Sunday Thoughts: 21/03/10

This isn’t some barbed, vitriolic attack on gaming – it’s clear ITV have got that all sewn up, but I do need to suggest some caution with regards to PlayStation Move.  Much has been said here on TSA about Sony’s new venture – a potent brew of excitement, intrepidation and ignorance – but is motion control really what the PlayStation brand needs just now when it should be focusing on ensuring there’s plenty of AAA, hardcore, attention grabbing titles in the pipeline for us gamers that just like to slum it out on a sofa sometimes with a tin of mass-produced vaguely tasting beer and a frozen pizza?

Gamers are, without wanting to sound like right wing chat show guests, lazy.  I don’t mean we’re all fat slobs that are quite happy wasting away our lives in front of whatever HD junk we’re pushed each week, but after a hard thirty-seven-and-a-half-hours of work each week the last thing we want to do is wave a bloody glow stick around.  Hell, some of us are airport traffic managers, nightclub dancers and lollypop ladies – Move is work.  Of course, I’m sterotyping and pigeonholing, but after a few hours with my newly instated Wii this weekend, I’ve come up with a theory – I like the Wii because of Nintendo, not because of the Remote.

Every since the NES rolled out of Japan I’ve been hooked on Nintendo’s (and in particular, Miyamoto’s) specific breed of videogame.  It’s not the colours, the graphics or the plinky music that accompanies many of my favourite Nintendo titles – although they do add to the experience – it’s the gameplay.  I’m a firm believer of the notion that nobody makes games like Nintendo, and although I’ve lost favour with the developer post Gamecube (sellouts, grr) the Wii (and DS, for that matter) have some stunning games: Mario Kart, Mario Galaxy, Wario Ware, Zelda, you know the ones – the big hitters, the regulars.

The games that work best on the Wii are the ones with the Remote acting like a remote.  Zelda understands this, Mario Galaxy embraces it and Wario Ware, bless it, couldn’t have it any other way (unless it’s sideways, or upside down, but who cares?) And the ones that don’t force motion control are even better: I’m too old (and creaky) to be pretending to be holding a steering wheel when I’m avoiding red Koopa shells and drifting around banana laden ice caps – and Nintendo know this – they let me steer with the Classic controller, 0r a Gamecube controller, so Mario Kart Wii feels like a traditional game.

The examples we’ve seen so far for Move seem to forget all this.  It’s like – oh, shove this in there and make sure the entire thing is Move controlled.  This works fine when you’re pointing, but I don’t want to play Motion Fighters (I live in Glasgow, a real fight’s never far away) or Sports Challenge (see paragraph 2).  Naturally, of course, nobody’s told me that I have to play these titles (yet) but whilst I’m looking forward to using Move as a pointing device (which it does very well, I’m told) the first examples of titles that actually require movement don’t do anything for me.  And don’t get me started on SOCOM.

You know, all this might turn out to be just fine – we’ll see lots of fun little PSN games and some quirky, original stuff from Sony’s first and second parties, but when the shelves start filling up with the kind of shovelware that makes picking out the good stuff on the Wii a desperately difficult task don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Motion control is a brave new world for Sony, but they need to realise that not everyone wants motion with their controller – keep it simple, introduce the games slowly and the adoption might be good, but bombard us with tilting, turning, punching and swinging and I’m sticking to my Dual Shock.