Motion tech has potential to include serious gamers

Nathan Mendelowitz

Motion technology is relatively new. Starting with the Nintendo Wii in 2006, it ushered in a new way to play games and made Nintendo stand out as an innovator.

Gamers are now able to interact with their game on a level not possible before.

The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have finally caught up to Nintendo, and it’s created some good competition among the three gaming companies.

So the question now emerges: Who does motion tech better?

With the Nintendo Wii, players use a Wii Remote (Wiimote) to control the game. There is a sensor bar put on the television so it can read the movements of the Wiimote. Players can also add a joystick attachment called a nunchuk.

There are other accessories like a wheel for driving games and a classic controller for older games.

With the new technology, franchise games like “Super Mario” and “Zelda” are played in a whole new manner.

While fighting as Link in “The Legend of Zelda,” players could mimic sword slashes with the Wiimote or pull the nunchuck while holding the Wiimote steady to mimic a bow and arrow.

Unfortunately, the motion sensing is not as responsive as it should be.

Ray Carsillo of Electronic Gaming Monthly said in his review of “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” that it has the same problems the first game, “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess,” had. Sword slashes and movements didn’t seem to respond at all.

Third-party games also suffered on the Wii because of poor usage of motion control.

First-party games developed by Nintendo were successful because they had years of information and practice with the technology. Third party game developers, on the other hand, did not, and the gameplay suffered.

The PlayStation 3 was next to use motion technology, calling it the “PlayStation Move.”

The controller is shaped like a wand with a bubble-like top that lights up when in use. The sensor bar is already in the console so no extra attachments are required. There is however another  “navigation controller” some games require.

Unlike the Wii, gamers have to pay extra for the controller, which costs $50, and the navigation controller which costs $30.

Reviews from websites like IGN and Gamespy have stated the technology is superior to the Wii.

The only bad part is most games do not utilize the available technology.

Some like “Killzone 3” allow gamers to use the “PlayStation Move,” but it’s confusing. Trying to play a shooting game with a wand is awkward. Pointing the wand at the screen like a wizard is just silly.

There just aren’t enough games with the motion control idea. The games end up with a gimmick that feels forced and last-minute.

Hopefully, with more knowledge and experience with the technology, developers will begin to create games with motion control in mind rather than as a second thought. 

Finally, the Xbox 360 released its version of motion technology with the “Kinect” in 2010.

Rather than having motion based controllers, the “Kinect” uses a powerful sensor bar to read the full body movements of the player. Essentially, the player is the controller.

It also comes with a price tag of $150.

That price is backed up by great technology, thankfully. The “Kinect” has the most powerful motion sensing technology.

Unfortunately, the games associated with the “Kinect” fall into the same genre: party games.

Most games are intended for multiple guests. The most popular being the dance games.

One of the single player games, “Rise of Nightmares” developed by Sega, follows a protagonist going through different places like a haunted mansion and dark alleyways escaping monsters. It’s fun because being able to actually be the controller, escaping the confrontations with the monsters is exhilarating.

Unfortunately, it gets old fast. After the first few times of running away from enemies, the scare factor losses it’s appeal and gets boring.

The “Kinect” has great potential for delivering a new gaming experience by allowing players to put themselves into the game.

So now we get to the verdict of which console does it best.

I have to go with the “Kinect.” When looking at all three consoles, the “Kinect” not only has the best potential but fully explores the motion control idea.

Instead of waving a controller around like a wizard wannabe, the player is in full control.

The PlayStation 3 perfected the motion sensors but is hindered by the controller.

Hopefully we see developers capitalize on the full body motion technology and create games that not only satisfy gamers, but include them.

Nathan Mendelowitz be reached at [email protected]