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Slate Pans the Wii, Slate Loves the Wii 161

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from the oh-you-mixed-up-online-mag-you dept.
thatguywhoiam writes "Slate's Eric Sofke takes a few considered shots at Nintendo's latest console. He claims the Wii Remote has major accuracy problems, which are compensated for by too-easy games. Meanwhile, just next door, Chris Suellentrop says the Wii is even better than the PS3. Check out both sides of the issue." From the Sofke article: "The new Nintendo's flaws make me question who the Wii's audience will be. Kids don't want embarrassingly easy games. Casual gamers of any age will bail out the first time their crosshairs go AWOL. And hardcore gamers like me aren't going to bother with a magic wand that makes us less efficient at killing aliens. For a console that wants to start a revolution, making users doubt their reflexes is a serious design flaw."
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Slate Pans the Wii, Slate Loves the Wii

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  • To Be Blunt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:13PM (#16940456)
    To be completely blunt, most of the control problems I have seen people have with the Wii have been problems with the user, not the interface. Much like the analogue stick (or the keyboard mouse before that) it will take a little time to get used to the input device.

    I remember (back in the day) watching people flail around in Goldeneye or crash in Mario Kart simply by making too large of a gesture on the analogue stick; after you had a few games under your belt these problems went away. The Wii is fantastic, but it is a new way to control games; an input method that you don't have 20 years of experience using.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:17PM (#16940516)
      To be completely blunt, most of the control problems I have seen people have with the Wii have been problems with the user, not the interface.

      Spoken like a true Linux-developer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GeckoX (259575)
        OK, I'll bite, coward.

        This isn't a new way of doing the same thing. This isn't a redesign of a standard input field. This isn't a new fancier mouse.

        This is a new controller. There is no parallel for 99% of the people out there that will try it.

        A parallel would be to expect a 16 year old that has only ever seen cars in pictures to be able to hop in a car and drive it off the lot with zero issues the first time through.

        And you've got your meme wrong anyways. MS is the one we typically flog for trying to foist
        • MS is the one I typically flog for trying to foist the wrong way to do things on their users. GVIM is the only right way to do things.

          With this new controller I think the idea is that it is meant to be closer to real world interfaces, so it should be easier to pick up. Of course the execution of that idea might have fallen short. I'll find out after I give my girlfriend a Wii for christmas and I get to try it out.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            . . . You better hope she's expecting one, because if she wakes up christmas morning with a wii in her grasp I think you'll have some explaining to do.
      • The only intuitive human interface is the nipple. Everything else is learned, including pen, keyboard, mouse, and gamepad. You just seem to forget the effort that you spent learning them because you learned them before age 12.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by skeib (630324)
      Isn't it also true that one can adjust the sensitivity of the controller? I wonder if this will help with the issues mentioned.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by anotherone (132088)
        The sensitivity option controls how sensitive the remote is to infrared light, not how sensitive it is to motion. I saw several sources get it wrong pre-release.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I agree completely, although besides user error, the setup of your sensor bar and other objects around your system is a factor too, and takes some trial and error. I moved my sensor bar from below my TV to above my TV and found that I had much more success with it, and aiming it felt more natural too (especially when standing). As for other objects, some fairly innocuous things like bright lights or heat source (candles, laptops, etc) between you and the system can cause problems if you accidentally point
      • ...aiming it felt more natural too (especially when standing).

        Aiming is always more natural when standing. In fact, I can't think of a single time I tried to aim while sitting. That's just... weird.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by robi2106 (464558)
          you must not be a redneck hunter then. They all hunt from couches in the back of pickups, dontcha-know.

          jason
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sciros (986030)
      But isn't the whole point that the Wii Remote doesn't have the learning curve that came with a joystick controller? Otherwise how would I convince my non-gamer relatives to pick it up as opposed to my wireless X-Box 360 controller?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        But isn't the whole point that the Wii Remote doesn't have the learning curve that came with a joystick controller? Otherwise how would I convince my non-gamer relatives to pick it up as opposed to my wireless X-Box 360 controller?

        That is the point, but (from what I have seen) it is not the non-gamers that have been having problems with the Wiimote; mostly I have seen hardcore gamers complain that "I used to own people in Halo 2 and I can't (automagically) own people in Red-Steel".
        • Very true. My non gamer wife has been kicking my ass is just about every Wii sport.
          • by BigCheese (47608)
            You too? The first game we played on the Wii was Bowling and she trounced me. I think the Wii controller is more intuitive for non gamers then gamers.
      • by Abreu (173023)
        Ha! I remember the first time I showed my dad an X-Box controller... He was like "but how do you expect to push so many buttons! Do you have to grow extra fingers to play this thing?"

        I think that the wii-mote is something friendlier to people who have never touched a gamepad... In any case they will feel more confortable since it resembles a tv remote, which is an interface that is known by all.
    • I remember (back in the day) watching people flail around in Goldeneye

      I can't even express to you how much fun it was to play Goldeneye with my roommate of the time...he was hopeless with the analog stick, and you would almost always see him staring straight up at the ceiling or straight down at his feet. It helped that he always played as Oddjob, of course.
      • Part of the problem with Goldeneye was that people used the default (1.1/1.3) stick=walk/turn instead of the 1.2/1.4 stick=look control scheme. If you compare it to a PC keyboard/mouse, the 1.2 and 1.4 control schemes were just right. C-buttons were "walk" (WASD on a keyboard), analog stick was "look" (mouselook). The other control schemes were just stupid and wrong. It's worth noting that Turok got it right as well, and many months before Goldeneye was released.
    • A week or so ago, I got to preview the Wii at a Gamestop. The guy in front of me was trying to play excitetruck while holding the remote with the buttons facing him, instead of facing upwards. It was kinda painful to watch, but I didn't want to embarrass him by saying anything.
      • by robi2106 (464558)
        What? A slashdotter with tact and social skills! Unpossible!

        just kidding of course.

        jason
    • by Pluvius (734915)
      To be completely blunt, most of the control problems I have seen people have with the Wii have been problems with the user, not the interface.

      Isn't this the sort of statement that gets Sony in trouble?

      Rob
  • by muel (132794) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:15PM (#16940498)
    "And hardcore gamers like me aren't going to bother with a magic wand that makes us less efficient at killing aliens."

    Is he pointing his remote like a gun and holding it to his eye as if it had crosshairs? Cuz otherwise, I don't get how you could miss anything; it has been pretty much effortless for me to aim and shoot in Rayman Raving Rabbids' gun games, for example. Anybody else having accuracy problems out there?

    I also have trouble with the guy telling everyone what he thinks "mainstream" and "hardcore" people want. If you're gonna review it, tell us what YOU think. Seems a bit more relevant than what you assume grandma will think (unless, of course, you report on what your grandmother's impressions were, which would be much more valid, not to mention a pretty interesting idea).
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Ralph Yarro (704772)
      I don't get how you could miss anything

      Or as the summary puts it "compensated for by too-easy games".

      It almost looks like you agree.
    • by Fozzyuw (950608) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:40PM (#16940944)
      [Slate's Eric Sofke]claims the Wii Remote has major accuracy problems, which are compensated for by too-easy games...And hardcore gamers like me aren't going to bother with a magic wand that makes us less efficient at killing aliens."

      This sounds like a review for Red Steel. The controls are very difficult and even buggy to the point they jump around the screen. On moments of clarity (aka the crosshair not jumping), it was very easy to point it my enemy and headshot them. Due to this technicality, Red Steel feels like it WAS made easy. No matter how many bullets you take, if you hide for 5+ secs without damage, your life will refill to full... at any time. They also make ammo easy to come buy.

      For a console that wants to start a revolution, making users doubt their reflexes is a serious design flaw.

      This console does change a lot. Just because one First Person Shooter game has a lousy control scheme, doesn't mean the whole interface is flawed. In fact, I'm actually surprised the by accuracy of it. On other games, like DBZ and Zelda, they give you cross hairs which can move across the screen effectively and accurately to my movements. Or so it seems.

      The truth is, the system is still too now to judge it's interface on one poorly designed control system on one game. I can tell you, the Wii has really improved the DBZ fighting game experiance compared to the last 2 games and I look forward to what other creative developers come up with! I just hope that all FPS don't suffer the Red Steel issues or maybe Sofke will be right.

      Cheers,
      Fozzy

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Riley Holmes (1017846)
      The Rayman plunger shooting games are perfectly done. They are more accurate than anything else I have played so far - Red Steel, Call of Duty 3. If you play Rayman and Trauma Center, you won't have any gripes about the accuracy of the controller. Those two games are perfectly fine.
    • No kidding. In Zelda, aiming with the remote is pixel-accurate. "Hardcore gamers" like him won't bother with a remote that allows them to efficiently point and aim like a mouse rather than struggle with cumbersome gamepad Z-targeting controls?? What an idiot.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spit (23158)
      He's using a standard logical fallacy: appeal to authority. He is claiming to speak for a majority to make his personal opinion appear authorative, when in reality it is only his view.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anthony Boyd (242971)

      Is he pointing his remote like a gun and holding it to his eye as if it had crosshairs? Cuz otherwise, I don't get how you could miss anything; it has been pretty much effortless for me to aim and shoot in Rayman Raving Rabbids' gun games, for example. Anybody else having accuracy problems out there?

      Yes. I have to aim high to hit things. It turns out there is an obvious explanation -- the Wii remote's signal is captured in relation to the sensor bar, not the TV. Of course the sensor bar is very close to

      • by AvitarX (172628)
        I bet games where accuracy is a requirement (no crosshare) will let you adjust like older light gun games.

        When there is a crosshare it doesn't really matter (as you stated), also where is it supposed to aim from. I don't want it to sight along the "barrel" because I naturaly hold the Wii-Mote slightly up when sitting, and my TV is fairly low. Aiming along the length of the Wii-mote would be awkward at best.
      • by recursiv (324497)
        Think of it like a mouse. You move a mouse to get the same relative movement of the cursor on the screen. You don't actually have to put the mouse on the screen. Similarly, you don't actually point the wiimote at your target. You aim with relative movements. FWIW, I find slingshot aiming in Zelda to be the best projectile aiming system I've ever seen in a console game.
  • by creimer (824291) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:16PM (#16940504) Homepage
    Slashdot Pans The Wii, Slashdot Loves the Wii
  • Scary (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:20PM (#16940588)
    OMG it's like when different people think different things... but on the same site! Whatever happened to good old fashioned values like Groupthink? :(
  • by miyako (632510) <miyako.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:20PM (#16940592) Homepage Journal
    I ran into some accuracy problems for the first maybe 30 minutes when I got my Wii home. If you just take it out of the box and expect it to work with no tuning, you will definitely have problems. Of course, if you RTFM and follow the instructions, things are much better.
    Basically, you have to be really careful about how you position the sensor bar in relation to yourself and the TV. I'm not sure there is much science behind it, but you have to make sure to get the sensor bar centered horizontally and at the front of the TV, but it also needs to be perpendicular to the way that you are aiming the controller. If it's a little angled, then things get a little messed up. The other big thing is that if you have other sources of IR than the sensor bar (like the sun, or anything that is going to reflect the IR from the sensor bar) then you need mess with the sensitivity of the wiimote and possibly cover things up (a lot of people on the gamespot forums recommend covering up any theoretical glass coffee tables that are between you and the system).
    As for games being easier, yeah- some of the games do seem to START OUT easier, they get harder though (you wouldn't realize that if youre a typical sort of reviewer who only plays the first 30 minutes of a game though). You also have to remember that A: Nintendo is trying to rope in people who might have NEVER played a console game before in their ENTIRE LIFE. You have to make games easier for those people. B: Even hardcore gamers have never used something like the wiimote before, so everyone needs some time to get used to it. Look at how easy the first few levels of Super Mario 64 were- nobody was used to fully 3D analog control then either- but the game ramped up in difficulty toward the end.
    I'm no blind nintendo apologist, but the Wii is a really fine system, and it seems like there are a lot of people who are either having legitimate problems with it because it's something new, and need to be set strait, or are just trying to set the console up to look like a failure, since it's doing something new.
    • I didn't put any thought into how I set mine up, and I did no tuning. I just plopped the bar on top of my television and turned on the Wii, and it works fine. The remote is pixel-level accurate and very easy to use. I can't wait to use the new Expert mode of Metroid Prime 3 that supposedly plays like a mouse-and-keyboard FPS. You also haven't lived until you've attacked enemies on horseback in Zelda, aiming AND steering the horse effortlessly at the same time.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by pythian (259677)
      (a lot of people on the gamespot forums recommend covering up any theoretical glass coffee tables that are between you and the system)

      Please Note: This recommendation only applies to THEORETICAL glass coffee tables. Any actual glass coffee tables should be left uncovered.
  • I wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:21PM (#16940614)
    I wonder how many people having problems forgot to calibrate their wands.

    You must A) tell it the proper position of the sensor bar (which should be as close to immediately below the TV, or directly on top of it, as possible, with on top being HIGHLY reccomended by nintendo)

    and B) in most games, actually configure it if it needs accuracy. This usually consists of shrinking an area on the tv until it knows the size of your tv in relation to the sensor bar, but in Red Steel they use a more ingenious method. You're asked to look at things on all corners of the screen as part of the story so its harder to ignore.

    But anyway, I wonder how much is simply calibration problems, or due to it being too far from the bottom of the tv?
    • You must A) tell it the proper position of the sensor bar (which should be as close to immediately below the TV, or directly on top of it, as possible, with on top being HIGHLY reccomended by nintendo)

      I actually found on my 46" HDTV that placing the bar on the bottom was more accurate. Then the bar was on top the pointer was about a half screen height lower than where I was pointing (the Wii settings reflected the position of the sensor bar). When I moved the bar to the base of the TV (along with the settin

  • by Control Group (105494) * on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:24PM (#16940678) Homepage
    While everyone's entitled to his opinion, some opinions are less generally applicable than others, and I suspect that Mr. Sofge's are among the "less" bunch.

    Every time I sighted down the controller at the TV, the crosshairs were off-center

    This presupposes that you should be sighting down the controller to aim the crosshairs, which I contend is not how most people (myself included) will be using it. A light gun, since it mimics the feel of a real gun, should meet this standard. The Wiimote, since it mimics the feel of a laser pointer (roughly, at least), need not. When I point a laser pointer at part of a slide, I don't actually sight down the barrel before pressing the button. I point it at the intended target, turn it on, then adjust the aim appropriately. I'm sure if the laser was significantly off-line, it would be problematic, but as long as it's close, I don't really care. If there's an onscreen pointer, then I don't see this being a problem. It's certainly not going to be less "realistic" or "natural" than moving a mouse - in a plane perpendicular to the viewing plane - to aim a gun, and that's been the standard for FPS-style aiming for a decade and a half.

    During a quest to catch a magical fish, the onscreen directions told me to cast my line by swinging the right controller back, then forward. And when the fish bit, a graphic showed me how to make a reeling motion with the nunchuk. I was annoyed when I couldn't shoot straight, but this was worse. The Wii is T-ball for gamers.

    I hardly think that having games show you the appropriate controls to accomplish in-game tasks is unique to either Zelda or the Wii. While the growth of in-game tutorials might be criticized for leading to a dearth of quality manuals, it's certainly an effective way to learn how to play a game. So it shows you the correct motions to make to do something in the game. How is this any different than a manual showing you which buttons to press to accomplish something in the game? You still have to go and actually do it, after all. Besides which, Zelda as a franchise (recently, anyway) isn't exactly known for being a demanding twitch/precision control style of game. It's a pseudo-RPG in its modern incarnations. A little assist on the dextral mechanics for playing isn't really a bad thing.

    After a few whacks, I realized that the Wii isn't asking me to simulate a realistic swing... [snip] ...compared with the full-body workout of a game like Dance Dance Revolution, you're not getting any kind of exercise at all.

    No kidding. I can virtually guarantee that a console which required a full-body workout to play games would be a dismal failure on the marketplace. It's one thing for DDR, it's another thing for a whole system. The idea behind the Wiimote, in my mind, is that someone can pick it up and play baseball as if he was actually swinging a bat. That's the part that's accessible to everyone who's gone bowling, or played tennis, or baseball, etc. That you don't have to do that doesn't mean the system's a disappointment. In fact, for a lot of people, that's probably an advantage: that means that the novel control scheme won't get in the way of having a good time.

    (And I won't even touch the amount of criticism that Nintendo would draw if their console was completely inaccessible to, say, paraplegics)

    Which is why I could hit one-handed home runs without winding up or following through.

    Strictly speaking, follow through isn't a physical requirement for hitting home runs. Once the ball has left the bat, the bat imparts no more energy to the ball. It could stop the instant it was out of contact with the ball, and the ball would go just as far. Follow through is simply a result of swinging that mass around, and mentally focussing on follow through is what allows the actual impact to be smooth and at peak velocity.

    If you translate this to something the mass of the Wiimote, you've still got exactly as much follow throug
    • All in all, it seems like this reviewer's reasons for disappointment are largely specific to this reviewer.

      True, but that doesn't completely invalidate the review.

      If you're the same type of gamer as the reviewer is, this writeup may very well suggest that playing Wii would to you be a frustrating and disappointing experience. The reader, thus more informed, can make smarter purchase decisions.
  • by PaulMorel (962396) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:24PM (#16940680)

    Admittedly, playing an FPS with the Wiimote takes some getting used to, but once you do, you will never want to go back to dual-analog. I played through CoD3 over the last two days, and it took me a solid 90 minutes to get accustomed to using the Wiimote as is necessary to get through the game. However, once I did, the experience became so much more immersive and satisfying than it would have been otherwise (CoD3 is a pedestrian game saved by a cool control scheme).

    I have played most of the major FPSs ever to come out. From Wolfenstein, Doom, Goldeneye, Half-Life (and mods), Halo, HalfLife2...etc ... On some, I have used a console controller, on others, I have used a PC. IMO, for FPSs, the wiimote is far better than dual-analog, but not quite as good as wasd+mouse.

    Personally, I won't ever go back to using archaic dual analog ... even for Gears of War. In fact, I think that in 4 years, all the next-next gen consoles will be sporting Wiimote-like controls.

    • I can't find the article but /. ran a story about a company hoping to piggyback off Nintendo's idea with RF based gyromotes for the 360, PS3 and even PC.
    • Admittedly, playing an FPS with the Wiimote takes some getting used to, but once you do, you will never want to go back to dual-analog. I played through CoD3 over the last two days, and it took me a solid 90 minutes to get accustomed to using the Wiimote as is necessary to get through the game.

      90 minutes is pretty good, WASD + keyboard took hours and hours to get used to. Using the mouse to look around was such a bizarre concept that when Quake came out you had to hold down a key to look around. It took y

    • IS CoD3 better than red steel? I can't look/turn left in red steel, I can only look/turn right. The guy just jumps around like an idiot when I try to go left. I think it's funny that I get pixel perfect accuracy in zelda, but red steel is impossible to aim for shit.
  • Sofke is an idiot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SageinaRage (966293) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:24PM (#16940684)
    He has no idea how the Wii actually works. He treats it like a light gun, and of course it doesn't work, because that's not what it is. He brags about his 14 hour long Halo tournament, of course he's not going to adjust well to a new scheme, he's as ingrained in the old method as you can be. He gives the system about 10 seconds to impress him, and is disappointed.

    Everyone I know who has used the remote has started off extremely dubious, but eventually been won over, and gotten used to it. It sounds like the Wii just didn't match up to what he wanted, instead of trying out what it was.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    slate is owned by microsoft

    conflict of interest?
  • weird guy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:31PM (#16940820) Homepage Journal
    This is the Wii's biggest letdown--you don't need to stand up, leap around, or otherwise leave the warm embrace of your couch.

    Actually, that's a huge advantage. It's cool that the game allows it (wireless controler) but doesn't enforce it. I would hate to come home after work, exhausted and tired, and have the game console force me to jump around. Sometimes I want to, sometimes I don't - and if the console respects that, bonus points for playing nice with me.
  • by schoolisdeath (864649) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:34PM (#16940864)
    Boy, did they hit the head on the nail:

    He says:
    "I realized that the Wii isn't asking me to simulate a realistic swing. There's no reason to assume a batter's stance, and no reason to bother swinging the controller fast or following through--flicking the controller like a pingpong paddle works just as well. This is the Wii's biggest letdown--you don't need to stand up, leap around, or otherwise leave the warm embrace of your couch. The console senses motion, but compared with the full-body workout of a game like Dance Dance Revolution, you're not getting any kind of exercise at all."

    PA says:
    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/11/13 [penny-arcade.com]

    I say:
    He doesn't appear to understand a certain type of fun that videogames can provide. You _can_ decide to play it like Cartman playing WoW, or you could have fun. Your choice. He chooses to be a f***ing toolbox.

    I'm not a Wii fanboy, but I have to say that article is pretty terrible.
  • Sighting? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interiot (50685) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:36PM (#16940884) Homepage

    "Every time I sighted down the controller at the TV, the crosshairs were off-center."

    The Wii-mote isn't designed for this, period. While there is minimal configuration for the Wii-mote's sensitivity, there is no way to make the Wii-mote's pointer line up pixel-perfectly. The Wii-mote is pretty accurate, but it's more of a relative movement like a mouse. Games aren't designed to require pixel-perfect accuracy. If you needed pixel-perfect accuracy, you'd need a more complicated setup to calibrate for the size of your TV, the orientation of the TV and sensor bar, and to take in account the fact that players will be playing from different angles. It's just not needed.

    • If you wanted Pixel Perfect Accuracy (for a light gun game as an example) it would be pretty easy to calibrate in game. Essentially all it would require would be for a person to shoot at what they thought were the corners of the screen and then at the center (like you used to with certain light gun games); from that information a game should be able to determine the size, shape and placement of your TV compared to the senser bar. It wouldn't be perfect (it would probably screw up if you moved the sensor bar
    • While there is minimal configuration for the Wii-mote's sensitivity, there is no way to make the Wii-mote's pointer line up pixel-perfectly.

      The Wii Remote does not have a viewfinder or targeting reticule built into it. There's therefore not even any suitable reference point for determining of the pointer placement IS pixel-perfect or not.
  • by drhamad (868567) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:41PM (#16940978)
    While the Wiimote is pretty good, game companies need to understand its limitations - and this includes Nintendo. Wii Sports is a lot of fun, because it uses mostly relativistic movements of the controller. By contrast, Super Monkey Balls includes a lot of games that require precision aiming, like a gun. This does NOT work well. It was frustrating. So it depends what you use it for. It's a great controller, great functionality - but its limits need to be understood. Furthermore, I don't want to put as much energy into my game playing as many of the games such as Wii Sports makes you - usually I want to relax. Wii Sports/etc are GREAT fun, but I don't want those most of the time. So I hope that companies realize that that functionality should be supplemental, in most cases, to the game play, and not the be-all end-all of control.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Manitcor (218753)
      I dont have super monkey balls but I have CoD3 and Rayman Raving Rabids and both feature FPS. So far I have had no trouble shooting or targeting. Honestly I think its easier to play FPS with the Wii controllers. I gave up on the Genre long ago because play on consoles sucked with dual analog. Perhaps Super Monkey Balls just implments thhe hardware badly.
      • by bogie (31020) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @08:44PM (#16942866) Journal
        "I dont have super monkey balls "

        Baaawhahahawww

        Sorry.
      • by justchris (802302)
        Actually, the FPS mini-game in Super Monkey Ball is just about the best one in the entire game. SMB comes with 50 mini-games though, and while half of them are stellar, the other half leave a lot to be desired. I think I've played through all 50 now, and some are just flat out unplayable.

        I think they focused too much on including as many mini-games as possible, rather than focusing on perfecting controls for each particular game, and it shows.

        SMB is made by Sega, btw, not Nintendo.

    • What are you talking about, precision aiming is where the WiiMote absolutely shines. I suspect you don't have something set up correcty. Oddly enough the "FPS" mini game in monkey ball features the best FPS control setup I have ever played (on a console). Red Steel, no so much.
    • By contrast, Super Monkey Balls includes a lot of games that require precision aiming, like a gun. This does NOT work well.


      It works beautifully in Twilight Princess.
    • I just played one of the FPS games in Super Monkey Ball, and frankly I was amazed at how natural it felt. Sure, it doesn't beat a mouse, but it's certainly much better than using an analog stick to aim.

      My experience with most Wii games so far is that they can feel very awkward at first -- and if you are an experienced gamer, you may find this frustrating, because you feel like a beginner -- but after 10-20 minutes it feels totally natural.
  • by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles@dan t i a n.org> on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:48PM (#16941068)
    It seems a general consensus is that a well-calibrated wiimote is very accurate as far as the hardware goes, but the first wave of games does not use this accuracy. Instead they all go for a kind of mouse gestures without 1:1 mapping off player movements to in-game movements. Of course this disappoints gamers who already dreamed of "real" sword fighting, golf, or tennis.

    That the first games that are published for the Wii go this route does not surprise me at all though. First of all there is Nintendos initial main focus on casual gamers, which of course makes them emphasize more accessible games. The developers also need to come to grips with the controller, they need to understand a new kind of gameplay, and there also may be some hardware precision issues in the first Wii generation.

    However if the wiimote is capable of precise tracking in principle, and it seems like it, then I am convinced that the second or third wave of games will go into completely new directions, and there will be games that will use precision movements for all kinds of stuff: sports like gold, tennis, or ballsports, sword (or lightsabre) fighting games, and things I am not creative enough to think of.

    I for one cannot wait.
    • by rjung2k (576317)
      "It seems a general consensus is that a well-calibrated wiimote is very accurate as far as the hardware goes, but the first wave of games does not use this accuracy. Instead they all go for a kind of mouse gestures without 1:1 mapping off player movements to in-game movements."

      After playing tennis, baseball, and bowling on Wii Sports, I can say that this statement is incorrect.
      • by Knuckles (8964)
        What part of the statement is incorrect: that "a well-calibrated wiimote is very accurate as far as the hardware goes", or that "they all go for a kind of mouse gestures without 1:1 mapping [of] player movements to in-game movements."?
    • by justchris (802302)
      The Wiimote is capable of amazing precision. The problem is, most human beings aren't capable of fine enough motor control to distinguish a movement of 1/10 of a degree, so developers are trying to find a balance between what people are actually able to do and what is fun in game terms.
      • by Knuckles (8964)
        That's what I meant. And finding that balance is extremely important for the launch games if the Wii shall be successful. But if the Wii selles well and there is demand and interest in, e.g., a sword game with very fine control, I am sure it will be done (if the wiimote precision supports it, which you confirmed.)
  • Trash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AstrumPreliator (708436) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:48PM (#16941072)
    Here is a choice quote from the first paragraph...

    But the Wii, which is being marketed as the ideal system for newbies, made me feel like an incompetent novice. I don't blame myself. The ugly truth is that the Wii's already-legendary motion-detection system doesn't work very well.

    Emphasis mine. That pretty much sums up the article.
    • by macshit (157376)
      Emphasis mine. That pretty much sums up the article.

      Yeah. Sofke sounds like he's got some serious self-image issues -- he's got a lot emotionally invested in being a "733t hardcore gamer" and predictably reacts rather negatively to anything new which puts him on the same level as the unwashed masses.

      Kind of pathetic really...
  • He must be clumsy (Score:2, Informative)

    by Romwell (873455)
    My friend's suitemate got a Wii the day it was out, and I got to play Red Steel and Zelda. It was flawless. I could easily aim wherever I wanted and actually enjoy playing the game. Of course, I'd do it much faster and more precisely with a mouse, but it would be less fun , that's why they don't have mice on arcade machines. Also, last time I tried playing Halo or any other FPS on a PS2 - I couldn't play, because I just couldn't use the controller. For a first-time user, Wiimote is much easier to learn tha
  • by kinglink (195330) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @07:42PM (#16941916)
    Ubisoft sucks.

    Let's start at the begining. Play a nintendo game. Don't want to pay for it? Play Wii Sports. Wii sports is suprisingly spot on with it's controls (Zelda and excite truck is too). So that means the controller is good and the system is amazingly responsive.

    Now let's look at the problem with the controller. Point the controller at the screen, can you hold it there for 3 minutes. I can't either. Know why? Because it's a new system. You're not going to completely master the wii mote in the first minute. It takes a couple hours at least. I'm pretty good with the control now, and I expect to get far better. Try holding up a hand and not moving it for 3 minutes, can't do that either right? Again it takes time and practice with it.

    Now let's look at the games being too "Easy"? They might be simple (though Again zelda is far from simple) but they arn't "Easy". And why is that? Because companies didn't know how far they could push the new control scheme. You could program a Xbox 360 game years before it came out, because of a simple fact. It's the same as a Xbox control scheme with minor changes you tweak when you get the final dev kits.

    As for unresponsive? Out of 4 games (including wii sports) the only unresponsive game was Red Steel, and that was hardly the only problem with that game. There was numerous problems with ubi's launch titles, either being graphically inept (both racing games). Being minigame, with out a real game (rayman) and being Red steel (with a number of problems). So the system sucks right? Well excitetruck showed that the system is more than a little good with racing games, Monkey ball shows we can have full games with mini games, and Call of duty 3 which looks weaker, is said to have the best controls out of all three systems.

    The bottom line is that this is a NEW console, with radically NEW control schemes, just because reviewers have had it a week doesn't mean you'll master it in that time. You should already be better at it, and just like us, developers should be getting better and better at it. Just don't blame Nintendo for Ubi's crappy titles when Nintendo and Activision both prove the Wii is more than capable at holding it's own.
    • by Jarlsberg (643324)

      Now let's look at the problem with the controller. Point the controller at the screen, can you hold it there for 3 minutes. I can't either. Know why? Because it's a new system. You're not going to completely master the wii mote in the first minute. It takes a couple hours at least. I'm pretty good with the control now, and I expect to get far better. Try holding up a hand and not moving it for 3 minutes, can't do that either right? Again it takes time and practice with it.

      Gee, playing games with the Ninte

  • Is in the lack of settings for the Wiimote. Asking whether the sensor bar is above or below the TV is great, but if I have the the intest, let me get in and fine tune the mother fucker: adjust how FAR above the TV it is, and how large the TV is. So far, the horizontal accuracy of the Wiimote is perfect, but the vertical is not very close. It would be nice to be able to tweak it to your perticular game style. I understand that Nintendo is trying to make things simple, but that's what "advanced options" butto
    • by seebs (15766)
      I actually agree with this; I just don't know whether this would require mods to games, or whether the OS would provide improved accuracy to games.

      The existence of games with in-game calibration makes me worry that the new calibration would have to be included in new games, not just provided by the OS.
    • I agree. Before buying, I had assumed the setup would be something like speakers in Windows. That is, you first tell it roughly where your sensor bar is and how big your TV is. Then, it would show you some box where it "thinks" the screen boundaries are, and then you adjust it until it fits your screen.

      But of course, instead, it's just "above or below?". It could just have been to shorten setup time, but not even have that as an "advanced option"? That said, it's still accurate enough not to have major
  • The first titles using the touchpad were a hit and miss situations, the controls even nintendo with its mario 64 port sometimes were out of being playable to a good degree, the situation now is way better, most games are very playable and there are 3-4 standard schemes how the touchpad is utilized. History seems to repeat itself with the wii. It will be interesting to see how the system will be used in the future. If it really is similar to a mouse pointer, adventures and goot strategy titles can arise form
    • The first titles using the touchpad were a hit and miss situations
      Yes. It got better when game developers stopped using the touch screen. Don't get me wrong, I love my DS Lite (and I loved my DS before it) but using the touch screen as an analog joystick was a disaster.
      • Actually it depends... the main problem mario 64 had was simple, the crosshair which was the only trigger of the analog movement, that was too problematic for my taste, newer 3d titles utilize the touchpad way better. It is a matter of getting a hang of it, but I can understand that some people hat the pad in analog games. The formfactor and the weight do not blend in too well with the pad controls, you get cramps very easily. I recently found out that for action games the thumbpad works way better than the
  • Apparently, he "was in love with the Nintendo Wii long before [they'd] ever met" but he then goes on to describe "the remote-shaped controller (aka the Wii Remote)"

    How much of a fan can you be without knowing it's called "Wiimote"? That kind of gaffe makes me question the rest of the article.
  • I've had some games suck and others be very good.

    In Super Monkey Ball, if I'm sitting on my bed near my bedroom TV, it's very hard to control some of the games; the remote sensing tends to be off. If I move to a TV I can be further from, most of them work fine... But whackamole's "move the remote around to move the hammer" doesn't work well at all, with the hammer bouncing all over the screen. On the other hand, disc golf works like a charm at that range.

    In Rayman, the only control problem I've had is tha
  • Honestly at first I was really very bad at using the wiimote. It was shaking all over the place. But ten minutes later it was second nature. It just takes a little experimentation to figure-out not to do stupid things like move your whole arm and hold it out straight in front of you. (Yup that is what I was doing at first.) Also one of my wiimotes was not as good as the others. It would disconnect all the time and it's pointer was very shakey on the screen regardless of what I did. I exchanged it when I not

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