
Nintendo DS Lite press release
Surprise of the year
The Washington Post is reporting "shock and anger" over the Columbine Video Game. Wow. Next thing we will read is that the sun will shine and people have to pay taxes. Does anyone else think this "story" is a non issue?
I am a self admitted Guitar Hero addict. Probably the coolest thing I tried at E3 was GH2. Now was it really that good? Or am I just plain hooked? I dunno. I did find out however that there is a totally free PC based rythm based game prject in the works. The website has a cool demo video and say coming soon. I can't wait.
Louisiana House Passes Violent Games Bill
Well they passed it here. We'll have to see if the ESA challenge gets this overturned or not. If not, well people could easily go to the next state over and get a game they want there. Here's the article.
Quick Picks and Last Licks
EA has a lot of really interesting things coming in the next year or so, and I’ll have a full feature on most of the things EA had to offer. Konami had lots going on too with a heavy portable focus including the new Castlevania game and many new types of DDR. Beatmania and a new guitar freaks had a new showing. There were also two coded arms games, a follow up game for the psp that was playable and a video for a forthcoming ps3 game. There were only videos for the Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops PSP game, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and there was absolutely nothing on the new hellboy game other then a blurb and some screenshots in the press booklet. It was actually surprising how few main console games Konami was showing in comparison to the multitude of portable games for both the PSP and DS.
I also got to see Infernal by Metropolis Software. Its a mediocre type 3rd person shooter with a few neat gimmicks in the form of demonic powers you have. It plays like a cross between Resident Evil 4 in terms of camera and control, but also has various supertype powers associated with it that you can use.
I hit Activision too and checked out the Special Effects and Stunts expansion for The Movies. It looks really neat and seems to fix the big problem with only allowing for the preset camera angles by adding a free moving camera. It also adds a multitude of sets, props, and costumes in addition to the free camera and a bunch of new scenes with special effects added in. For fans of the original - it makes a good game even better, but I can’t help but still feeling burned by the initial game not having the free camera.
I also checked out the booth for Supreme Commander and while the scale of the battles and the interaction is neat - I saw nothing of story. This is troubling considering how many other games seem to be able to do both great gameplay and a good story.
Haze was another thing on the show floor I got to checkout and it seems very much in the vein of F.E.A.R. It’s a first person shooter centered around a company that produces all sorts of pharmaceuticals and defense technology who forms a military task force to deal with tricky situations. It was a pleasant surprise considering that prior to the show I hadn’t herd of the game, but it was very cool looking with its use of lighting and the organic feel of the jungle setting. It’s created by Free Radical - the same guys responsible for the Timesplitters games and has a heavy focus on story. The demo I saw went through a sequence that showed how the enemy AI works together and your team squad AI also moves in conjunction. It also will have support for coop so people can jump in as the other members of your team. The very last scene points to a member of your squad murdering a man in cold blood who tries to surrender and makes it seem as if maybe the company you work for has something to cover up. Its coming to the PS3 and 360 and is being positioned for a release next year.
2k's two hat tricks
2k games has some really great stuff coming out. I got to see sneak peaks of both The Darkness from Starbreeze studios and Bioshock! from Irrational Games. The Darkness is shaping up to be an interesting first person shooter that's based off the comic series of the same name. In the game, the character is a mafia hitman who is possessed by this demonic force called ‘the darkness’ after this point he then gets special powers from shadows. This provides the player for an incentive for shooting out the lights. The light then changes dynamically and you get access to a multitude of powers ranging from tentacles that can lift heavy objects like cars then allow you to hurl them at the enemy and a small seeker type shadow creature that was able to go through a ventilation duct and attack a swat team type guy. One thing that caught my eye is that the character uses two pistols, unlike most games where both pistols shoot at the same place on screen, the pistols had two separate laser sights that where a bit of a space apart, a small thing yet cool and I think worthy of note - they said they were placing an emphasis on the use of guns to make the gameplay cool all around so the player would do a bit of everything.
Bioshock! is more or less System Shock but rebuilt as a new intellectual property. Replace scary space ship with crazy ai, mutant monsters, and dead people with crazy 1930ish underwater city (called Rapture) and a mystery as to what happened, different mutant monsters and dead people. Much of the gameplay elements from system shock have returned such as the hacking of security panels and the ability to use vending machines, to the use of audio logs to try and piece together the game’s story. If you’ve played system shock you really have an idea of what to expect and who better then the guys who created system shock 2 to reinvision the same style of game.
If I had to place a finger on the one real impressive part of Bioshock!, it’d have to be the water. The water reflects the world around it, is transparent enough to to see through while refracting the things below it’s surface, and also scatters light as it drips and pours off walls. It even interacts with characters by moving around them and splashing off as it drips onto them, it was really impressive.
So far - so good. Tomorrow I’ll get to see what EA has to offer as well as hopefully more information on what Konami will be bringing to market soon.
I earlier I checked out both Neverwinter Nights 2 and Dead Rising. Neverwinter looks like Obsidian really spent the time and effort to do a D&D game right... but I have to confess that Oblivion has spoiled me. It is a slower type of game whose focus is on party interaction and a sprawling main quest. 2/3s of the game follows a very linear progression and will let you build your character however you want. I was told by one of the game’s testers that the game has a turning point at that 2/3 of the way completion marker that lets you revisit places you have already been to do what you want. It also seems like a lot more attention was paid to the idea of a party system (which is important for a D&D game and is arguably the original’s greatest weakness). It seems pretty exciting.
The best news about neverwinter I think is that they kept a lot of stuff the same, that is to say they aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. They took what bioware gave them and added things on, updated the rule set, and spent time expanding what the game could do. This will get passed onto people in the form of an updated neverwinter toolset with the ability to shape the land however you want.
While Neverwinter is more of a game where you want to consider your actions carefully and the different ways you might approach a situation, Dead Rising is a game about hitting stuff. You play a photojournalist who goes to a mall in a zombie infested area to take pictures and it would appear figure out what is going on.
It doesn't take itself too seriously and really kind of does its own thing by allowing you to pick up things in the gamespace... that is to say, just about anything... potted plants, benches, baseball bats, apples, even a sickle. You can either hit or throw any of those things at your enemies. And those are just some of the items... It really focuses on an interesting type of sandbox because your limited to what appears to be 3 days of real time to do everything you can and make it back to the helipad. Its an interesting mechanic that could pay off in being unique or annoying because you’ll have to start over to do all the cool stuff you want. I’ve never seen so many people laugh at zombies getting destroyed in various ways (My personal favorite was when I hit a zombie in the face with a cream pie. Apparently pie is also a zombie killer.)
E3 Warp Speed Ahead!
So I’ve spent today all over south hall with companies like Ritual, Bethesda, Obsidian, and Namco-Bandai and its been great fun. So far I’ve really only seen a couple arcade units floating around - the main three being a new version of DDR, a new beatmania, and Time Crisis 4. While my feet and rhythm aren’t so good, I do enjoy shooting things - so I took time crisis for a whirl. It doesn't bring anything original to the series, and you can kinda see that its getting tired. Most people will probably end up playing it while waiting for a movie, the bottom line is that its just ‘ok’.
Bethesda had three games they were showing that weren’t out - Star Trek Legacy, Star Trek Tactical Assault, and Pirates of the Caribbean : The Legend of Jack Sparrow. The trek games bode well for the license, but its interesting that for the first time its the interactive entertainment that's driving the franchise and they’re are no Trek movies and no Trek TV series. That being said - All 3 games look like lots of fun. Legacy is pretty early on, but looks like it’ll be a fun space ship combat strategy game. Legacy is being made by Mad Doc software - who is responsible for Star Trek Armada 2 so they’re not new to the license. They’re currently working on getting the captains of the trek series to do their voices for the game and given Bethesda’s relationship with Patrick Stewart on The Elder Scrolls Oblivion - my guess is that he’ll be in it at the very least.
Tactical assault looks like its a bit further on and will be out in september. Anyone who was a fan of the Starfleet Command games that were released that were based on the starfleet battles stuff will be happy to know that Quicksilver, the company who made those games, it developing Tactical Assault. It plays with a lot more of an emphasis on action - but fits well as a hand held game.
Legend of Jack Sparrow made me do somewhat of a double take as I knew the license to the 2nd movie belonged to someone else and that there was a game being made off that. When I asked, it turns out the license is split, Bethesda has the rights to the first movie and the universe - so what they did is build a game that is based off the adventures of Jack Sparrow in between the two movies as well as the first movie (although its worth nothing the events from the first movie are told from his point of view so they’ll have an interesting slant on them. The game is for the PS2 and PC and both versions will have co-op support (one person as Jack and the other as Will). It looks like its shaping up really well and will be out in the next couple months.
I did get a chance also to checkout Dead Rising and Neverwinter Nights 2 and I’ll post my impressions in the next post in a few hours. For now - I’m off to speak with 2k Games. Remember - Post if you want me to take a look at something and I’ll do my best!
Next-gen prices announced..as well as some other things...
At E3 the official PS3 price was announced today. And the analysts were correct, it is will be a doosy. Prepare your wallets for the blow, the official and final price will between $500 and $600, depending on the hard drive size. It is also rumored that the price tag for the Wii will probably be around a much lower $249, though this info could be inaccurate.
As well, the final model has been released for the PS3. It does not look much different form the original. In fact, it has the exact same controller, with the exception of a motion sensor ala Wii. Good job ripping off the competition Sony, now try ripping off the price.
Copyright infringement is the highest form of flattery...
More info: Joystiq Article
The First Day : Part 3
I also was able to slip into the Lucasarts booth for a bit and got to take a look at the new Indiana Jones game for a couple minutes. The demo I saw had Indy punching someone into a car. This simple action was made that much more lifelike with the use of NaturalMotion’s Euphoria. The technology basically combines animation with the physics engine to make for lifelike game world reactions. In the example being used in Indy, the man hit the car, the car crumpled, the windows shattered, the car shook slightly, and he slumped against the side, then got up again. The interactions where all seamless. To prove his point that you would never see the same action twice, he hit the guy against the car again and it did indeed happen differently and this time the man hit the ground and pushed himself up and grabbed the car’s door handle to steady himself. This level of interactivity is in every aspect of the game, from people shifting their weight to shifting bridges to Indy using his whip to trip them. It was quite impressive and I can’t wait to see it inaction more.
After that, I doubled back for my meeting with Warner Bros. Interactive which was interesting and I got to speak with them about Justice League Heroes. Heroes, which is done by Snowblind Studios, the same company responsible for Champions of Norath. But the bigger story was Dirty Harry, which didn’t actually appear in playable form... in fact didn’t really appear in any form. I went to a limited screening of a trailer for the game, which was a pre-rendered video with the in-game assets as a demonstration for what the game should look like. However, I left with an impression of not knowing any idea of what the game would actually play like or even what type of game it would be. You would think that a company would realize that even a little bit of what the game actually looks like would be better then any pre-rendered mockup, but I guess not.
The First Day : Part 2
After my last post - I headed back to the show floor and tried to find a way to kill time before speaking with Warner Bros. Interactive. I made my way back to Midway’s booth to see Lord of the Rings Online : Shadows of Angmar which is also being developed by Turbine - the same company who is doing Dungeons and Dragons Online. It’s a little disconcerting how close D&D online and LoTR online are, but that might not exactly be a bad things considering both seem to be good. There are many differences despite both games having similar mechanics.
LoTR does have one real interesting feature that D&D Online doesn't which comes in the form of battles that happen in the main world. D&D Online is exclusively instanced based combat - you get a quest - you get whisked away to where the quest takes place with your party - you do the quest isolated and you get returned. In LoTR, there are some quests with the same sort of mentality, but there are also quests where the major locations are layered based on your completion of certain quests. You might play a quest where a town comes under attack and half of it is burned to the ground. Every time you go to that town afterwards - the damage will still be done - but you’ll be able to interact with other players normally in the same game space rather then it being an isolated instanced area. They’re still figuring out the specifics - but this means that in addition to other regular instanced quests - they could also do major game world events that involve more then a small party of players.
The First Day... Part 1.
After getting in with flipkin and the rest of the crew - we split up a bit and I tackled a lot of West Hall which is Sony and Nintendo. I got to try both Warhawk and Mobile Suit Gundam. Warhawk plays in a neat fashion with the controller being your pitch and yaw - but I don’t know if its a type of neat that will get me to spend $600. Mobile Suit Gundam was very very raw and didn’t use any of the motion sensing of the controller - the animations were rough and there generally didn’t seem to be much too it, but in their defense they’re less then 20% complete. I’m gonna try to find out if the ps3 and the 360 Gundam game announced a bit back are actually the same game or not, because the 360 one seemed much further along then the ps3 demo. It was ‘neat’ but I wasn’t blown away.
I also had a quick chat with someone over at Turbine’s booth. D&D Online will be getting another free content update soon and will feature additional solo play and a new race playable online, the drow. It seems like D&D might be worth checking on a longer term basis and they also told me that there is a plan for a full retail expansion some time next year.
I decided to head to the South hall to check everything else out, but got sidetracked when I saw midway was having demos of both John Woo’s Stranglehold and Unreal Tournament 2007. While neither game really deals with new original gameplay, I was impressed by Strangleholds attention to the destruction of the environment. If it plays as good as it looks, it should be a fun romp.
On the 360, I got to checkout Crackdown for a bit and Ken Lobb at Microsoft walked me through a bit of it. The game’s visual style is pretty interesting and its fun to play. It has a sort of serious cell shaded style for the characters and a kinda of semi-realistic environment. That combined with a wild sort of sandbox GTA style game makes it kinda neat. Its like Mercenaries in terms of the idea that you can go anywhere and do anything - but this seems much more open in terms of the order you can do the missions.
So far I’ve checked out all sorts of stuff like Chromehounds, Super Robot Taisen, Guitar Hero 2 and I’ve just scratched the surface of south hall. I’ve also got a meeting with Warner Bros. Interactive in about 30 minutes, which I’m looking forward to.
If you’ve got a question about a game or want me to most my impressions of something - post a comment and while I make no promises, I’ll attempt to get you answers and post my impressions.
For the record
The Internet connectivity at the LA convention center has officially gone to ass. In the press room I am getting 3k/s with up to 4% packet loss. I read somewhere a whole write up about the network at the Staples center and how good it supposedly is. The only reason you are reading this post is that I am tapping away on my Treo via Verizon's EVDO network. You do not even know how painful I find it to say anything nice about Verizon.
E3 first impressions
It's May and we are in Los Angeles so it must be E3. We had early access media passes so we got to explore the exhibits for two hours without the rest of the herd. We quickly checked out EA, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. I got my hands on some playable PS3 games. Warhawks is visually impressive, but after playing it for a few minutes I cannot really say if it is a great game or not. The controller had the motion detector doohickey and was working with the game. Is this generation the age of the controller? Force feedback was cool, but this is a whole new dimension. No actual PS3 units. Instead there were racks and racks of what I can only guess were powerful servers running Windows with the Sony SDK on top. Brian and I played some Guitar Hero II for PS2. The new co-op mode is way fun. I played lead and Brian bass. We managed to crank out War Pigs as made famous by Black Sabbath. We also stopped by the Nintendo set up. The line to see and play Wii was well over a hour long. Over an hour long?!?! This was when they were only allowing registered press in. Of course if we had gotten an early start we could of scheduled a guided walkthrough. Why do we always wait to the last minute? There are of course plenty of booth babes around. The ESA has said they were going to crack down on the skimpy outfits. For some reason pretty women in revealing outfits is considered controversial. If the publishers think this sells mores games more power to them. Of course this really torques the video games as art crowd ( of which I consider myself ). We will be posting as the show goes on. Wish you were here.
We've been on the run ... driving in the sun
We're off to sunny Los Angeles for the annual pilgrimage to E3. The whole event is more fun than work, this year even more so than most. I have been unbelievably busy and totally remiss in my duties of setting up meetings to inform and educate people about MobyGames. Luckily, Ron has been working over the exhibitor contact list and has a bunch of walkthroughs and interviews set up. With a relatively open schedule I am looking forward to getting some serious gaming hands on time. I doubt we will see much in the way of Wii or PS3, but one can always hope. The PA guys will be signing junk at the Ubisoft booth and I definitely want say hi. While I do not know Gabe/Mike or Tycho/Jerry personally I do know and quite like Robert Khoo their biz guy. The only other thing on my so called "agenda" is to fight off a hang over at least one morning with one of those bacon wrapped cheese hot dogs the illegal street vendors sell right outside the convention center. How can something that disgusting be so tasty? As always if you are going to be at the Expo definitely drop me a line and say hi. We love meeting fellow MobyGamers. We'll buy you a beer or a coffee and you can tell us all the things we are doing wrong. Who knows? If you are really mean to us we may even give you a t-shirt.
State of mobile gaming
We recently added mobile platforms such as J2ME. BREW and Symbian to name a few. Nearly everyone has a cellphone and mobile games may one day have everyone playing. For some reason mobile games have yet to live up to that promise. Ronald Diemicke has written a new featured article on the State of Mobile Gaming.
E3 at home...
Today, Atari announced that Test Drive Unlimited was the next game to receive demo treatment for Microsoft's big push to bring the E3 experience home to everyone. This joins Lost Planet in the grouping of games with demos that we know about during E3. Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter is also supposed to get another co-op campaign during the convention.
This seems like a real good move on Microsoft's part and will make developers more accountable for releasing good games. This just makes me realize how much of an important innovation Live actually is to the 360 and really puts pressure on Nintendo and Sony to really have their act together with their network infrastructures. Does anyone think that Sony or Nintendo could survive without some sort of Live-esq service for their new systems?
Macintosh format growing nicely
In just a few weeks the database now features over 400 Macintosh games. This fast contribution of new items is a testament to the hard work and enthusiasm of many MobyGames contributors. The second phase is to start expanding these parts of the entries to include Mac-specific items such as screenshots, reviews and trivia. If you spot anything such as covers or credits which have Mac references which are not identified to the machine, submit a correction detailing this - there are legacy issues from the one-platform days regarding the Mac.
ESRB says 'gates to oblivion' are rated M, not T.
According to Gamedaily, the ESRB has changed the rating for The Elder Scrolls 4 : Oblivion from Teen to Mature. This is mainly focused around the ability to mod the PC version so that the women in the game appear topless and "more detailed depictions of blood and gore than were considered in the original rating". This is starting a disturbing trend if you ask me... is the ESRB going to start rating games on the potential of modders to introduce questionable content into a game? By that logic The Sims 2 should get a M rating because you can mod the people into being nude and remove the pixilation boxes. Is this going a bit too far or is the ESRB just being prudent to avoid the government stepping in? Also, could this drive publishers to push developers into locking their content and not releasing mod tools so that people can't create questionable content so they don't receive a higher rating? Time will tell...
Activision new home for Bond.
According to Activision's press release, Activision now is the new home for the license to kill. I remember booting up Goldeneye for the first time back when Rare had it and then the disappointment when EA got it and all the games that followed as EA searched high and low for a way to duplicate the magic. Maybe Activision can recapture it. I guess it all depends on who ends up developing it and what angle they take with it...
Sega announced a couple days ago that there would be sequel to the 360 title ‘Full Auto’. The big news that the sequel, Full Auto 2: Battlelines, wouldn’t be on the 360, but instead would be PS3 exclusive. Now, today Voodoo Extreme released screenshots for the sequel and all I can wonder is ‘why change platforms?’
Ninten-do and Ninten-don't
Many interesting chats come up about gaming when that’s what you eat, live, breath and sleep. It’s much more fashionable to think about games (especially with E3 on the horizon) then worry about finals. While Sony may be getting ready to bring the pain with the ps3 in terms of power in their hardware, Nintendo’s innovative control system is still a topic of frequent debate among the citizens of my campus.
In theory, the Wii’s controller acts as an extension of your hand into the game world. This makes for many interesting game play scenarios in different games. The topic of Red Steel came up as that’s truly the only formally announced title came up and everyone began to talk about how great the idea of aiming with your hand was.
This prompted me to stop and think about this. If the main body of the controller is your hand… and the nunchuku is your ability to strafe and move forward and backward, then how do you turn? If you aiming control doubles as your look control, your control might be awkward.
But if the nunchuku is turning and moving forward and backward, then pc gamers will balk at the lack of strafing ability… Striking the right balance of control is going to be clutch for Nintendo even more so then just about any other aspect of their games on the wii because (and this even true on current gen systems and other next gen systems) bad controls kills good games. And on the wii, with even more power to give a greater level of control and more creativity is the bigger chance at people putting out games that have terrible control and therefore aren’t any fun to play.
Hopefully this E3 will clear up some of these questions (especially the Red Steel control questions), but Nintendo is going to have to do an awful lot to sell people on this controller (IE figure out a way to get people to actually try it) to really have a shot at coming out of this system war ahead, but if they pull it off, it’ll be in a big way.
Apr 29, 2006