With the emergence of the Nintendo Wii as the most popular console this generation its clear that motion controllers are the new fad in the industry. Personally I'm just not a fan...at all. Now admittedly this could be due to flat out bias. I've watched the Nintendo Juggernaut trample all over the Playstation 3 this generation and it's left a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth. This blog however, is not circling out the Nintendo Wii, I'm talking about the future of all motion controls.
I can honestly say I have never had fun with motion controllers. The motions are still too far removed from what's happening on screen, and it leads me to frustration, before it takes me to fun. Maybe it's the cynicism in me, maybe it's the traditionalist, but give me a controller any day.
The good thing about controllers is that they represent abstract idea's. X is Jump, A is attack etc...This means you react to the character, you know when a enemy blocks your attack. Essentially you are limited to what you are looking at on the screen, you don't have your own ideas on how you want to the player to move, you push a button and a reaction occurs.
I SAID BLOCK!!!!
The main thing that makes motion controllers frustrating is the fact that when I'm playing a game like Boxing, when I want to punch, it does nothing, and when I want to block, it punches and so on...The whole time I'm holding the motion controller I keep thinking "man it would just be easier if I had a controller in my hands", then I think "if I did, this game would be stupidly easy", which leads me to the next thought of, "motion games are always gonna be watered down cause you're operating with a useless control system".
I have recently been watching the PS Move release media and it highlighted one inherent flaw in motion controls, the fact that you can't truly interact with something. For instance, in a sword fighting game if you clash with a shield there is no resistance, or nothing stopping you from swinging straight through. In this case, the animation will show your sword bounce off the shield, which onscreen, leaves the sword in the air, while you as the player are still striking downward. This essentially makes one-to-one tracking virtually impossible for any two-way games, cause it's not like you can make the character swing straight through a shield, that's just dumb. This disconnect makes a two-way relationship almost impossible with motion controls.
For games that are one sided, motion controls are perfect though. Bowling great, archery excellent, even table tennis is good cause essentially the computer just acts as a wall that misses every now and again. Ironically though, this means we are limited to games that are one-sided with a controller that is meant to increase interactivity.
I know this is an awfully cynical viewpoint but I just can't get my mind to accept this as a viable game controller. If these games had one-to-one tracking (which I've already given my reasons why I think this isn't possible) I'm sure the games would be awesome...but I can't see this becoming a reality.
On the other side of this, I do have a history of being fairly short sighted with my thoughts, maybe as more game developers start working with these controllers they will devise ways to use these control methods effectively. My opinion is based on what I know and what I can imagine. Thing is, game developers have an imagination far greater then mine, experience in creating engaging games and technical knowledge beyond what I could hope to have. In essence, it is probably my ignorance that has led to my (possibly) misguided doubt of the motion controllers.
Motion controllers look to play a large part in the future of the video game industry, so like it or lump it, I'm just gonna have to deal. I would like to think that motion based games are gonna get to a level that becomes genuinely enjoyable for me, but if Nintendo (probably the most creative of the big three) haven't managed it in three years I doubt it's gonna happen anytime soon. To be honest, Move is probably gonna be a first day purchase for me, more for my addiction to novel peripherals then anything else...I just hope I enjoy it when I do get it...
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