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Motion Control: Where Do We Go From Here?

Have you ever watched the movie The Gamer? It stars Gerard Butler as a forced participant in an online game, in which other players control the participants in the game. Logan Lerman plays the young boy who got his claim to fame in the popular online game by the means of controlling Butler. It was a mediocre movie, to say the least. Right now you may be asking what this has to do with motion control. My answer to you would be nothing, yet everything.

Now I have always taken the stand that I do not want motion control invading my entire gaming experience. When you add motion control onto a game that wasn't meant for motion control - well there's nothing that screams gimmick louder. Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony have all been guilty of this. I don't care if you're a fan boy or not. It's true. Let's start off with Microsoft since I'm mainly a 360 person and I'm not above bashing my system of choice.

The Kinect had issues right from the beginning, starting with their presentation at E3 back in 2009. "Project Milo" was Microsoft's exciting way of showing off depth-sensing and pattern recognition capabilities, and was developed by Lionhead Studios. Milo was an AI that responded to spoken words and gestures, and had a built-in dictionary that matched key words in conversations with voice-acting clips to simulate life-like conversations, and it also recognized emotions. Now we were led to believe that this was an actual game, until Peter Molyneux refuted the statement. Flash forward to E3 2011. What promising game does Molyneux and Microsoft reveal to us? Fable on rails.

That's not to say that Microsoft has completely dropped the ball on offering those who've purchased a Kinect something new and different. I, for one, think Child of Eden looks amazing. And it's a game that focuses on what developers should be doing - making a game that enhances the use of motion control. I also believe Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster will be a big hit for families. Those two games are a step in the right direction for motion control and what "Project Milo" promised us. They are not, however, a selling point for me, as a gamer, to run out and purchase a Kinect.

So what about Sony? There are some that think Sony "gets it." Really? Sure, Sony doesn't force you to use the Move with the games that support it. But what has it shown us that's unique? PlayStation Move Heroes? Everybody Dance? I agree that we can use the Move with games such as SOCOM4 and Killzone 3, but the fact of the matter is I don't have to play those games using motion control, and those games were not made purely for motion control. It's an added gimmick used only to convince hardcore gamers that the Move is something special. It does not, in any way, convince me that I need to run out and pick up Move for my PS3.

Finally, we have Nintendo. Nintendo has received quite the bashing from so called hardcore gamers. Why? Because Nintendo did what they told everyone they were going to do. When the Wii first was announced, Nintendo made it very clear that they were going after the casual gamers. If you missed that point some where along the road, then you must be blind. Every commercial they released screamed casual gamer. They did make a statement that they would not forget their core gaming crowd, but their intentions were pretty much set in stone. Yes, they have Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Wii Party - the list goes on and on. But let's remember way back when to Sony's EyeToy. We had things like EyeToy: Play, EyeToy: Groove, and EyeToy Play: PomPom Party.

Nintendo did try to appeal to it's core gaming crowd by giving us games like Twilight Princess, Super Smash Bros Brawl, and No More Heroes. (And I found Kirby's Epic Yarn a blast!) Mind you, Nintendo is not perfect. There are problems with the accuracy of the Wii Remote, and in playing Metroid I often felt the urge creeping up on me to toss the remote at the wall, especially when having to use the grappling hook. Now to top things off, Nintendo has done a complete turnaround from what they set out to do. Suddenly they want the core gamers back and they're golden apple is going to be the Wii U. What?

So how does all this relate to my first paragraph about comparing motion control to the movie The Gamer? Well quite frankly, and most off - I feel like I'm being played. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are all guilty of promising me wonderful things with motion control, yet none of them have shown me any reason to want to fully embrace it. Yes, I do enjoy playing some games with motion control. Yes, I believe there is a great potential for motion control in the future. Right now, however, it's more like a wash, rinse, repeat cycle.

Now I can't imagine myself not playing video games, and this leads me to why I do like motion control and what I think Nintendo did right. Nintendo has been the only one of the three so far, to draw in people would who not normally play, or be able to play games. It enables young children to dance around and fling themselves about without the worry of working a regular controller, and most importantly, it allows older people, or people who may have difficulty working a controller to participate in a game. Sony and Microsoft may still be able to do that, but it was Nintendo who brought the fun to the party first.

If you're young then it's probably of no concern to you. But I'm getting older. Right now I don't want motion control in my FPS. Leave my RPGs alone. However, at some point I may not be able to hold that controller and the only means of enjoying a game may just be motion control. Here's what I ask of Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and the game developers - stop pushing it in my face by putting it in games that we don't need it in. Concentrate more on games like Child of Eden, or original games that have been developed from the start only for the use of motion control. Don't tell me I can play SOCOM4 using it, make a FPS specifically for it. Let me be Logan Lerman controlling my character in a game by voice and movement alone. Let me interact with my team in an RPG without mixing motion control and a standard controller together. Give me a reason to embrace motion control and do what everyone wants to do - have fun playing games. If you can't do that, then motion control will die the gimmick it's been all along.
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About Jadedone of us since 4:35 PM on 01.11.2011

I've never enjoyed writing a bio. It's equivalent to trying to sell yourself to a potential employer, but with a higher chance of not having anything to offer that will benefit the current community you're interested in joining. In an online community you throw your arms up in the air and yell "Here I am!", and then sit back hoping someone takes notice in the good you do, while on the same note, you hope you don't get ridiculed for a stupid action. I suppose at least there's the anonymity of being on the web, so with that I'll throw my arms up and attempt an introduction blog.

Lost Kitty by Adam Hughes

I am a collector of fantasy, video game, and comic book art. In fact, if you were to walk into my office you'd probably believe you stepped into a game shop of some sort. You know the little shops where you can go to get miniatures, dice, game cards, and comics. They closed ours down not long ago. Sad days. I love the work of the artists that have done pieces for Dungeons & Dragons, such as William O'Connor, Larry Elmore, and Todd Lockwood. Adam Hughes, Melanie Delon, Brian Froud, and Luis Royo are a few other artists that I enjoy. I could probably list 20 more names here, but I won't.

Art by Ghostfire on Deviantart



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