Kirby and the failed motion control experiment
A few quick notes:1. After writing about Kirby’s Epic Yarn last week, it struck me that I had neglected to write about the single quality that struck me the most when I started to play the game: for a late-generation first-party game on the console that pioneered motion control, it’s incredible that Kirby’s Epic Yarn uses motion control hardly at all. For the most part, the player uses the Wii Remote turned on its side to resemble an NES controller. On a few levels, you can tilt the controller to tilt Kirby as a spherical yarn tank, or you draw a track on the screen for Kirby as a locomotive, but these are fairly rare exceptions. In light of the rumors of the controller design for Nintendo’s upcoming next-generation console—which would appear to combine the functionality of a standard dual-joystick, multi-button console controller with the potential to act almost as a standalone portable game system—it looks like Nintendo may largely be ceding motion control to the more accurate PlayStation Move, and the more accessible (and downright revolutionary) XBox Kinect. In light of Nintendo’s domination of the portable gaming market, this may be a smart move. Given the increased prevalence of smartphones and tablets as portable game devices, creating a console that in effect bundles a portable game system could create a market for portable game downloads from consumers who would otherwise download an app for their iPhone rather than buy a 3DS.
That is, of course, assuming that people are going to have room in their bag for a console controller with a 6″ screen. (And assuming that there’s any truth to the rumors at all.)
All the same, I was excited when I got the Wii to really explore what I hoped was going to be a totally different way of interacting with console games. I have to admit, that other than Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, I’ve largely been disappointed. How about it, dear readers, are there any really groundbreaking Wii motion-control based games that I need to get my hands on before I write off the Wii Remote as a fascinating experiment that was a clear marketing success, but a failure in terms of changing the way console games are designed and marketed?
2. I discovered as I was digging through the online strategy guide that is keeping me progressing through Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune that the game has 15 chapters instead of 10. So I thought that I was almost halfway through the game last week on the verge of chapter 6, but I’m actually about halfway through the game this week a little bit into chapter 8. My first reaction was disappointment, since I thought I was just going to blaze through the game, but that’s settled a bit, as I’m still making good progress, and more importantly, I’m enjoying myself more. I haven’t hit any sections as hard as that first encounter with the pirates in chapter 4 seemed to be, and I’m not sure whether the fights are easer, or whether I’ve just gotten better. (Probably the former.)
I’m also pretty sure I know what the big twist is going to be, but no spoilers, please!
3. Finally, all but replacing Kirby’s Epic Yarn in my current gameplay rotation is LEGO Harry Potter, which finally came down to $19.99. I had originally been excited by the idea of some cool wand action in the Wii version, but after playing Kirby, I realized that I couldn’t take that for granted, and just sprung for the PS3 version instead. (I’d be interested to know if anyone can report on the Wii version, since I don’t have another $20 to throw away on it. I need to save for Portal 2.)
First impressions are good. Not as great as LEGO Batman, at least at first, but it still has the potential to earn a great deal of affection from me, if for no other reason than that this is the first Lego game I’ve played on the PS3, so it’ll be the first to give me trophies as I obsessively chase after all the characters, bonuses, house crests, etc., etc.
That is, if and when the PlayStation Network ever comes back up.
Gavin Craig is co-editor of The Idler. You can follow him on Twitter at @craiggav.