Setup – My daughters live in Texas with their mother. They have a Wii. I am visiting my daughters.
Tonight, my youngest daughter, Samantha (9), asked me to play a video game with her. She fires up Guitar Hero 3 (awesome!) on her Wii. I watched her put the Wii controller (which I had never held until tonight) into a guitar and then proceed to try to beat "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" on easy. She was doing pretty good on her own and much better after I explained she could throw multiple attacks by saving them up. But she finally asked me to beat it for her and so I finally got my shot at playing a Wii game.
Now….in all fairness, I am biased towards our own XBox line. I have only owned Xbox consoles since they were first released. Never owned a PS but have played on them before. Prior to the Xbox my last console was a Sega Genesis 32 or something like that. (confession….I am not much of a gamer anymore…..I pick a few games and immerse myself in them and only them for very long periods of time). Also, she was playing on about a 22" TV using the TV speakers. Not what I am used to playing on at home.
I wasn’t impressed. I had heard all this cool stuff about the Wii and it was just a little underwhelming for me. The guitar controller felt almost identical to mine and the game play was the same. I did notice that some songs use different color combinations for the chords but otherwise it was…..the same.
I beat the song for her, she gets all giddy, and becomes engrossed in the video that plays after beating Lou in the boss battle. Then "Through the Fire and the Flames" starts up and I warn her it is about 10 mins long and she lost interest.
That gave me a chance to drop in one of her older sister’s games – Bully – Scholarship Edition. This game makes use of standard Wii remote and the Nunchuk controller. It also helped me understand what all the fuss is about. The section of the bully game I ended up in pitted me against Sam’s older sister, Megan, in a series of head to head challenges. There were some rhythm challenges where we used the controllers as drumsticks and a disturbingly cool section where the Wii remote gets used to dissect a fish and then later a bird. There was a shooting range match and a few others. Of course she has played for a while and is accustomed to the controller so I got stomped on all but the shooting range. I wish I would have had a chance to play some other games and run the controllers through their paces a bit but it came up on bed time. Maybe tomorrow.
Regardless, I understand now what the fuss is all about. Giving the user such a wide range of motion and control over the game opens the doors to all types of interactive scenarios. One of the reasons why Guitar Hero is so successful is because the controller emulates a real guitar so well. I keep waiting for an 88 key controller and accompanying "Piano Hero" game. I imagine there are all sorts of cool games for the Wii that really show off what the controllers can do.
Now I wish we had a similar set up for the Xbox!
Please contact our Xbox group and work out a deal to create cool controllers for the Xbox.