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Some Truth to Wii as GameCube 1.5? 519

Posted by Zonk
from the low-blows-when-the-strike-true dept.
Newsweek's N'Gai tackles the allegation that the Wii is a glorified GameCube. He specifically looked at recent comments by Microsoft's Robbie Bach saying that 'the video graphics on it aren't very strong; the box itself is kind of underpowered; it doesn't play DVDs; there are a lot of down-line components [that] aren't actually that interesting. ... They don't have the graphics horsepower that even Xbox 1 had. So it makes sort of the comparison set a little bit difficult.' LevelUp spoke with a pair of technical experts at third party publishers and learned that, essentially, Bach's comments about horsepower are accurate. However, "the 'Gamecube 1.5' moniker, while accurate, doesn't mean that gamers won't see graphical improvements on the Wii. 'There are three main differences which will result in graphics improvements. One, the increased memory clock speed, from 162 megahertz to 243 megahertz, means that it is easier to do enough pixels for 480p mode versus 480i. Two, the enhanced memory size of the Wii gives much more room for image-related operations such as anti-aliasing, motion blur, etc. The performance to these memory systems from the graphics chip is also improved. So full-screen effects and increased texture usage seem likely as a result.'"
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Some Truth to Wii as GameCube 1.5?

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  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shawngarringer (906569) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:37AM (#19081827)
    Who cares, the thing is fun to play, so maybe the Wii's wee isn't as big as the xbox 360 or the PS3 -- does that really make such a big difference?
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Volatar (1099775) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:40AM (#19081869) Homepage
      The wii's motion sensing capability is so novel, it really makes the graphics not matter.

      Graphics are not the only thing that makes a game console new and improved, there are many more factors.
      • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by @madeus (24818) <slashdot_24818@mac.com> on Friday May 11, 2007 @11:05AM (#19083397)

        The wii's motion sensing capability is so novel, it really makes the graphics not matter.

        I don't see how you can arrive at that conclusion. I love the Wii remote for games like Wii Sports, Rayman and Tiger Woods. It still pisses me off that it's so blurry and indisticint in some games and it makes them much less pleasant, though I realise the impact is less significant of those not used to HD games on large displays.

        Graphics certainly matter to gameplay and IMO with 3D games it's that much more important to have the fidelity than in 2D games. Compare Super Mario World (2D) which has aged very well (and still looks great on a large Plasma), with Mario 64.

        On the Wii, Rayman has good, crisp, well styled graphics that are suited to the Wii's abilitles. I have nothing bad to say about the graphics on that title, great job guys. It's fair to say Tiger Woods doesn't really try push the Wii, but if it had been easier to get more out of the console, it would look a heck of a lot better. It's disappointing, but the line up of *good* Wii titles is anemic at the moment. as for any newly launched console, so it will do (until EA release a new version in time for xmas). Zelda has graphically been a big disappointment and is very murky and instinct in places, it's murky color pallet doesn't help. The gameplay is okay, but it's not always easy to navigate the world or identify potential points of interest because of the low fidelity (I don't find that aspect 'challenging' anymore than I find it fun when I lose my glasses, it's just annoying).

        I'm not even going to talk about Far Cry. Just think of that JavaScript +canvas FPS demo, scalled from a 150x150 box to a 50" screen, except imagine looking at it through the bottom of a pint glass. Except the gameplay isn't as good (but that's going OT).

        Most of my TV is in HD these days (from movies, to series (shows like SG-1, Atlantis, Battlestar Galatica, Torchwood), a number of new BBC shows (Planet Earth) and the Discovery/History channels) even the stuff that I watch that isn't (e.g. regular BBC TV shows, News 24) is of far higher fidelity than the content on the Wii (which is typically upscaled from 3D from a very low resolution). Of course all the games on the 360 are miles better graphically (I wouldn't never get titles like Sports, Rayman or Tiger Woods on the 360 though, as the only appeal to me because of the controller). So, my point is, I'm use to considerably better quality (and have been for over a year now) when it comes to entertainment.

        I will say that if you have a smaller TV, the much lower quality is not as noticeable. If you are not used to better quality images, it's not as noticeable. That applies to a lot of people (just look at how well the PS2 is still doing, and it's STILL crappier than the ~ '98 Dreamcast!). Personally I'd rather pay market rate and have a better product, than a cheaper product where corners have been cut, and that's the truth of it.

        I haven't bought any racing games for the Wii, and I don't currently plan do (unless someone brings out something that actually looks half decent AND uses the controller in an interesting way). If I want a better controller input for racing, I'll use a steering wheel (there are plenty to choose from for the 360. I think I've seen at least 3 - including a wireless one). Given the option of spending more money to play the 360 version of a game than save money and play a lower quality version on the Wii, I would currently choose to spend more and have the better experience.

        I think the Wii is a good console, especially if gaming is something you like doing, but don't want to spent heaps of money on (although the decent games still cost about the same as decent 360 titles, I would note). This business of people pretending (and trying to convince everyone else - in addition to themselves) that graphics are somehow unreleated to good gameplay is a nonsense though.

        Graphics are not the only thing that makes a game console new a

        • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ricera10 (932325) <ricera10@NOsPaM.gmail.com> on Friday May 11, 2007 @11:30AM (#19083841) Homepage
          I think you missed the point of the Wii...it's to have fun, not obsess over how good it would look in HD. If you need it to look good, then why do you even have a Wii?
          • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by BobPaul (710574) * on Friday May 11, 2007 @11:35AM (#19083915) Journal
            Because it's fun to play. But that doesn't mean it can't be disappointing in many aspects.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by bitingduck (810730)

              Because it's fun to play. But that doesn't mean it can't be disappointing in many aspects.
              I finally got to play one about a week ago, and I'm far more disappointed that it doesn't have additional controllers to attach to your feet (for 4 input devices/person) than by the graphics.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by prelelat (201821)
          I can't believe you listed tourchwood and left out dr. who :( I watched 3 episodes and wasn't too impressed, maybe I should give it anouther shot.

          So you have an HD-TV thats great, but you have to remember that alot of people don't have HD-TV and if your not playing an XBOX 360 on an HD-TV it levels the playing field a little bit. You also have to stop at some point and start thinking of new ways to advance a console, make it different and stand out from the rest, make it more and more real. Graphics are a
        • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Informative)

          by metamatic (202216) on Friday May 11, 2007 @11:40AM (#19084043) Homepage Journal

          It still pisses me off that it's so blurry and indisticint in some games and it makes them much less pleasant [...] Zelda has graphically been a big disappointment and is very murky and instinct in places, it's murky color pallet doesn't help. The gameplay is okay, but it's not always easy to navigate the world or identify potential points of interest because of the low fidelity

          You need to get a component video cable.

          If you have one, I can only assume that your TV is badly calibrated--did you go through Zelda's calibration screen?

          On my HDTV, Zelda is beautiful--even the twilit world, which looks like TRON at sunset. I don't have any trouble spotting (and collecting) insects either.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by 7Prime (871679)
            Yeah, Zelda: TP, stylistically, is one of my favorite games. The fact that it isn't HD doesn't really bother me (and I do have an HDTV) because it feels like they really were able to do exactly what they wanted to. It's not supposed to be photoreaslitic, if it was, it wouldn't have been as good of a game. The twilight realm was so incredibly beautiful, I was sad that I couldn't go back there after I got through about 1/3rd of the game.
        • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Friday May 11, 2007 @11:44AM (#19084107)

          Graphics certainly matter to gameplay

          No, they don't. Gameplay is what you do in the game, not what special effects are drawn to the screen.

          What amuses me about the Wii is that 360 and PS3 fans will mock Nintendo for catering to kids, yet it's the Wii that has all the adults playing while the audiences for the 360 and PS3 are made up of adolescent Grand Theft Auto and Halo fans. It's weird how the gaming press hasn't caught on that it's the 360/PS3 that is played by sugar-charged kiddies while Nintendo systems are played by adults who grew up with the NES and SNES.
          • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:17PM (#19084741) Homepage
            What amuses me about the Wii is that 360 and PS3 fans will mock Nintendo for catering to kids, yet it's the Wii that has all the adults playing while the audiences for the 360 and PS3 are made up of adolescent Grand Theft Auto and Halo fans.

            That's because the only people who care about playing a game for "kids" are insecure adolescents.
            • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by insignificant_wrangl (1060444) on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:35PM (#19085133) Journal

              The same criticism that drives adolescent commentary drives the commentary of executives such as Branch: an incomprehsibility that power and visuals alone don't comprise the totality of experience and preference.

              This despite the fact that virutally every game review I've ever read stresses that graphics only really matter for the first ten minutes. After that, if a game sucks, then it is collecting dust. In the long run, play is what matters. And that's what Nintendo seems to understand (even if the mechanics are still under development). Not to mention that the casual gamer's rushing to the Wii, unlike hardcover gamers, haven't geeked out on PS2's and XBox 360s', so most (many of whom my friends) don't realize that they are looking at a graphically inferior product.

              In the long run, the advanced power of the 360 and the 3 might devalue the Wii--but just wait until Star Wars: Who Cares What They Call It comes out for the Wii and Ninten-dorks everywhere are swinging lightsabers. Oh glorious day.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by lucabrasi999 (585141)
          Most of my TV is in HD these days (from movies, to series (shows like SG-1, Atlantis, Battlestar Galatica, Torchwood)

          Wait a minute, how did you get BSG in HI-Def? I have some hi-def channels, but SciFi is not one of them. AFAIK, it isn't even offered by my system, Dish Network. With my Dish contract coming to an end soon, I intend to start looking around. Any cable/satellite system that offered BSG in Hi-Def would be high on my list of potential suppliers. As it stands now, BattleStar actually looks

    • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Bin_jammin (684517) <Binjammin@gmail.com> on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:42AM (#19081903)
      Agreed. Just another smoke and mirrors show that misses the point entirely. If Nintendo had come out with the controller set for the gamecube would the same critics be complaining about it being an outdated platform? I imagine so.
      • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cHALiTO (101461) <elchalo@@@gmail...com> on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:59AM (#19082149) Homepage
        There's a big difference however, between offering an *alternative* innovative controller to an existing console, and launching a new generation of consoles with such controller as a default.

        Alternative controllers often end up having only a few games for them, as game companies know they'll be addressing a fraction of the customer base if they do games for that controller.
        If the controller is the default on the system, all users of that system have it, so it's not risky to produce games for it.
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          A lot of people thought Nintendo was crazy when they released the analog stick for the N64. Remember, there was no dual shock controllers at this time for PS1, it's main competitor. A lot of people didn't like it. Now every console (minus the wii) is using this control scheme, and everybody has gotten used to them.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Jonathan_S (25407)

            A lot of people thought Nintendo was crazy when they released the analog stick for the N64. Remember, there was no dual shock controllers at this time for PS1, it's main competitor. A lot of people didn't like it. Now every console (minus the wii) is using this control scheme, and everybody has gotten used to them.

            Even on the wii the nunchuck controller attachment has an analog stick on it.
            So it looks like every current or recent console is using that control scheme.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by CastrTroy (595695)
              And you can still plug in your old GC controllers. Although I'm not sure if you can use these controllers for playing Wii games, or if any Wii games require you to use one. I would be a nice option for game publishers who don't want to utilize any motion sensing capabilities. You can get a GC controller for about $20 now, so I think a lot of people would buy one, if they didn't already have one left over from their GC.
          • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Endo13 (1000782) on Friday May 11, 2007 @10:38AM (#19082807)
            What I find really interesting is that almost *every* feature now used on game controllers was first introduced by Nintendo. Their base design for the NES is still used today: D-pad on the left, buttons on the right, start/select in the middle. Then came the SNES adding shoulder buttons and two more buttons on the right in the diamond configuration - which is still pretty much exactly the configuration used by everyone but Nintendo.

            So looking back I guess the Wii controller shouldn't be a surprise - it's exactly what Nintendo has been doing ever since the Famicom's inception: innovation in controller design.

            Also interesting is that the Gamecube was their only system that didn't include anything really new on the controller (analog shoulder buttons was about it) and was also their least-successful system.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by CastrTroy (595695)
              I like that the GC moved away from the diamond button configuration. They added the big green "A" home button, with all the other buttons easily reachable from the home button. Just like the J and F home keys on your keyboard. It helps you to always know which button you are pressing. The only thing I didn't like about the GC controller was the Z button. It's hard to press. luckily it isn't needed for much in most games, at least not for anything you have to press quick, usually just to bring up the ma
          • Wii has the nunchuck to provide analog precision control. They still use it, and easily more than than half the games for the wii use the nunchuck. (some games like Wario Waare Smooth Moves only use it for certain parts, Wii Sports uses it for some games, etc)
      • The original NES (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:05PM (#19084489)
        You have to keep in mind that the gaming press is biased, misleading, and easily duped into marketing. They're the worst segment of the online press besides political blogs. They're the reason everyone was once obsessed over "8-bit" and "16-bit," because those amateur journalists didn't understand what the terms actually meant, so neither did we. They bought Sony's PS2 hype, and they made Halo out to be the greatest game ever played by the entire world (even though the XBox only tied with the Gamecube at 15% marketshare). Now they're having to take notice with the Wii and come to grips with the realization that they really are a small, hardcore segment of the market that is outnumbered by everyone else.

        The original NES used an old 6502 chip, a cheap processor that came out in the 1970s. The NES was underpowered compared to some of its competitors but was so well-designed that it got the good games. It appealed to the wider, mainstream market like the Wii. Remember the track pad? The educational games? The Zapper games, the puzzle games, the side-scrollers, the RPGs, and so on? It appealed to everyone, not just sugar-high kiddies playing a neverending series of XBox 360 first-person shooters.
    • by HoosierPeschke (887362) <hoosierpeschke@comcast.net> on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:47AM (#19081985) Homepage
      I agree, it's affordable, it's fun, it does what it needs to do, and it has innovative features. Speed isn't everything, just ask a woman... oh, wait..
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by archen (447353) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:53AM (#19082071)
      Well look forward to this being rehashed over and over again for people who don't really get what the Wii is. It's not just a gamecube 1.5 because hardware is xx% faster than the previous generation, it is an entire reorientation in what gaming today IS. One of the most intriguing things I read was a comment from a Nintendo engineer who said something to the effect of: "We saw a trend that if we gave people X, people wanted X + Y, you give them that and then they still want more. There is no way you can every really satisfy people with hardware, it is a loosing battle and one that only raises the cost of the console the more you try to please those who cannot be pleased".

      Reality is Nintendo is going after NON gamers, and people who just want to have fun. Think grandma and grandpa care about graphics? You're deluding yourself (they probably can't see that well :) Simple truth is that people don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a console, and they want to have fun. Nintendo's innovation isn't with the hardware, it's what they do with the hardware.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Yvan256 (722131)

        of the most intriguing things I read was a comment from a Nintendo engineer who said something to the effect of: "We saw a trend that if we gave people X, people wanted X + Y, you give them that and then they still want more.
        In Sony's case it's even worst. Since the beginning of the PS3 marketing they kept throwing fake pre-rendered videos at us (Killzone 2 anyone?). then once it's out their console can't even match their fake videos.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by smallfries (601545)

          In Sony's case it's even worst. Since the beginning of the PS3 marketing they kept throwing fake pre-rendered videos at us (Killzone 2 anyone?). then once it's out their console can't even match their fake videos.

          Actually you can go right back to when they were throwing fake pre-rendered videos at us before the launch of the PS2. Or the dev demos from back then - anyone remember the disembodied head that we were told would be an accurate indication of characters in PS2 games...

          I still play on the ps2 now an

    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Benosaurus (1100067) on Friday May 11, 2007 @10:00AM (#19082163)
      Exactly! I'll admit that the $$$ boxes like PS3 and Xbox 360 have some pretty graphics, PCs are still better. I already have a DVD player, a stereo system and a computer. Why would I want to buy a PS or Xbox? What can they offer that I can't already do?

      On the other hand... the Wii DOES have something to offer, yet its not the graphics powerhouse that its 'competitors' are. Oh and as a little bonus, Wii is cheaper by about 50%.

      Sony and Microsoft have to be really pissed about it. They must be like, buuuuuut.... uh.... our graphics are better. And... uh... our controllers vibrate! Does that count as motion control?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ps236 (965675)
      The XBox360 and PS3 are really just like the XBox and PS2 but with extra processing & graphics power. Not a lot else. The Wii is quite different from anything before due to the control system and the 'ethos' of the games designed for it. IMV, the Wii is probably more 'next-gen' than the XBox360 and PS3, which are just like the previous gen with bigger bits.

      I've got both an XBox360 and a Wii, and I like them both for the things they're good at. Graphics-wise the XBox360 wins hands now, no argument, but

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Fozzyuw (950608)

      Microsoft's Robbie Bach saying that 'the video graphics on it aren't very strong;

      hehe, tell me about it! Here I am playing Super Mario Brothers, Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda, etc. Man, graphics must be REALLY important in selling a video game system or games for it! Oddly, like the GP said...

      Who cares, the thing is fun to play

      'nuff said.

      Cheers,
      Fozzy

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      Also, about the graphics not being as good as XBox 1. Even GC was as good as xBox1. I've had people hook it up to their TV with the SVideo cable, and be amazed at how well some of the games look, especailly coming from such a small,quiet, and light machine. There's games on the Wii right now, like wii sports, that don't have stellar graphics, but nobody was trying to make it a visual masterpiece. While I admit that I saw a PS3 in stores the other day, and was amazed by the graphics, they were completely
    • The difference is in casting aspersions and spreading FUD.

      ...the 'Gamecube 1.5' moniker, while accurate...

      Like that. What the heck is that supposed to mean? I mean, the DS Lite is clearly a "DS 1.5." The slimline PS2 is obviously a "PS2 1.5." Calling the Wii a GameCube 1.5 is meant to say, "that's not really a current-gen system." Which is garbage; it's a significant improvement over the GameCube, and not just graphically. Similar arguments were made about the PSP and DS--the PSP is a "handheld PS2"

  • I'm surprised.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by igotmybfg (525391) <slashdot@@@danielthompson...net> on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:40AM (#19081867) Homepage
    I'm surprised a suit would say that comparison is 'difficult', when sales figures are readily available [vgchartz.com]. Maybe what's difficult is having to explain them to billg?
    • by jimstapleton (999106) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:44AM (#19081925) Journal
      maybe not difficult as in "logically challanging", but difficult as in emotionally painful?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blunte (183182)
      Yes, it must be particularly embarrassing to be Microsoft with such a "superior" platform, but yet still be trounced by something so old and technologically unsophisticated.

      Hello Microsoft, I have a clue for you...

      It's worth also noting that playing cards are still very popular, and they're rather low-tech too! Plus, despite being very cheap, I don't think they're sold a loss. Hehe.
  • interesting quote (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jimstapleton (999106) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:41AM (#19081885) Journal

    Microsoft's Robbie Bach saying that 'the video graphics on it aren't very strong; the box itself is kind of underpowered; it doesn't play DVDs; there are a lot of down-line components [that] aren't actually that interesting. ... They don't have the graphics horsepower that even Xbox 1 had. So it makes sort of the comparison set a little bit difficult.'


    Yep, I'll agree to all but the last sentance. One can easily compare sales and popularity figures.

    Kinda that something that can have all those complaints, which are accurate, with such a lousy marketing campaign (come on, two creepy Japanese guys telling a little girl, "Wii would like to play"? There is so much that is wrong with that), could even get 10% of the market share of the current XBox or PS consoles, and yet it does.

    Says something rather bad about MS and Sony if anything.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by megamerican (1073936)
      If you focus on a few seconds of one of many commercials then yes, you may think they have a lousy marketing campaign. Marketing to families is what are driving the sales. If you were a mother or father, would you spend $250+ on a console that you can enjoy too, or $600+? Showing families having fun together while playing the Wii sure was a bad idea!
      • I wasn't saying it's a bad idea to market it to families.

        But if I were thinking of family stuff, that whole beginning part would have me way too creeped out to consider the Wii.

        Or were you just misrepresenting what I said as a way to troll?
    • I'm rather surprised by that - everybody I work with (geek and non alike) seem to love the commercials. For weeks, it seemed that whenever someone entered someone elses office, I'd hear "Wii would like to play".

      My wife, who isn't a gamer at all (the only game she plays is "Tetris" and "Brain Age") loves the commercials.

      But, to each their own.
      • by Aladrin (926209)
        I have never once heard anyone quote that commercial. That hasn't stopped most of my co-workers from wanting one. Around here at least, the popularity has very, very little to do with the tv commercials. (I was going to say 'ad campaign' but their word-of-mouth campaign is what is really selling the boxes.)
    • I keep snickering "Wii would like to watch" when I see those ads (since the guys sit back and watch all the time). Yeah, that's wrong too ;-)
  • by Steeltalon (734391) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:43AM (#19081919)
    "Cry more n00b!" I'm pretty sure that he said that at one point.
  • He specifically looked at recent comments by Microsoft's Robbie Bach

    A competitors review of a product, real informative.

    Though I think the real issue is that the Wii is getting the market share of consumer attention in spite of the superior graphics processing power of the XBox and the PS3, and maybe they should do an article on not the resolution and frame rates but on the human interaction and game play of the consoles.

  • by \\ (118555) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:47AM (#19081975) Homepage
    Isn't this something people were saying before the Wii was even released? I don't understand why this is news again, almost (or possibly more than) a year later.
  • My PC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:47AM (#19081979) Homepage Journal
    Did you know that my AMD64 is really just a Pentium III 1.5? I heard it on the Internet, so it must be true!

    I wish people would get a grip. Especially since these specs have been know for... oh.... EVER. Get over already, will you? Yeah, it's the first console since the 80's to perform upgrades to components rather than replacing them outright. That's not a big deal. The console still has more than enough power to play games like Zelda, Super Paper Mario, and Red Steel.

    Let me put it another way. In the Super Nintendo generation, it was less powerful than the TG16, the 3DO, the Phillips CD-i (pardon me while I die laughing), and the Neo Geo. But it was also worlds less expensive. Its only real competitor in that generation was the Sega Genesis, a console that was less powerful than the Super Nintendo!

    The lesson to learn from this is that graphical power != better games. Better games == Better games, and damn the graphical power. The sooner people realize this, the better. (Or should I say, the sooner they get over their insecurity at having purchased a PS3?)

    As for the Gamecube "1.5" nonsense, it's two Gamecubes duct taped together. Get it right, will you?

    * Critics can shaddup about this one, too. If you can't get past learning the controls, well, that's too bad for you. But many of us actually find the controls to make the game. And the graphics aren't nearly as bad as they're made out to be. Sure, there are some dull hallways and whatnot, but there are also rooms full of steam, radiosity from windows, and other nice effects that help draw you into the game. And drawing me into the game is all I care about.
    • The note at the end is supposed to point to Red Steel. Excuse my flubby fingers. Here's a wonderful review on Red Steel from IGN to help make up for it:

      http://wii.ign.com/articles/747/747541p1.html [ign.com]
    • by EricWright (16803)

      The lesson to learn from this is that graphical power != better games. Better games == Better games, and damn the graphical power.

      Aficionados of roguelike games have been saying this for 20+ years.

      • Re:My PC (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday May 11, 2007 @10:01AM (#19082183) Homepage Journal
        I think a lot of people have been saying it for that long. The problem stems from the fact that graphics can have an impact on what you can do with a console. Especially in the early days of game consoles, where the 2600 was limited to two sprites, a 1 pixel ball, two 1 pixel missiles, and a 20x2 by 190 pixel background. Obviously, that was quite limiting. Later consoles touted how many sprites they had, and their hi-res background capabilities.

        The upgrade from the NES to the SNES was similar. The SNES allowed for bigger characters, larger games, scaling and rotation effects, and other features that allowed game creators to make games that they couldn't have otherwise.

        Unfortunately, the market has become blind to the reasons behind why those graphical upgrades were important. As a result, they're fixated on this idea that we need photo-realistic graphics to have better games. It doesn't work that way. The Atari 7800 had better graphics than the NES. It failed. The Colecovision and Intellivision both had better graphics than the 2600. They didn't capture nearly the market that the 2600 did. The Neo Geo has the best 2D graphics available anywhere. It did not displace the SuperNES. (Though it did do well for itself among hardcore fans of SNK fighting games.) The Playstation was graphically inferior to the N64, yet it was the best selling console to date. The Playstation 2 was graphically inferior to the Gamecube and XBox, yet it was (and still is) the best selling console ever.

        History is very clear on this. If you give the market good games at a good price, you will outperform your competition. If you try and push the envelope with the idea that money is no object, you WILL fail. Or at best, only capture a niche in the market.
        • by Dogtanian (588974)

          The Colecovision and Intellivision both had better graphics than the 2600. They didn't capture nearly the market that the 2600 did.

          They came out much later, so had less time to sell, and did so in the face of an established console with a large established library of games.

          The Neo Geo has the best 2D graphics available anywhere. It did not displace the SuperNES.

          The Neo Geo was very expensive; it used (IIRC) basically the same technology as arcade games and AFAIK was never intended to be a mass-market console (it couldn't have been at that price anyway).

          The Atari 7800 had better graphics than the NES. It failed.

          The 7800 was put on hold after the video game crash; they only revived it after Nintendo had shown that they *could* make a success of their NES, by which time they had a

          • The Neo Geo was very expensive; it used (IIRC) basically the same technology as arcade games

            A lot of consoles were stripped-down version of the same company's arcade boards. It goes all the way back to Vs. Unisystem, the arcade version of NES. Sega's Genesis was a modified System 16, and its Dreamcast was just a NAOMI with less RAM. Sony licensed the original PlayStation architecture for use in the Capcom ZN series and Konami System 573 boards. Nintendo's Triforce arcade board is a GameCube with more RAM, but not overclocked like Wii.

    • I sympathize with the fatigue many people are feeling with the "my console's wang is bigger than your console's wang" flamewars, and I agree that better games often have little to do with graphics horsepower.

      However, it's important to realize that most great games take full advantage of the hardware they run on, and therefore they are limited by their hardware. The parent post mentions the SNES generation, so I'll use that as my example.

      The SNES had the best sound hardware of its generation, which made the
    • Good post. However, the Sega Genesis was actually more powerful than the Super Nintendo in terms of pure processing power (Genesis: 32-bit Motorola 68000; SNES: 16-bit 65c816). However, I think the SNES graphics unit was a little bit better. At least it coul display 256 colors at once vs. Genesis only being able to display 64 colors at once.
  • Propaganda (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TodMinuit (1026042) <todminuit.gmail@com> on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:48AM (#19081995)
    From the article:

    I'm actually not--the product has gotten more broad-base [sic] aclaim that I would have expected. It's a very nice product, but it actually has a relatively specific audience and a fairly specific appeal, frankly, based on one feature, which is the controller itself. And the rest of the product is actually not a great product--no disrespect, but...the video graphics on it aren't very strong; the box itself is kind of underpowered; it doesn't play DVDs; there are a lot of down-line components [that] aren't actually that interesting.
    Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 have a relatively specific audience and a fairly specific appeal, frankly, based on one feature, which are the graphics itself. And the rest of product is actually not a great product--no disrespect, but...the games and gameplay on it aren't very strong.

    Blah blah blah. What do you expect them to say? "Oh, the Wii kicks our ass. It's cheaper to build and is selling more. We're fools?" Give me a break.
  • So what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AccUser (191555)
    OK, so the XBox 360 is state of the art, full of raw processing and graphics rendering power, has a bleeding-edge software DVD player? Guess what? I bought a Wii and it is damn good fun. I enjoy it, my wife enjoy's it, my two boys (6) enjoy it... in fact everyone who has come round to visit has played Wii Sports. And do you know what? No body ever played with my XBox apart from my brother.

    Microsoft wants to drive the market, but the market wants something else. They need to wake up and realise this, and sto
  • by datajack (17285) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:49AM (#19082001)
    Yes, the Wii architecture is fundamentally the same as the Gamecube architecture, but so what?

    All the way up the PC scale, each improvement is an incremental improvement on what went before. Does anyone complain about that? No.

    Fundamentally, computers all do the same things. As long as you can perform the fundamental turin operations, you can do anything. Yeah, multi-core machines can do these same operations at a greater rate, but there's nothing different that what they are capable of (apart from making programmers worry about race conditions and such like).

    People don't complain about the similarity between upgrades in PC processing power for a good reason, you don't have to spend many months training your programmers in how to get started and them watching them spend years before they are capable of fully utilising the system. With a similar architecture as you are already used to, the learning curve and associated costs are much much lower, programmers are more productive and happier.
    • by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Friday May 11, 2007 @10:26AM (#19082599)
      It's something that suits will never understand. It goes beyond pixels and megahertz and "high definition", deeper into the human heart where suits just can't see. People don't care about pixels. They don't care about fill-rates and texels and polygons and all the other bullshit that suits try to cram into their products -- all the crap they THINK people want. But they just don't get it. People want to be happy and have fun. People spend their lives miserable most of the time and want to spend their money that they worked hard for and get fun and happiness with their friends and family in exchange. It's FUN to play Wii with your mom or grandpa or uncle. It's not fun to play GTA or Gears of War with your grandma. The architecture is irrelevant. What's important is the amount of happy times you get for your money.
  • you know (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nomadic (141991) *
    Graphical power isn't the only measure of a game system, but you know, it is still important. The fact that developers are already complaining about the limits of the system means that in another year or two, when the novelty of the motion detector has worn off a bit, the wii's popularity will start to slide.
    • Re:you know (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GweeDo (127172) on Friday May 11, 2007 @10:15AM (#19082401) Homepage
      Why do people keep saying "in another year or two, when the novelty of the motion detector has worn off"? This statement just doesn't make any sense to me at all. That is like saying "well, in a year or two when 0-60 in 4 seconds of your sports car wears off", it isn't going to. It isn't just a gimmick. It is a true advancement in the way interact with games. Sure, there are going to be games that implement motion control in crappy ways. The key is that there are going to be amazing games as well that simply aren't possible with a standard controller.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WaZiX (766733)
      If enough people have the Wii, there will be games...

      And it certainly looks like there will be enough people with a Wii... So I wouldn't bet on a lack of games...
    • And in 3-4 years we'll see a new console, which is about when the games will dry up for the Wii but your estimate.

      Lets put it this way. Games take 2-3 years to make these days. The Wii has a huge console base, so games will get made for it, come out when it "looks old" and carry it until the next generation as all the Triple A titles will be on the Wii and single handedly rule the market until next gen.

      PS3 is a fish out of water, 360 is a bit better but both are finding the Wii kicking their asses and can't
  • by RichMan (8097) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:52AM (#19082051)
    Microsoft and Sony find themselves out of the boat in pushing high end rendering machines as game consoles when what people really want is fun games.

    Wii wins with a new way to interact with the machine making it fun and for having the standard Nintendo appeal of social games that involve a group of people vs the solo sniper approach.

    Nintendo has a winner, Sony and Microsoft have dogs, very pretty dogs, but dogs. Of course Sony and Microsoft are going to point out their dogs are pretty. But they are not popular.

    Things learned from this
    1) group games have more mass appeal than solo games
    2) interaction with the game can be fun
    3) game play is more important than graphics
    4) cheaper is better
    5) make a console that is not a loss leader
  • Jealous much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grapeape (137008) <mpope7@kc.rrTIGER.com minus cat> on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:52AM (#19082057) Homepage
    So Microsoft is upset with Nintendo because they were smarter? After spending huge amounts of money MS ended up with a new machine based on making everything faster while nintendo spent their money on researching new ways to play games and applied them to what they already had.

    I have a 360, it has some great games, but its still just a prettier version of the xbox that is barely backwards compatable. I cant get my wife or relatives to play the 360, but all of them seem to gravitate to the wii. I came home from work yesterday and caught my wife bowling at 3 in the afternoon, I can guarantee I've never come home and caught her playing halo.

    So perhaps MS feels like they wasted money and resources? Have we finally reached a point where the old argument about graphics vs gameplay is actually a legitimate one?
  • From the article:

    Our final verdict on the charges leveled at the Wii? While Bach's statement that the Wii is graphically underpowered compared to the first Xbox wasn't quite a bulls-eye, it's so darned close to the mark--technically speaking--that we've got to compliment him on his aim. The question, then, is how much will developers be able to squeeze out of the less-flexible Wii hardware?

    For all the talk about how important graphic power is, it seems like there is a whole class of pundit that doesn't care whether there is anything interesting or innovative in the graphics to begin with. Super Mario Sunshine is a good example of a game that looked wonderful due to utilizing the special qualities of the Game Cube innovatively (notably with water.) The developers that the Wii's supposed lack of power most negatively affects are those that doing a cheap and quick port from

  • When I first got my Wii, my father-in-law (retired, likes to spend his pension) came over and had a go. He was hanging out for a new XBox 360 (don't ask me why - he hardly plays the XBox he has), but was interested in trying the Wii out. An avid sportsman (or so he tells everyone) he played all of Wii Sports (except the boxing - something about his knees?!), but it was the golf that really intereted him. He played all nine holes over and over, and really got the hang of it, but at the end decided that it wa
    • by cHALiTO (101461)
      Tell him he can get tiger woods's pga tour 07
    • In Japan, it's common to see businessmen with manga.

      In the US, you are considered childish to be seen playing a cartoonish game.

      I'm sure that his golf buddies would give him no end of grief over playing Wii Golf, but a realistic Tiger Woods "simulator" would be completely different even if it was only a change of graphics.

      Nintendo or some third-party needs to realize this cultural difference and cash in.
    • He played all nine holes over and over, and really got the hang of it, but at the end decided that it was a kids game as the graphics were cartoonish. He asked if someone was likely to bring out an 'adult version' of the game.

      They did that, too. There's a Tiger Woods game out for the Wii. Haven't played it, but I understand it uses a similar control scheme to the Wii Sports golf game. Myself, I wish the Wii Sports games would stick a bit closer to the actual rules of the sports in question; the tennis

  • DVD? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chadamir (665725) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:59AM (#19082153) Homepage
    Why is dvd playback such a selling point? Does anyone NOT have a dvd player that will buy a wii? A dvd player is 30 dollars!

    As of the end of 2006, over 80% of households have dvd players http://blogs.zdnet.com/ITFacts/?p=12220 [zdnet.com] . Do you think the other 20 percent are choosing between a console or dvd player? 3.5 percent of households are below the poverty line http://www.soundvision.com/Info/poor/statistics.as p [soundvision.com] . So now we're around 85 percent; factor in old people and I'm sure we're just left with luddites and the margin of error.

    What are they going on about?
    • Some people like to whine about the clutter of having both a DVD player and a game system near their tv. Personally, my gamecube and SNES (especially the hard-to-balance stacks of its cartridge games) cause a lot more clutter than my DVD player, and that's one problem the Wii would fix!
      • by Dogtanian (588974)

        Some people like to whine about the clutter of having both a DVD player and a game system near their tv.
        Aside from clutter, there's having to faff about with extra connectors (and switch-boxes, etc, if your TV doesn't have enough sockets), leads, and power supplies, etc. If you're not a diehard gamer/DVD addict, a convenient all-in-one box is much nicer. Whining? Matter of opinion...
    • I would've liked the wii to play DVDs so I could get rid of a peripheral that doesn't sit plugged in and unused 99% of the time, and i don't have to switch input cables (and so i can get rid of another controller that just is going to get lost!)

      there are tons of solutions but yeah, it's the laziness factor.
  • Sure. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cowscows (103644) on Friday May 11, 2007 @10:02AM (#19082205) Journal
    If you wish to make the processing power of the Wii your main concern, then yes, you might be able to make an argument that the Wii is only 1.5 gamecubes. Unfortunately, you'd be entirely missing the point of the Wii.

    If you consider a new control scheme to be more interesting, then the 360 is more like Xbox 1.1. The PS3 has some motion detection added in, so we'll call that a PS2 2.0, but they couldn't manage to get the rumble back in, so we should probably dock them something for that. Let's just say it's a 2.0 that shipped before it was really ready. Nintendo, on the other hand, has shipped an entirely new product line.

    And the best part for Nintendo is that this isn't just some BS excuse that they're making up for not being able to keep up in the technology race, it's a very deliberate strategy that they've implemented in both their handheld and living room consoles, and sales have proved it to be extremely successful. Good for them.
  • numbers != fun (Score:4, Insightful)

    by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Friday May 11, 2007 @10:18AM (#19082459)
    There's more to creating beauty than polygon fill rates and shader algorithms.

    I think a game like Super Paper Mario, for example, is absolutely gorgeous; it's obvious that a huge amount of effort went into the art direction for the game. Who cares if the graphics could have been generated by a last-generation GPU? They're still beautiful.
  • It's not the power of the console, it's how you use it.
  • Well, MS appears worried enough to comment. Yes, the Wii's graphics aren't XBox1. They weren't targetted to be. They're more than enough for NTSC/PAL TV sets.

    'tendo has put their efforts into other innovations, particularly around controllers and responsiveness. These are tougher things to develop than raw horsepower, but more valued by the user community. MS has chosen the lazy development way. The problem is they will find it difficult to become more innovative, while Nintendo can catch up on graph

  • by TimeForGuinness (701731) on Friday May 11, 2007 @10:26AM (#19082615) Journal
    I really think Nintendo approached the Wii intelligently. When trying to shake things up in the gaming world and going with a whole new control scheme, using a revved-up Gamecube might not be a bad thing. Think of the risk involved. If they put out a platform that rivals the Xbox or PS3 with a new control scheme, the console would be expensive and people would not take the risk of learning something new. Nintendo is dead in the water.

    But if Nintendo bumps up the specs on the gamecube (small risk, graphics are decent) while introducing a new control scheme (big risk) while keeping the price cheaper than the other two consoles (still making a profit on each console), people can afford to take a risk...and they have. The Wii is a success so far, and caught the game makers with their pants down. They weren't prepared for this and now they have to shift too.

    What is really interesting, in this experiment by Nintendo, is that because the Wii is so far a success, this lowers the risk of incorporating higher end graphics, HD, 720/1080, etc for Wii 2.0.
  • They (the Wii) don't have the graphics horsepower that even Xbox 1 had.

    i don't know enough about the topic to back up the following claim, but that smells a hell of a lot like bullshit. Isn't the Wii graphically more powerful than either the Xbox or the PS2?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Guppy06 (410832)
      "Isn't the Wii graphically more powerful than either the Xbox or the PS2?"

      The GameCube itself is more powerful than the PS2 and the games published for it have been on par with the Xbox. Even if the Wii truly is a "GameCube 1.5," it shouldn't take more than a slight nudge to outperform the older two consoles.
  • Man, and all this time I was having a lot of fun with my family and friends, playing 4 player games that end up with everyone laughing and having a good time.
    Rats, I'm really going to miss that.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday May 11, 2007 @10:53AM (#19083137) Journal

    So in a way was/is the DS. It was in fact claimed by Nintendo themselves that the DS was NOT the full sequel to the GBA.

    The Wii is NOT a next generation console as we have come to expect. It is decidely underpowered, even compared to last generation.

    The lack of a dvd player is trivial, anyone who wants one can get one so cheap nowadays it is pointless to have it as a feature and either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray just wouldn't fit with its low price point.

    The simple fact is the the Wii is an attempt to go a different route. Can Nintendo succeed in selling games that despite not being able to compete on graphics terms are considered fun enough to be bought? Or perhaps an even simpler bet, that not enough people will have HD tv screens to notice the higher res graphics of the PS3/360? After all, unless your tv is HD ready you won't see much improvement anyway.

    But does anyone else find it ironic that Microsoft who has made billions in the last decade selling point upgrades to their OS is commeting on someone else doing a 1.5? Could windows 98 be considered a full .5 upgrade to 95? How about XP to 2000 and 2000 to NT4 etc etc?

    The simple fact is that right now the Wii, no matter how underpowered is the one console still sold out. No I don't see why. I do NOT like its games. Then again, I in general don't like consoles. But for a 1.5 console, Nintendo ain't doing bad. If anything MS and Sony should be really worried because with the cash Nintendo is taking in they could be the ones who in a couple of years could launch a 2.5 console that will truly blow the PS3 and 360 out of the water while these consoles by then will be considered old.

  • by Myrcutio (1006333) on Friday May 11, 2007 @11:36AM (#19083953)
    If i recall, the Nintendo CEO had something to say about that. It was something along the lines of, art and paintings reached the point of photorealism hundreds of years ago, and yet people are still painting, and few of the best paintings of all time are photorealistic. If graphics had any bearing on the enjoyment of a medium, then Claude Monet would have been run out of town, people shouting, "What is this fuzzy crap? Haven't you ever heard of anti-aliasing?!"
  • 480p/480i... what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kreyg (103130) <kreyg@shaw.PARISca minus city> on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:42PM (#19085265) Homepage

    means that it is easier to do enough pixels for 480p mode versus 480i

    OK... unless you can 100% guarantee you game will run over 60fps all of the time, you will get nasty interlacing artifacts unless you have a full 640x480 display buffer available at all times. From that standpoint, 480p and 480i are exactly the same as far as the number of pixels they need to render. 480p games were available on every single console last generation too...

  • Rofl. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dr.Boje (1064726) on Friday May 11, 2007 @06:08PM (#19091025)

    I get so sick of reading these Wii-bashing articles. The only complaints they ever present are "wahhh graphics" or "wahhh processing power." The moron in this article even complains about Wii not being able to play DVDs. COME ON! Who doesn't have a freakin' DVD player by now? Obviously, people like this haven't sat down and considered why Nintendo is doing so well... I guess they are just too caught up in trying to downplay Nintendo's success. Psssst, idiots. Graphics don't make a game fun.

    God, just reading this first excerpt makes me ill.

    It's a very nice product, but it actually has a relatively specific audience and a fairly specific appeal, frankly, based on one feature, which is the controller itself. And the rest of the product is actually not a great product--no disrespect, but...the video graphics on it aren't very strong; the box itself is kind of underpowered; it doesn't play DVDs; there are a lot of down-line components [that] aren't actually that interesting.

    Soooo... basically he comes out and says it's a nice product for a very SPECIFIC audience? For a system that's supposed to have universal appeal? Mmmmk. Then he contradicts himself by saying the product "is actually not a great product." Mmmmk. And what entails his reasoning? Graphics, processing, and lack of DVD-playing capability... oh, and "a lot of down-line components." Lawl!

    Hey, Robbie! Keep fighting your fight, bro. One day you'll wonder why your market share slowly reduced itself to zero. Until then, enjoy your imaginary high horse.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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