Ah yes, the Week of Hate. Seven rage-filled days of complaints, criticisms and straight-up trollin’ that let us vent our collective frustration on the games industry. In the past, we kicked off each week with a Top 7 that specified a certain aspect of gaming we’re angry with, be it stereotypical gamers we hate or the laughable habits of mainstream media coverage. This year we’re casting a wider net and bitching about the very state of video games today, from hardware issues to company behavior to trends we’d love to see die out sooner rather than later…
7 – Motion controls
Yes, hating on Wii has made this well trodden territory, but since Kinect and PlayStation Move became the new jangly-shiny thing to dangle in front of Best Buy zombies, this topic has started up all over again. For the past five or six years we’ve been incessantly told how motion controls (aka waggle) broaden gaming, how they make it omni-accessible for all ages and are even pushing the very medium of gaming into the future. Well, it’s been half a decade and what do they have to show for it? Minigames aplenty, tacked-on gestures for games that never needed them and a choking amount of shovelware cluttering up stores across the world. And look what it’s done to Rare!
Above: The proud developers of Viva Pinata, GoldenEye and Donkey Kong Country are busy working on… a sequel to Kinect Sports
In the many years of Wii’s existence, how many games made groundbreaking, indispensible use of motion control? Looking at the anemic Kinect and Move lineups, which games are actually worth the combined price tag of hardware and software? We’ll concede some of these games are OK (and in the case of Dance Central, quite good) when played in brief spats, but do any offer any ideas that weren’t already done on Wii?
Is this what we’re reduced to, blatant copycatting with nothing to add to the experience? Kinect removes a controller entirely and touts that as a genius distinction from Wii and Move. A look at the games themselves suggests the developers merely took what was already there and replaced a Wii Remote with your own arm. This is not innovative, this is not inclusive - it’s a reactionary dead end. What other technology-led industry launches expensive me-too competitors four years after the market leader arrived?
Above: Who needs controllers when Kinect Joy Ride is straight-up stuntalicious?
Every month we see amazing new stats claiming Kinect and Move are selling like crazy, so clearly people are biting; but will they continue to buy $40-60 games over the next three years, or will they realize it’s all a bit like the Wii they already have and move on? Could this escalate into a mini-crash? Probably not the latter, but it’s still effing annoying as shit to go through this all over again and still not have a game that honestly makes us happy to put down the controller. And on that note, controllers weren’t an obstacle to the mass market in the first place – the PS2 remains the best-selling console in history, 13-button game pad and all.
6 – Nintendo’s stance on tech
Above: This came out last year!
Talk of motion controls directly leads to another area of constant irritation – Nintendo’s years-long refusal to approach technological standards. Five years ago it said more power was not the answer, that its next console would focus more on expanding the audience than besting some other console’s tech specs. No one can deny that’s exactly what Nintendo did, and that it worked alarmingly well, but for those of us who’ve been playing for years on end and actually look forward to better graphics and other advances in game design, Wii has been a giant pain in the ass.
The whole 480p thing was merely obnoxious in 2006; seeing 360 and PS3 games run in gorgeous HD was painful, but we could deal. In 2011 though, it’s downright hideous to witness how substandard Wii is compared to top releases on competing platforms. This visual hump, along with nearly mandatory motion controls, have turned Wii into a graveyard of third party support, and even when a brilliant game does arise (Mario Galaxy, No More Heroes, Muramasa etc) we can’t help but wonder how much better it would have been on any other system, in HD and with proper controls.
Above: Epic Mickey was pretty… but imagine it in 1080p
Wii also has two USB ports in the back – what were they ever good for? Storage? Useful peripherals? Nah. And let’s not even begin complaining about Friend Codes, Wii Speak, the clumsy Wii Shop Channel or any other piece of content that Nintendo passes off as an online presence. Moving to today, the 3DS just launched without an online store or first-party game that focuses on Wi-Fi multiplayer, even though Nintendo made sure to mention how capable the 3DS is… er, will be when it comes to internet connectivity. People used to compare Nintendo to Apple, but that’s hardly fair anymore; Apple continually revises and upgrades its hardware, while Nintendo’s sat on 2005 technology for six years.
We’ve got our fingers crossed for E3, where Nintendo is set to reveal a fancy new system that could undo all this aggregate stress…