Life for the Future of the Waggle: The Glorious “What If?”s

This is part 3 of a 3-part discussion of  the past, present, and future of Motion Controls in the game industry. We’d suggest you begin reading with part 1. Then again, we know different folks have different strokes.

Part 1 – Life at the Dawn of the Waggle

Part 2 – Life at the Descent of the Waggle

*In this article, Ethos writes the first half and Riddles writes the second half. Try not to get too confused. We have faith in you.*

This works better than Wii. But does that mean anything?

Ethos:
Luckily, I don’t have really embarrassing quotes to support this article, because now it’s time to take a look into waggle’s future. Or, hopefully a future when we don’t have to use the term “waggle”.

Like Riddles pointed out, because of all our hardcore gamer hatred toward what motion controls have come to represent – casual gamers, shitty software, broken promises – we’ve forgotten that they’re not necessarily the enemy.

Tossing away all of the stigma, integrated motion controls are actually intriguing to me. If I’m playing Forza 4 and look to the right, I think it would be intuitive and immersive for the camera to subtly shift to the right as well, allowing me to take a better look at my rear view mirror or the track ahead.

In Sony’s Sports Champions, the Playstation Move acts as a sword in of the mini games. While it gets old as a stand-alone, the accuracy is satisfying, especially in contrast to the Wii. It makes me remember the days when people would get excited for lightsaber and Zelda games for the realistic swordplay.

Of course, this brings up the other topic of turning gaming into a standing exercise activity, which I absolutely do not want as a whole. But as I was touching on earlier, I think a healthy integration would be ideal. And – hopefully – possible.

Look at our constant example of Nintendo. While games like Super Mario Galaxy have tacked on waggle for a spin move, Riddles brought up the example of Kirby. And he’s right, there are tasteful motion additions that work and couldn’t really be done in another way. This was also the case in parts of New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

So does this mean that the gaming community has finally reeled in enough casual gamers to start turning them hardcore? Is Nintendo’s release schedule an indication of this already? Or is Kinectimals a giant enough step in the wrong direction to dash any hopes of a happy compromise? Does Sony already have the perfect compromise? I’ll brush off the responsibility here and let Riddles answer these questions.

I *could* puke.

I *could* puke.

Riddles:

Of course I’m left with all the difficult shit. Regardless, I’m more than happy to answer the above questions – to the best of my abilities.

Nintendo may be doing a bit of an about-face right now, who knows. Frankly, I doubt it, because if Nintendo’s made anything clear in the past, it’s that they’re going to do whatever the fuck they want. So if they are, in fact, making a shift back towards a more core experience on the Wii it’s because… they want to. Not because we bitched. And I honestly don’t really see why they’d want to. They have an endless, endless supply of suckers to sell their crap to. The suckers, as it were, have been far kinder to them than we ever were. (If kindness is measured by dollars, that is.)

And yes, Kinectimals is enough of a step in the wrong direction to dash any hopes we may have at the moment. Hell, the Kinect in and of itself is essentially all the shitty aspects of the Wii on crack. The Wii took motion control technology and placed it on a pedestal that it never should have sat on. Now, Microsoft has taken that pedestal, attached a phallic device to it, and are currently in the process of deepthroating their brains out.

Here’s the thing: as long as motion controls are considered a selling point, we aren’t going to see many examples of tasteful integration. As long as we’re all still stupid enough to eat up the flashy ad campaigns that show happy families flailing their bodies about, then we’re going to continue to see companies churning out the Kinectimals and the Wii Fits and what have you.

Taking motion control technology, packaging it up with cute names like Kinect, and selling it as a separate experience from traditional gaming is *not* the way forward. If the industry can ever get over the fact that OMG YOU CAN MOVE AND STUFF ONSCREEN MOVES OMG then we can start talking.

Then, and only then, we can begin to figure out  how we can fit motion controls into the gaming experience; instead of how we can fit the videogame experience into motion controls.

You wanna know what I think? Sony had it right with the Sixaxis.

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5 Responses to “Life for the Future of the Waggle: The Glorious “What If?”s”

  1. SiliconNooB says:

    Oliver makes a good point, motion controls can never be a force for good until the casuals grow tired of consoles. We should all hope that Farmville develops a tactile anal bead peripheral or something, and all the morons with their short attention spans just forget about consoles.

    The biggest hurdle preventing the Wii from ever having a large number of high quality motion control core games, is that the Wiimote doesn’t work anywhere near as well as it should. The biggest hurdle preventing the PS3 and 360 from ever having a large number of high quality motion control core games, is because of Move and Kinect’s status as peripherals, core gamers aren’t going to buy them, and so there is not much incentive for the developers to waste their time incorporating the technology into their games …. maybe next console generation?

  2. Riddles says:

    Exactly.

    And that’s why the Move and Kinect reek of cash-in. The core gamers are (largely) satisfied with the experience we have now; we don’t feel a need to go out and buy the thing. If Sony doesn’t know that, Microsoft certainly does – games like Kinectimals are proof enough that they’re after the exact same crowd that made the Wii so popular.

    We can only hope that the next console generation sees a proper incorporation of the technologies; if it’s the fate of motion controls to ever be marketed as peripherals, then we’re probably doomed.

  3. SiliconNooB says:

    “then we’re probably doomed.”

    I don’t really view the situation in those terms. More like motion games are doomed to casual fodder so long as they remain peripherals. I’m happy with my conventional games, and they’re in no danger of going over to the darkside. The thing about Wii waggle games is they don’t generally sell that well, there are a few games at any given time that sells phenomenally well while the rest of the market is fairly soft, the Wii attach rate is abysmal, this is why Nintendo have done an about face on their core game priorities …

    I would be perfectly happy for motion controls to never be incorporated into core games, but if they are then it will probably mean that most of the gremlins have been ironed out of the implementation, because we’re a pretty conservative bunch.

  4. 7thCircle says:

    It’s been 4 years. We need to get over ourselves. We aren’t the target audience for motion controls, we were never planned to be, and we need to stop whining about it every day. Consoles are traditionally targetted at families and that’s where they get the most money. PC gaming was more for the adult audience. As core gaming shifted from PCs to consoles in the 90s, core gamers eventually decided console companies should only be making games for them. Like Nintendo and Microsoft and Sony should cater to the 1% of the population that consists of real gamers and never cater to the 50% of the population that’s part of a family with some kids.

    As pitiful as the Wii’s lineup has been, at least Nintendo made more AAA titles for it than they did the Gamecube. As far as 1st party software goes, the Wii is the best Nintendo has done in a long time. And it’s not like 3rd party developers died. They just made games for other systems. If you bought a Wii because you thought games like Final Fantasy and Assassin’s Creed would come out on it and have amazing motion controls, then your understanding of Nintendo is vastly different than mine and you deserve to be disappointed.

    Casual gaming on consoles can’t go away – it’s about the only way hardware makers can turn a large profit. We all agree that quality games for core gamers are coming out faster than we can play them, so let the moms and kids have their goofy, lame waggle games. I don’t want to stand up while I play. I don’t like the Wii’s inaccurate take on motion controls or the fact that I have to move my arms while I play. I want to sit on my lazy ass and enjoy a game while moving as little as possible, using a controller with 11 buttons and 3 pads/sticks. My kiddie cousins don’t whine to me about how scary the 360 controller is and that it isn’t fair that a casual-friendly version of Fallout 3 wasn’t released on the Wii. Likewise, it doesn’t piss me off that they happily play shitty casual Wii games with their friends when they have slumber parties. I’m happy. They’re happy. Let’s all just be happy and not try to steal each other’s cake.

  5. 7thCircle says:

    Oh, and that was a stock rant that’s been boiling in my head for a while. The 2nd person isn’t directed specifically at poor Ethan and Riddles. I’m cranky during a stressful work Sunday so I’m not sure how clear that is. <3

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