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silvain's blog

2:59 PM on 06.02.2009

Why the Wii Vitality System has potential - game design hooks

Nintendo revealed something unexpected today, the Wii vitality system. At first glance, it looks like a piece of equipment better suited for a hospital than a gaming device. As I started hearing the hate, I started wondering exactly what kind of applications this could have for future games.

After some reflection, I think this thing could be really cool if used well. Additionally, it has the bonus of coming out relatively soon. Here are a few of the ideas I thought would make interesting game mechanics. Most of these modify standard controller-based games so I guess you'd have to be able to put your toe in it to still use the controller, but whatever.

1. Eternal Darkness 2

Your changes in pulse effects the character's insanity level. Changes in pulse also effect when new scares are generated.

2. Left 4 Deader

Your lack of changes in pulse let the AI director know that it's not doing its job of challenging you enough. More special infected of the kind that make your heart race the most are sent out, or the weather is changed, etc. Similarly, it may give you a break.

3. Splinter Cell 5

Your heart rate figures into how much noise you are making when sneaking around.

4. Street Fighter 5

An elevated heart rate could trigger an adrenaline mode where you do more damage or have different supers. Similarly, a slowed hearbeat (showing that you're in the zone?) could ramp up a character, also.

5. Final Fantasy 15

Your pulse could be used to determine bravery when talking to npcs. Or even better, which love interest you want to pursue. npc conversation trees are tweaked appropriately.

6. Super Mario Bros. meets I want to be the guy

Pulse determines where the falling platforms are in brutal platforming sections.

7. Donkey Conga: Jungle Beat: Newer play control

Platformer controlled completely by your heart beating.

Well, maybe not.

8. That witch touching game 3

Amount of nervous sweat collected in device and pulse changes determine that you're a pedophile, and the wii uses your internet connection to notify Chris Hanson.   read

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