Have Motion Controls Grown Up?

Have Motion Controls Grown Up?

The Wii’s journey began with a Zelda game, and it will end with the same. It’s appropriate. Not only because two epic games from the same franchise accompanied the Wii’s birth and death, but because the first game, Twilight Princess, demonstrated what motion controls could be, while the second game, Skyward Sword, made 1:1 motion control an integral part of the gameplay. Skyward Sword doesn’t reward you for furious, aimless slashing: you must size up every enemy, probe their defenses, and attack accordingly.

Skyward Sword cracks the code for successfully basing a game on motion controls. The technological advancements that made Wii MotionPlus possible are just half the equation. The other half is building up a game and its challenges around motion controls, and having the patience and heart to refine accordingly. It’s too bad that we’re experiencing this now, at the end of the Wii’s lifespan, but at the same time, it’s exciting to think what the Wii U might be capable of.

In other words, Skyward Sword is a good indication that motion controls have finally stumbled out of childhood, and have found an identity as more than simple toys for families and kids. Unfortunately, it’s been such a turbulent process that traditional gamers may be soured on motion controls for a long time, if not forever.

Motion controls aren’t going to go away. We already know they’re going to be an important part of the Wii U’s hardware, and there’s little doubt that Microsoft will find a way to weave Kinect into the next incarnation of the Xbox. The question is, will traditional gamers ever have a reason to embrace motion controls as readily as they’ve come to embrace the keyboard, the mouse, and the traditional controller?

It can happen, but gaming experts need to lead by the example Nintendo has set with Skyward Sword. We now have assurance and physical proof that motion controls can be the foundation of a high-profile adventure. It’ll take time, but if more developers can demonstrate that motion controls are past their painful growing pangs, motion controls may finally become an accepted evolution of the pastime of gaming, and not just “that gimmick for casual gamers.”

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

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