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December 5, 2006

Wii Thoughts

Filed under Xbox 360

I've owned a PlayStation, PS2 and a Super Nintendo. I did *not* own an Xbox. I *do* own a Xbox 360. I am not partial to any one platform...I just want to have the best gaming platform.

I've played all three "next gen" consoles: Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3, and Nintendo's Wii. I have already written plenty about the 360 (I think it is awesome), so I wanted to post my thoughts on PS3 and Wii.

First up, the Nintendo Wii...

I can't believe the marketing Nintendo has done with the Wii. I have read several times, and had several people regurgitate that the Wii is going to attract a new group to video games: the non-gamer. I've heard people say that older people will gravitate to the Wii because it is not intimidating and it is designed for people that are new to gaming.

Older people are not going to become a large market for the Wii. One of the first things some (all?) Wii games require you to do is to move a pointer to the center of the screen and click a button to calibrate the Wiimote. This requires a bit of hand eye/coordination...something older people will be frustrated with very quickly. I've taught older people to use a mouse, and for someone like that...clicking and pointing at the same time is a game itself...the Wiimote is the enemy for these people.

Then there are kids and a Wii...I wonder how many TV's are going to be damaged by Wiimotes launched by Jr. during boxing. I played with 4 adults and we moved furniture out of the way, and one guy (a Wii owner) still hit the coffee table pretty hard with the Wiimote while doing a golf swing. I can only imagine that the younger the kids, the more collateral damage you should expect from a Wii.

Cost...it seems like everybody thinks the Wii is super-cheap and the Xbox 360 is expensive. But the 360 is only $299 verses $249 for a Wii...a $50 difference.

The commercials make it look like you just grab the Wiimote and you know what to do...swing at golf balls, or punch at a boxer. But knowing exactly what motion the Wii cares about is not obvious and not intuitive. You can (and will) spend a lot of time moving the Wiimote in a special way only to find out the Wii only cares when you start your motion and when you finish, for example.

I said this in a previous comment...the Wiimote reminds me of a slot machine. The first time you use it, you want to pull the lever. But eventually, everybody gets sick of the lever and just presses the "spin" button. I predict the Wiimote will be a fad...I don't expect it to become a new gaming paradigm.

The Wii looks like it has GameCube graphics to me...nothing special. The 360's Kameo looks much better in standard definition than Zelda does.

Next up...I bash the PS3!

Comments (11)


The game industry is too big for any one console to dominate any more. Nintendo seems to have recognized this and changed its strategy from building the next high-horsepower box to trying to keep a grip on their core demographic. The Wii is just a Gamecube with a different controller, but that is all they need for their family oriented gaming base. A Gamecube would suck at running Halo, but what Gamecube owner would want (or be allowed) to? A great deal of the country still hasn't ponied up for HD TVs yet, and the idea of spending that $$ and letting little Timmy tie it up with his "video game" isn't going to fly.

The Wii isn't about advancement, its about keeping that comfort zone that parents can have with their kids owning a game.

If you were a parent, and walked into Best Buy's game department, what demos do you see? I'll bet the fanboys have the Xbox running some FPS, and the Wii is running tennis. What do you think Timmy is getting for Christmas?



I'm pretty sure Nintendo is on the record for saying that Wii won't compete graphically with 360 or PS3...and I'm not even sure it will have even an incremental graphics improvement over Gamecube. Also no DVD playback (to begin with, maybe never outside of Asia).

Graphics don't make games necessarily better - I've seen a lot of polished turds (would you play Daikatana with a DX10 patch?), and I think it is easier to lean towards "different" art direction, a la Zelda: Wind Waker, rather than adding more flash/shiny. Kameo may look better, and may be in HD, but the gameplay is so well thought out in Wind Waker that I don't know of a game that could beat it. I can't comment to Zelda: Twilight Princess.

I think that the "Wii damage" is greatly overreported. Like I said on the phone, I'd like to compare the number of Wii players who haven't damaged things and compare these numbers to the squeaky wheels on these websites. www.next-gen.biz reports about 500k Wiis sold in November. How many wiidamage.com reports? 50? Maybe? Nintendo did announce a probe into the strap, though, so maybe we'll see Strap 2.0.



Oh, snap! I just thought of something else. Wii haters also talk about having to move furniture out of the way, like this is Some Bad Thing.

When we play Dance Dance Revolution we also move furniture, and that is on a PS2!! Oh, the humanity! What if someone's dog walks onto the dance pad while they are chaining together some steps for a combo? What if I'm in socks and I slip off the dance pad and hurt myself? What if I break my coffee table when I fall into it? Maybe I should sue Sony? Maybe I should make the dance pad manufacturer pay for my table?

I can't be held responsible for my actions, can I?

The obvious counter to this is the Wiimote strap breaking, but I've heard a lot of FUD about the Wiimote slipping out of people's sweaty hands since they can't hold on to it.

The wiimote strap breaking isn't FUD, nintendofanboy...Nintendo just announced a recall on all wiimote straps.

I am seeing more and more reports of children hurt while playing or watching a wii session. Responsible parents would not get this instrument of death for their kids. I would not be surprised to hear that a children's safety group put the wii on its list of toys that are too dangerous for kids.

Okay, my eyes finally stopped rolling.

I've never said that I believe that there might not be a problem with the Wiimote strap. There could be a critical manufacturing defect present...so be it.

This is what I have a problem with: so the strap breaks. Let's even say it breaks in the most critical time in your most powerful swing in some game.

From what I've gathered, you still have to hold on to the Wiimote, right? I mean, it does have buttons on it, right?

So that means active restraint is your hand; passive restraint is the strap.

If you hold on to the Wiimote, shouldn't it stay in your hand, regardless of the state of the strap? I mean, is the Wiimote frictionless?

The arguments I've seen so far amount the same thing as going snow skiing and only using the straps on the poles and not the handles.

What's FUD is how pervasive the Wii haters make this problem appear. Nintendo could be doing a recall just to prevent ridiculous litigation.

You played at least three games with at least one other guy, maybe more - how many times did the Wiimote fly out of anybody's hand? How many times did it ruin the TV?

I've talked to a friend that has two kids, a Wii, and a huge TV in a small living room. Guess how many times the Wiimote has flown out of their hands? Exactly zero times.

I'm not really buying it. Maybe the images are actually from fark. That I can buy.

Now for the second point - injuring people.


If some tard is going to get so wrapped up in something that they don't notice someone else walk in, then they have a problem. I love playing games, and I get into them, but come on! Also see DDR comment. Uh oh!

Maybe there should be a recall on refrigerator doors, since it's possible someone could sneak up on you when you're opening it. Or frisbees, since when I'm throwing one, there is a chance that someone could walk into the path of my arm.

Obviously the smart thing to do is cry to the manufacturer instead of looking around, or being careful.

Wii's don't kill TV's...people kill TV's...I understand your point.

However...the Wii has a novel input device. This device is not well understood. You would be a fool to consider this in the same category as a standard console. It is similar, but it has new abilities and issues that people are not yet aware of.

Your sample point says Wii's are completely safe. My sample point says otherwise.

Here is the issue boiled down to the essential facts:

1. People are less aware of their surroundings when playing video games.

2. Wii games require movements not normally associated with video games.

It is *very* easy for me to see how 1 + 2 = damage to pets, children, wives, TV's, lamps, etc.

As for how is it possible to let go a Wiimote...imagine a game that simulates throwing a Frisbee. What is the last thing you do when you throw a Frisbee? You open your hand to let the Frisbee go...I think this can easily happen with a Wiimote. Who throws a Frisbee without letting go? It is not natural...but the Wii is simulating the inital part of the motion, but not the latter part...which can be very confusing for learned behaviors like bowling a bowling ball or throwing a dart.

I am not surprised at all that people are flinging their Wiimotes and neither is Nintendo. Their safety instructions warn people at least four times not to let go of the remote.

Comparing the likelihood of incidents with a Wii to a refrigerator door accident is not even in the same ballpark.

A better comparison is playing wiffle ball in the living room.

If people follow Nintendo's safety procedures, I believe this issue is minimized.

These safety procedures are critical for the Wii, and non-existent for other consoles.

Imagine a game that simulates bowling. What is the last thing you do when you bowl? You open your hand to let the bowling ball go...oh wait - you played that! How many times did you release the Wiimote and it crushed the TV? Or one of the other guys who was there?

I see the Wiimote on the same level as a home exercise video. I have to move my furniture. I'm going to be flailing limbs around. I may get wrapped up in the video, or get exercise tunnel-vision and not notice an animal/baby/person walk in to my exercise space. I hit other person with leg, arm, whatever. Again, I think there is some amount of personal responsibility that is required here. If you have pets/children/etc, you should look out for them. If this means you play when the kids are asleep or not there, well, boo hoo, be responsible.

What data are you using for your sample point? Internets speculation from some websites? At best, those are circumstantial evidence, not proof.

I have yet to see a Wiimote fly out of someone's hands. I'm not saying it's not possible - of course it is. Is it as rampant as wiidamage.com says? I don't think so. My friend Jeff said it didn't happen. You said it didn't happen. Can it happen? Sure. Is every one of those pictures on Wiimote damage websites true? Personally, I don't think so.

Here's my summation of my thoughts on the Wii, which will probably be my last entry. After this, we may just have to agree to disagree:

1. Does Wiimote require new behavior? Yes.
2. Is Wiimote behavior dangerous? Possibly.
3. Can strap break? Of course.
4. Can Wiimote fly out of someone's hand? Of course.
5. Does Wiimote-induced damage happen as often as websites speculate? I don't see how it could - where are all the Wii returns for being "too dangerous?"

My sample point was playing with 3 other adults, me being the only guy to not own a Wii. We used the strap and moved furniture...but a guy still hit the coffee table really hard with the remote on a golf swing. It was just a case of 4 people moving around and not being aware of the surroundings. There was no damage to the Wiimote, player or furniture, but I could see how it can happen.

I am not saying that this will happen 100% of the time. It is probably a small minority. But it is a real issue that will only grow as more people use the wii.

If I were to have kids, I wouldn't get them a wii...I'd get them a gamecube/360/PlayStation X instead.

You want to give your kids a loaded gun to play with, that is your choice...I'm not doing it.


Looks like Nintendo released a video on the how to use a Wiimote safely. I just wish they would have done it sooner so millions did not have to suffer.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 5, 2006 8:07 PM.

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