Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Monthly Hate - motion controls.

Things I don't understand and/or appreciate are terrible!

Motion controls fucking suck. I've put hours into my Wii. I've tried to dig on it - and some games really are best controlled with the Wiimote. Specifically, Dead Space Extraction. The rest? Mario Galaxy and Zelda: Twilight Princess and even the finishing moves in No More Heroes? Eff that. It's needlessly complicated.

What it comes down to is a gimmick. That's it. I used to think folks who called the Wii's control method gimmicky were just trying to tear down Nintendo's phenomenally successful console, but here's the thing - they were right.

Y'know what purpose the waggle serves? When someone walks by a person playing a Wii, and they've never seen the Wii, they have to ask "what the hell is this?" No one's going to ask that about the PS3 or 360. Motion control is new and different and that is its business brilliance. It is The New Thing - the Thing no one had seen before, and the populous at large just had to get their hands on it. It's the iPhone for your living room; sexy new tech.

But when was the last time your iPhone beat up a child?

Beyond the whole accident-waiting-to-happen thing, motion control has the opposite of its advertised effect: it puts up obstacles between the player and their intention in the game, by changing button commands to the needlessly un-intuitive motion control.

Instead of pressing X instead of Y to do a strategically-placed horizontal slash in a game, now you simply mimic the horizontal slash - but there's a problem, here.

What you think the proper motion input may not be what the game appreciates as such. When you press a button, you know you've pressed the button, the game knows you've pressed the button, and there is no confusion. When the same, simple command is now within the domain of a motion controller, there is a hazy fog between player intention and game recognition.

It doesn't simplify things, it makes it more complicated. It doesn't make controlling games more intuitive and accessible, it adds a fog of war between the player and their game.

I can count the genres on one hand that benefit from motion control:
  • First person shooting.
  • Real time strategy.
  • Rail shooter.
  • Dance games.
  • Bowling/golf/stick-swinging simulator.
Beyond that? Any action game, any fighting game, platformer or RPG would only be damaged by being shoehorned into motion controls.

It's not helping anything. It sucks.

* * *

(It's opening up video games to a much wider audience.)
Ess tee eff you and gee tee eff oh.


  1. There are moments where games utilize motion controls to enhance some facets of the gameplay but there isn't nearly enough stuff like that out there to merit an entire console and now 3 entire branches of gaming for it.

  2. Yep. When it's... pointless fun, I mind it less (the finishers in No More Heroes). When it's something you have to pull off in order to succeed, it's often a tragedy.

  3. The best part of Wii controls and the thing that can't be done on the other systems (as of today) is not the waggle. Not at all. It's the precision pointing. Adventure games, shooters, whatever's happening in Metroid: Other M... I agree that shoehorning motion controls into games just for the fun of it is terrible and often detrimental to gameplay. I mean... the spin-move works in Mario Galaxy, and once you get used to it, it's intuitive and useful as a double-jump or an attack. Is it necessary? No, but it's not a horrible application. But still - the really useful part of Wii controls is the ability to point at the screen. See Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition for a GREAT example of an awesome game (RE4 for the Gamecube) made even better through a new and unique control scheme.

  4. But aiming, RTS control, bowling/stick swinging simulators and dance titles are the only games that benefit from it.

    Anywhere else, it's an unnecessary complication.