Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
13 May 2006
Will we call Wii's bluff?
That EA Sports apparently has a team in Canada working out how to inteface their port [1] with the Wii controller is, if nothing else, an impressive bit o' marketing. My read is that there's a porting team -- anyone know where the Gamecube's Madden port is being developed? -- whose primary goal beyond that Gamecube port is to add a Wii-controller specific interface.

They're making good [conceptual] progress. To hike, you appearently lift up on the [entire] controller. To throw, you no longer hold a button longer for a bullet pass versus a short tap for a lob. Now how quickly you move your Wii-mote controls the velocity. They're even, if you believe all you read, thinking about using controller movement for jukes, etc.

But I get the feeling that there's going to be an "old-school" controller setup, and there's my concern. Check out the pictures of the controller, below:

Wii Controller from ||
Fake mock-up of even more conventional Wii:

Seems like I read early on that it was Nintendo's intention that you could combine the two "halves" into one, turn it on its side, and essentially have an N64-esque set up. Now capital "A" is almost certainly a different button than "a". You've now got select & start & triggers from the other half of the controller, even a d-pad and joystick. You can now play Madden like you did on the Playstation 1.

If Madden Wii has an old-school controller option that does a decent job providing standard Playstation-style Madden play, I think the Wii might be in trouble. After Nintendo's E3 pitch, why do you buy a Wii if not for the controller? Surely not for the Gamecube 1.5 hardware, right? [2] If gaming houses succumb to the pressure of providing old-style setups, how long until they stop with the Wii-specific action? How long until the Wii really is just Gamecube 1.5, extending the life of the system and developers' interests by a few years rather than for a full console generation? Would Nintendo, whose latest slew of new Game Boy console options has me wondering, even care? Has the "real" Revolution simply been pushed down the pipe a few years? Is the Wii a planned evolution of the Gamecube instead?

Nintendo continues to impress me with its dedication to pushing gaming. I wonder if the gaming public will, contrary to Nintendo's feelings in Time magazine, where they say sometimes you have to push the consumer and not listen to what they request, keep their offering in its 3rd place niche.


Thanks to JohnH and Matt for more Wii controller info (see comments for this post). I suppose you can add "Wii is evolutionary, not Revolutionary," to my list of things I'll be bashing on cg.

Matt's link makes the GC 1.5 connection even more direct:
The classic controller face also has two analog sticks, which are necessary to maintain GameCube compatibility.

This reminds me of my favorite line from the Redskins' description of my ticket explaining why there needs to be a four-foot wide column essentially directly in front of my seat:
[this picture] includes the unavoidable column placement necessary to ensure the structural integrity of FedExField...

Well, keep the column in my eye! I don't need to see half the field if removing it means being responsible for maiming thousands when the stadium caves in! Heaven forbid you redesign the stadium with more smaller, less obtrusive columns or, the horror, not sell these tickets!

The relation? Both are corporations coming up with some sorry excuse for a choice they willingly made. With the 'Skins, it's that you're selling the crappiest of seats for, well, let's say significantly more than $20 a piece, and until this season significantly more than $40. With Nintendo, it's allowing your new console to be a slightly updated version of your existing one by pretending to Revolutionary capibilities and providing developers with a safe out. Both have done a good job. I shelled out to sit behind a post and E3 coverage seems to think the Game Cube 1.5 "won".

Not to spam much more, but this reminds me of things like etched glass in automobiles. It's not harder to steal a car with etched windows, but it is more difficult to sell it. After your gta, do you leave those numbers on each piece of glass, making the boosted car incredibly easy to trace? Or do you replace *every* pane in order to sell it off of an entirely illegitimate market? The etchings make the value of the stolen car lower, and low enough that it deters some from stealing it.

Same deal with Apple's AAC. You can get the DRM out, but it's difficult enough most people won't invest the time or dough to do it. Same with the Game Boy DS. The screen's there, Jack. You can't remove it. You might as well use it. The GBA backwards compat is beautiful. How can anyone play a conventional gba game on the DS and not think, "Why do I have this second screen sitting around?"

The Wii controllers, if there were no easy to find, conventional alternatives, could have acted like etched glass or AAC or the DS. With the Wii's ability to mimic conventional controllers, much less the "classic controllers" Matt points out that are essentially the SNES' crossed with a Playstation's, Nintendo's running the risk of our being sold a lot more, ever so slightly updated, Game Cube games. As JohnH points out, we're going to hear about gestures and innovation, but it appears we're in for the same ole lot o' games.

Boy, that was much too wordy. EDITOR! ;^) Think of this as a rant on a blog (which it is) and not an article (which it ain't).

[1] And "port" Madden Wii is, whether EA admits it or not; they're using Tiburon's standard code to start.
[2] I'm still tempted to buy a Wii as GC 1.5 to get the GC library, old games, and continued Maddens. But that's just me. And I do wonder which series will receive the highest "year" of Madden: PS2 or Wii.


--ruffin at 11:31
Comment [ 4 ]

Comments on this post:

Or people might prefer to use a controller that actually looks a lot like a PlayStation Dual Shock controller:

Sure, they say it's for the virtual console, but why stop there?

By Blogger jvm, at 13 May, 2006 12:20  

1. In fact, Wii is supposed to either include, or I guess have available shortly after launch, a shell for the remote controller that plugs into it, and provides the Gamecube control layout. That we didn't hear about it at E3, and that the Smash Bros. designer suggested players not throw out their Gamecube controllers, suggests that this *may* have been shelved.

2. The thing I'm most worried about concerning the controller is related to the games more than the technology, and is basically everyone's main complaint about the game Red Steel (besides the graphics): in the sword sequences, the pointer doesn't actually control any blades, but instead causes canned moves to occur when the player makes certain "gestures."

That, of course, sucks, and I'm kind of surprised that so many players have caught on to how much sucking it does. We don't want mouse gesture moves in video games! We want the pointer to actually control the sword.

I have a bad feeling that, at launch, 90% of third party games (and maybe even some Nintendo first party ones) will exclusively use gestures and claim "Look: innovation!"

By Blogger JohnH, at 13 May, 2006 13:40  

The gestures thing is essentially what you already have on the Nintendo DS for a game like Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. My rudimentary understanding is that you can use stylus scribbles of certain shapes to cast spells, or the equivalent. In the sense that "cast spell with scribble" is the same as "canned move with wave of Wii remote", there isn't actually a whole lot new with Red Steel's system, right?

By Blogger jvm, at 13 May, 2006 14:29  

What defines a new generation? I've been seeing this "Gamecube 1.5" comment a lot (mostly from people less well spoken than yourself) and as a guy who plans on plunking down the bills for a Wii on release day..

It just doesn't bother me. At all. Looking at the competition, I see more of the same--with better graphics! OR, you can see companies trying to leverage their consoles to sell "junk media." (Ring tones, wallpapers, half of the stuff Sony was pimping as innovation at E3.)

The new features coming to the Wii, in my opinion, make it more of a step-up from the previous generation than PS3/XBox360. What was PS2 if not simply PS1 with better graphics and DVD playing? And in this generation, they don't even have the VHS->DVD format change to help them out* (*DVD->BluRay isn't the same.. can you say 'MemoryStick(TM)'?)

BUT, with all this said I must admit.. I'm not a 'gamer.'

I play just games for fun, and Nintendo's "Gamecube 1.5" looks ready to dish it up by the bowl-full.

So I must ask, what defines a new generation of consoles? HiDef? Ringtones($), dashboard themes($)?

By Anonymous Neeko, at 18 May, 2006 18:28  

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