Waggle the dog

Could this woeful tale possibly be the best blog entry of all time? It combines so many things I love: Video games, Marillion, and tracking the arc of Sony’s descent. I’m not sure that it would be possible to spin a tale more capable of warming my heart.

I guess it would have been even better a few months ago when poking fun at Sony seemed more like sport and less like bullying, though. If it makes you feel better, I’m okay with picking on Nintendo, too. I’ve even coined a term to describe their current approach to the console market: “Waggling the dog.” That is, the idea that it’s wacky controller schemes rather than elegance of design that will win the day.

I absolutely believe in the grand ambition behind Wii — expanding the console market by reaching out to new audiences, lowering barriers to interface accessibility, etc. — but Wii game design is really getting sidetracked, hung up on the ridiculous notion that a game’s interface has to be unique. Koji Igarashi has taken a lot of flack for his reluctance to develop for Wii due to his assumption that he’d have to tack motion controls onto Castlevania, but it’s easy to see why he’d make that assumption when everyone else, even Nintendo, is doing the same. Super Paper Mario is a good example: An utterly genius game on so many levels, but was it really necessary to add the controller-shaking? I say thee nay.

Come on, everyone, you sorted it out on DS and no one (except Itagaki, apparently) has a problem with not forcing ill-conceived stylus controls into a game. Let’s see the transitive property of common sense in action, here.

Buuuuut anyway, the moral of this story is that I spend more time playing 360 than Wii and PS3 combined these days, which is vaguely alarming to me on some deep, fundamental level. And also you should buy Marillion’s new album when it comes out later this month. No, shut up, they’re really good. Come to think of it, those aren’t really even morals, just petty demands and useless observations. So never mind all around.

14 thoughts on “Waggle the dog

  1. Well, I took your advice and picked up the first two Golgo 13 books, do you regret vouching for them too?

  2. Thanks for linking that article. Even if you don’t like Marillion’s music (which I do), you have love their dedication to doing things their own way. I can’t even imagine what was going through the band members heads as Harrison was spewing his corporate sales pitch all over their stage. I wonder if there’s a video of it…

  3. Ugh, I’d like to pretend Ninja Gaiden DS isn’t happening. I decided to bit my tongue until I saw how it played.

    Then seeing Itagaki play it…let’s move on, please.

    But with Wii–how long until we see games at least consistently look as good as Gamecube? I mean, I could deal with xbox1 level visuals, but we’re not getting anything like that yet.

  4. Cut the guy some slack, Parish. He’s English. Making fun of Sony is only starting to get fun over there… I mean, the damn $600 paperweight only just came out there. The British are just getting their first taste of post-Resistance depression.

  5. The shame is that when it is done right, it seems be ignored. Godfather Blackhand edition is hardly wagle control and works, too bad they did not put the same effort into the rest of the game. The bottom line is that he is right, but ignoring the fact that there are titles doing it right. I hope that devs get their heads on straight and stop being lazy. Now here is one important counter point the Wii’s success came as a surprise to devs and they are rushing games out that do not have any thought beyond hey they will wiggle the controller instead of pushing a button. Oddly enough EA has put out better controll schemes then most, I enjoyed, SSX Blur (yes I can Uber), Godfather and NFL 07, hopefully more studios take a cue from them (somthing I never thought I would say)

  6. Well, Marble Mania demonstrates that developers are starting to seriously develop for the Wii with the system’s functions in mind. I get the impression that a lot of early releases have been glorified tech demos shanghaied into minigame collections as companies realized they’d spent thousands of dollars on developing various ways means of control.

    On the bright side, by it’s second or third generation of third party games the Wii should have a robust library of titles which utilize the controls in unique ways. Splinter Cell lockpicking with the Wiimote and Nunchuk, anyone?

  7. So what’cha been playing? I’m restarting Crackdown in co-op with a friend on highest difficulty.

  8. I was going to comment on how Marillion reminded me of The Silmarillion, then I decided to look them up on Wikipedia instead. Lo and behold, their name actually came from Silmarillion. Then I read the “Citations Needed” tag and remembered it’s Wikipedia, so maybe not!
    I’m going to give them a listen later on anyway.

  9. Ah, Mr. Biffo, one of the legends of UK video game journalism- glad to see him linked here! Moc-moc-a-moc!

  10. yeah, I always felt that way about the Wii. Just keep it simple. When my sister or a casual player comes by they intially think the Wii is suppose to be virtual reality. So the expecation is “In Zelda, do your actual motion get mimic on the Wii? Do you really pull back on the arrow?” And there is general disapointment at how very simple Zelda is and how long they nurture you into the new gameplay. “Wha? it takes over 30 hours till you actually run into a Iron Kuckle?”
    There was a friend of mine who kept saying “I want Wii Street Fighter to be like real fireballs. And you put the wii onto your feet and then jump kick.” Their expectation level is just so crazy that it’s quite easy for them to be disappointed.
    It’s strange since these are the people who spend well over 5 hours on Snake on there cell phone.

  11. The irony here, of course, is that Castlevania on the Wii would probably work rather well. The Wiimote probably makes for a good whip handle, as long as the whole thing is done in real-time.

Comments are closed.