Can't Wii all just get along? (and a testy TSA tale)

100% Fun. That's right, it's IT Blogwatch, in which the Wii game console stokes amazement ... and resentment. And rubber bands join the parade of banned items at one TSA checkpoint ...

Is the Nintendo Wii gaming console a stroke of brilliance, or an exercise in frustration? Slate can't seem to decide. First up is Chris Suellentrop, who gushes over the Wii's, erm, physical approach to gameplay:

The Wii doesn't have the computing horsepower to provide the dazzling graphics of Sony's PlayStation 3 or Microsoft's Xbox 360. Instead, it has a more impressive piece of technology: its motion-sensitive controller, the Wii Remote. ...Along with the attachable, motion-sensitive Nunchuk, the Wii Remote creates a level of realism that can't be attained through pretty pictures or through giving gamers ever-larger worlds to explore. (Like book reviewers, gamers sometimes confuse sprawl with excellence.)

But Slate's Erik Sofge gets beaten up by the Wii, and is none too happy:

There's a huge crack, though, in this dream of a fully immersive, pick-up-and-play experience. The Wii is not a precise machine. During my first closed-door demo of the new console, I tried out a sci-fi title. I aimed the Wii Remote like a gun at some enemy drones while using the nunchuk's thumbstick to run around. I pointed at an incoming robot. The crosshairs drifted off the screen, and suddenly my perspective changed and I was facing the wall. Now the drones were all over me. I opened fire, but even at point-blank range I could barely hit anything.

Vince Veneziani: Tell it like it is, brother!:

I personally have been saying forever (and by that I mean the past three months) that the Wii is great for the casual gamer who wants cheap thrills for an hour. The graphics are terrible for a lot of games (though some are good, like Madden '07) and that stupid-ass Wiimote shouldn’t be used for every single game. Glad to see that someone else in this industry actually can be critical of a system and its flaws.

Most Searched has it all figured out:

By the sounds of it, unless we're horribly mistaken, Sofage based his opinion on only brief play-throughs, hardly enough time to get an accurate "feel" for the Wii.

If you want to knock the Wii for anything, might we suggest that, yes, the graphics are fairly simple for a "next-gen" system, keeping in mind that we recognize that graphics alone don't make for an enjoyable gaming experience. You also might want to consider that, ever since the Nintendo 64, Nintendo consoles have had pretty poor third-party support after launch. Whether or not that happens with Wii remains to be seen.

The debate brings out an audience that Slate doesn't typically see: Crazed World of Warcraft fans:

Its clear that u are horribly flawed. You have no idea what so ever what u are talking about. Many people all around the world use WOW as a tool to unwind or relax after a hard day of work. And if someone wants to play WOW it is their right. We live in a great place called the USA. So next time u try to insult WOW players take a step back and think about what how much of a dope u sound like.

Another gamer, Anthony, chimes in, via Joystiq:

I love Nintendo faithful. We defend to death our console of choice, even with it's undeniable flaws.

Oh well. I haven't had a chance to play a PS3 yet, but I love my Wii without question.

It does however sound like he played the system for roughly 15 minutes before he wrote that. Because seriously, I just got the Bow in Zelda, and that has got to be the coolest way to aim a "gun" or ranged weapon ever. I'm thinking about running down and picking up Red Steel to give it a try now.


Here's what I want to know: Why is motion-sensing technology the right direction for gaming? Does swinging my arm to hit a ball make the game any more interesting than if I pressed right and then X? Motion-sensing technology, when simplified and used judiciously and for a singular purpose, like in the Dance Dance Revolution series (wisely mentioned in this article), can be liberating and innovative. And you've got to hand it to Nintendo for thinking big (something it seems only Sony has done for the past decade). ...

If that wasn't enough, the Wii can't even play a DVD - something my 3 year old Toshiba notebook can do just fine. Yes, I understand Nintendo is marketing itself as a game-only machine, the antithesis of entertainment-hub monsters like Microsoft and Sony. But the kids who came of age with titan Nintendo have all but deserted the former giant when it comes to home consoles. Technogeeks have grown up, and Nintendo hasn't grown with them.

Zell is one impressed couch potato:

In all honesty, I really don't understand why so many have problems with aiming with the Wii remote. My roommate, who really didn't know what the Wii was until I brought it home, used it efforlessly. I use it effortlessly. In fact, I find I send Wii messages even faster now. If I miss a target with my slingshot in Twilight Princess it's usually because I released B too soon. I forget you have to hold it down while you aim. Aim is just fine.

At first I thought maybe after a couple days of it the novelty of the controller would begin to wear off. It hasn't. Tonight while I was playing Twilight Princess, lying back on the couch, I realized how far apart my hands were and control was still smooth.

RMLReturns: You're missing the big point:

No matter how good it is, the one they release next year will be better and the pattern will continue.

The real question will be do they provide a means of backwards compatability so your previous investment isnt wasted (like Microsoft did with X-Box games being pretty much gone and forgotten when the new 360 came out.

Buffer overflow:

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Previously in IT Blogwatch

And finally... The rubber band man strikes again. Or, why you should never, ever consider bringing a rubber band ball through a TSA checkpoint

Computerworld's Senior Online Projects Editor Ian Lamont compiled IT Blogwatch today. Next Monday (or this Friday, if it's not completely dead in IT land) regular Blogwatcher Richi Jennings will return.


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