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A space for opinions, why not share yours?
Let me start this post by saying that I don't mean to sound elitist in any way. I am a big gamer and play almost every day (thankfully the other half is quite the gamer as well ), but I don't expect all gamers to have the time/interest to do so.
I am becoming a bit confused by what actually qualifies as a Gamer nowadays. It feels as though the term just gets slapped on anyone who owns a games console. Reading a recent gamespot article titled '84% of children are now gamers' made me wonder how we decide what a 'gamer' is now. I dunno, I guess I get irritated by someone who plays Brain Training on the bus being lumped into the same catagory as those of us who have bested MW2 on Veteran the same way as Picasso would get a bit p**sed by someone doodling stickmen on lined paper being called an artist.
Someone who owns a football is not automatically a footballer, owning a hammer doesnt make you a carpenter, so why does owning a games console make you a gamer? It smacks ever so slightly of the general non-gaming public's view on the hobby in that they're so quick to throw us all into the same pot. With debacles such as the Video Game Bafta's (presented by people who have CLEARLY had very limited experience in games) and so many gaming shows presented by whichever ex porn star is available and knows how to read a cue card, it worries me as to the direction my beloved hobby is taking. Is it only a matter of time before in-depth, deep, artistic games such as Ocarina of Time, Ico, Metal Gear Solid 4, Gears of War and the rest are shunned in favor of quick fix waggle games that developers can churn out in months and tag the word 'Party' onto the title?
It even seems to be affecting our beloved franchises, with games such as Twilight Princess having pointless motion controls takced on purely for the sake of it rather than to add any merit to the gameplay. The sheer fact that the game was released on the GameCube as well as the Wii served as nothing other than proof that the game was fine without Motion Controls.
We gamers have been around the block. We were there when Halo was good, we were there when it sucked, and we were still there when it turned good again. We were there when GTA was top down and had a half hour long soundtrack. We're lvl 80's in full raid armor, we beat Ultima Weapon, we shot people in the finger with the Golden Gun, we unlocked the Star world. I just don't think that's the same as spending a train ride with Professor Layton then chucking your DS back in your bag til next week. I guess it's just because I've been an avid gamer for so long and it gets on my nerves that anybody that can wave a WiiMote is seen as being 'my catagory of person'.
views? Again, sorry if i sound elitist, I'm really not. I love that something I'm passionate about is reaching out to people and becoming less and less of an obscure hobby populated by the overweight, dice rolling minority, I just wish the media could differentiate between a gamer and someone-who-has-played-a-game-at-least-once-in-the-last-6-months.
So it's finally arrived, according to Nintendo. Finally, my Wii is capable of tracking 1:1 movement within a 3D environment, meaning the revolution has finally become a reality. I've been there throughout the history of gaming, a bystander in every revolution. The massive colour pallettes of the SNES, the hyper-realistic 3D environments of the Playstation, the Emotion Engine, Xbox Live. Every time I've stood in the crowd cheering for the next evolution of that little box under my television, happy that we're one step closer to being recognised as more than just a passtime. But not this time.
Consider, if you will, the promises made by Nintendo when the Wii was first announced. A console that gets us up off of the sofa and 'into' the game. A bold move, one that has definitley paid off for them from a sales point of view. The console was set to break the fourth wall, to really have you in the moment, in the game, moving that box and pulling that lever. What we ended up with turned out to be nothing more than a dissapointing set of waggle commands. I was chomping at the bit at the premise of charging in my Link, raising my nunchuck-shield to block an incoming fire arrow and swinging my wiimote low to hack under the shield of the onslaught of moblins. What I ended up doing was giving up on the motion controls in favour of the more traditional button press, not for any other reason than the motion controls added nothing to the gameplay experience. It was, for all intents and purposes, a port of the gamecube version with an added RSI warning. Even my beloved tech-demo-turned-timewaster Wii Sports turned into nothing more than going through the motions. You weren't moving how you wanted to, deciding how you wish to interact with the game, you were merely doing what the game told you to in order to trigger a pre-programmed onscreen response.
Fast Forward two and a half years, and the Wii Motion Plus has hit our shelves. With it comes a new wave of promises, a new set of ambitions and hopes from developers and gamers alike. Finally, the Wii can fulfill all those dreams we had in early December 2006, in those anxious weeks leading up to the final release. Yet, as I hold my ribbed, round-tipped, rubber coated accessory in my hand, waving it furiously at a virtual swordsman, I have to finally admit that the magic has faded. The product I'm experiencing, while an improvement, is still flawed. Adding new hardware at this stage seems like it will only give developers something new to get to grips with, whilst those developing on the 360 and PS3 already have years of experience behind them, knowing exactly what the consoles are capable of and allowing them to squeeze every last drop of juice out of them. Developers so far had barely scratched the surface of what the Wii is capable of when already they're faced with this new 'must have' accessory that is no doubt going to become a mainstay of the Wii arsenal. Save for a few in-house titles backed by Nintendo, I have yet to be thoroughly impressed with a use of the Wiimote, not a good sign for a console nearly 3 years old.
Another point to consider is the sheer cost of it all. If i want to have my 360 capable of 4-player mayhem, capable of playing all games the console has to offer and really enjoying some crazy fun, the price breakdown is as follows:
1x Xbox 360 Premium console £159.99
3x Xbox 360 Wireless Controllers £89.97
Total - £249.69
There are other peripherals, microphones, quiz show buzzers and the such like, but these generally come with the games that require them, and normally enough for maximum players (4 buzzers, 2 microphones etc). I am ommiting games like guitar hero, as these games also generally come with all the peripherals needed to enjoy them. Now lets have a look at the Wii:
1x Wii Console £179.99
3x Wii Remote £89.97
3x Nunchuck Controller £44.97
Already the nunchuck addon (that should, lets face it, be included with the remote as the vast majority of games require it) pushes the price up. But wait, what about games like SSBB, and Virtual Console games? What if you wanted to be able to play all of those without restriction? Also, there is now the Motion Plus to consider...
4x Classic Controller £59.96
4x Wii Motion Plus £79.96
Total - £454.85
So, thanks to all the addons required, the Wii Motion Plus now means if you want to be able to enjoy your Wii as a multiplayer party console, the clear intention of Nintendo, it will cost you the best part of 500 smackers. This is, keep in mind, to enable the console to accept the maximum number of players in all of it's games, again ommiting games such as Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Wii Fit and the such like that come with the required peripherals. The above, as over the top as it may look, is what you will need to avoid the 'you can play next time' scenario that not having the required peripherals creates. You can argue that Wii Sports Resort comes with a Motion Plus adaptor, but what if you don't want Sports Resort? Also, even if you do, the game is a rather lacklustre experience in single player, so you're again stumped with either finding someone else with a copy of the game or shelling out for another addon before the game really becomes what it clearly is, a party game.
These factors, for me, have sealed the downfall of the Wii. Whereas Microsoft is attempting to revolutionise the way we interact yet again with Project Natal, Nintendo seems content to sell us something that they should have provided us with the console two and a half years ago. It seems high time the home console race was cut down to two contenders, allowing Nintendo to focus on the Handheld battle, one they clearly excel at.
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