Product Type: Nintendo electronic gaming accessories
Newest Review: ... this is the gap that the Motion Plus attachment plugs. Nintendo have done this before - releasing an expansion pack to beef up the N64'... more
Nintendo Wii Motion Plus Accessory
Member Name: illogicology
Nintendo Wii Motion Plus Accessory
Advantages: Very impressive technology at work here.
Disadvantages: Will always be limited as an optional accessory.
The Wii-Mote has been Nintendo's saviour in this generation of games consoles. After a poor run with the Gamecube, selling Nintendo's brand of gaming to a new audience without compromising their core values was a challenge. Fortunately, Nintendo have never been afraid of a little challenge and they rose to it marvellously with the wii, a cheaper home console aimed with families with a control system that was designed to be inherently fun.
Motion control is the big development of this period in gaming and it's the Wii that has brought this about. With the wii-mote, a fancy gadget looking nothing like a traditional game controller, sword fighting games could involve real sword fighting, shooters would see you blasting away and cocking the gun, the wii-mote reading your every move. It was the concept that sold the wii. Of course, if you own a Wii then you're probably already aware that the reality is somewhat different. While the Wii-Mote is a fun little toy with some interesting ideas, motion control in most big budget games essentially amounts to flicking or shaking the wii-mote instead of pressing a button. Not that great a contribution. While I don't want to knock the wii-mote or the wii, I find both to be innovative ideas; it's only fair to say that there aren't too many games on the console that wouldn't be any different or less fun if played with a traditional controller.
The solution Nintendo has devised is the Wii-Motion Plus. This little accessory is a little cube that slots into the bottom of the wii-mote. Handily including a locking clip, it basically becomes a part of the controller. It doesn't make the console uncomfortable in any way and the weight increase is well balanced. Inside there are a collection of new accelerometers and directional sensors. These, in conjunction with the sensors already included, make the wii-mote far more aware of its position and its movement. The end result is a wii-mote that translates for more complex gestures and movements to the console.
To give you an idea of its accuracy, I'd like to refer back to what I feel was the wii-mote's strongest feature. While its sensors didn't interpret complex positioning, located on the top of the device was an infra-red panel. Working with the sensor bar you placed on your TV, this allowed the wii-mote to function as an incredibly accurate pointing device. This controlled cursors easily as accurately as a mouse or even a laser pointer and was the one area in which the wii-mote functioned beyond expectations. Precise, wireless, button free motion control.
Now, Wii Sports Resort, one of the few games built from the ground up for Wii Motion Plus includes an archery game. This game is played, not by pointing the remote at the screen and using the infra-red but by holding the wii-mote upright like a bow and pulling the nunchuck attachment back like an arrow. Careful practice and a lot of effort allows the player to hit a range of targets, develop your skills and you might get that bullseye. Easily as functional as the the infra-red pointer. Essentially what I'm saying is that when you connect the wii motion plus to the wii mote, its awareness and positioning is so perfect that it can be held upright and aimed with the accuracy of a mouse. This is achieved without any of its own visual input. Frankly, I was gobsmacked when I saw what it could achieve and it's a very clever upgrade.
In all probability, the wii motion plus won't be as successful as it deserves to be. It isn't included from the box and so its numbers are always going to be cut, fortunately it is bundled with most games that support it so it won't be driving up costs too much. As it's an optional accessory, we'll never see a great deal of support from developers either. Only Nintendo and real Wii devotees will put the time in. It really does add to the console and while it won't do anything for games without motion plus support, it does open the doors for a lot more interesting games down the line. It's just a pity is wasn't part of the hardware from the start.
Summary: My wii-mote feels just like a sword now, swish-swish.
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