Home > Rants, Video Games > Why Motion Gaming Needs to Die

Why Motion Gaming Needs to Die

We’ve all felt the magic when we first swung a Wiimote and bowled strikes repeatedly. Or when we played a tennis match to the likes of Roger Federer in our very own living room. At the time, casual and hardcore gamers rejoiced. That was in November of 2006, Playstation Move and Microsoft’s Kinect have since then arrived on the scene. So what is the post-mortem on this motion-based gaming trend?

Need some adjectives? Garbage. Lacking. Awful. Dreadful. Rubbish.

There’s plenty of talented developers out there with ambitious concepts, so why hasn’t there been a “must-have” killer app for any motion platform? It is because these concepts are JUST that; IDEAS! Ideas that may look or sound amazing on paper but end up being poorly implemented and turning out to be a clusterfuck in terms of functionality.

The initial wow factor goes out the window when you and your buddies end up playing Wii Bowling SITTING DOWN and simply curling the controller. This completely defeats the purpose of a “motion controller” when all I end up doing is sitting down and shaking a piece of plastic. It distances me from any notion of me being immersed in a game. I end up feeling like a grown man playing with a baby’s rattle toy.

(The only good motion gaming has done.)

Okay, perhaps I’m picking fights with the Wii’s casual game library a little much. So lets move on to first-person shooters. Hm… I’m out of ammo and I have to reload my gun because these Nazis, terrorists, space aliens, and/or zombies aren’t going to kill themselves. Time to shake the controller! Oh wow… my reticle moved off screen. Now I’m being horribly mauled, shot,
and raped. Yes, raped.

Even the genre of fighting games have been plagued by sloppy control schemes. Super Smash Brothers Brawl allowed you to use the Wiimote and nunchuck attachment. But… who cares? Legions of Smash Bros. enthusiasts picked themselves up off the floor after bellowing out in collective laughter and dusted off their GameCube controllers. Capcom had the right idea when they released Tatsunoko vs. Capcom by completely abandoning any form of movement. Give me d-pad/thumbstick (mouse & keyboard?) or give me death! Literally, this holds true in the world of gaming.

(Fuck’s sake… just give me these.)

I’m aware I’m picking on the Wii a lot, but Sony and Microsoft aren’t exactly out of the woods either. They have recently joined the foray of motion gaming in their own way. Sony’s Move controller is pretty much identical to the Wii’s controller. Of course there are technical differences like having 1:1 motion out of the box as oppose to buying a separate attachment. The Playstation Move’s design seems like it hasn’t even made it out of the prototype stages as it sports an odd anal-probe like glowing sphere at the tip of the controller. The collection of games supported thus far by Move is pretty weak too. It has the same cookie-cutter release titles that involve bowling, golf, tennis, and boxing. Except this boxing title features Danny Trejo! Right…

Microsoft’s Kinect is perhaps the only one able to distance itself from it’s ugly motion-related cousins. It has a specially designed wide-angle camera that features voice commands, gesture-based menu navigation, as well as the obligatory 1:1 motion capture technology. No controller involved at all. Although, the 360’s add-on is still cluttered with the usual assortment of sports games and faceless mini-game collections. It does, however, encourage (see: force) you to stand up and actually interact with games. Again the ideas are there, but it still doesn’t rescue it from the pitfalls of dancing games and virtual workout regimens. The Kinect’s only redeeming attribute thus far is navigating the dashboard menu and your Netflix que with hand gestures, even then it’s not as responsive as I don’t know… the d-pad. The d-pad allows for instant gratification. Swatting invisible flies to watch your movies does not.

My argument against motion based-gaming isn’t simply about the controls themselves; but what it does FOR or TO the gaming industry. I understand Sony’s and Microsoft’s need to follow Nintendo down their rabbit hole and cash in on the Japanese game maker’s 2006 gold rush. In a business sense, they want a piece of a very profitable pie; I understand that. However, it has been a good four years since the Wii emerged and I don’t think Nintendo themselves understand where motion gaming headed. The very people that have sparked this wildfire of a fad can’t even grasp what to do with it. They’re seemingly without direction.

The only upside is that it allows video games to be much more accessible to the consumer that doesn’t normally play games. Lets face it, this stuff sells. Undeniably. But as a hardcore gamer and not “Joe Schmo” consumer its hard not to get jaded. I’m tired of walking through a store and just navigating past a wall of shovelware and crappy plastic attachments. It’s all the same mini-game compilation, dancing, workout, arm-flailing, on-rails point & shoot software excrement. Just wall-to-wall of nothing but bullshit. It flusters the nerd within me.

(Remember this? Yeah….)

To be fair, Sony and Microsoft are new to the team and for obvious reasons they’re benefiting from beginner’s luck this holiday season . However, in 2011 they’ll be up to bat. Like any good baseball player they have to stew a bit and their true value will only reveal itself in time. Will the Move or Kinect end up being MVPs? Or are they just another washed up investment?

  1. December 9, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Love it. I am also a very strong anti-motion control advocate. I understand your pain completely.

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