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Wii Entertainment Games

Does the Wii Provide A "Watered-Down" Game Experience? 582

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-pun-intended dept.
CNet is running a story inspired by comments from Ubisoft's Ben Mattes about how the Wii affects game development. When asked why there was no Wii version of Prince of Persia, Mattes said, "The reality is that from a technical standpoint, the Wii cannot do what we wanted the game to do. The AI of Elika was highly advanced and required a lot of processing power; the world size and dynamic loading, the draw distance, the number of polygons in the characters... If we had done a Wii version, it would have been toned down, probably linear; it wouldn't have been an open-world game, and so it would have been a very different experience." The article goes on to look at a number of Wii games that are stripped-down versions of their Xbox 360 or PS3 counterparts. Of course, part of the Wii's drawing power is that it's much simpler than the other systems, and has brought casual gaming to millions more people than it would have otherwise. The question remains, as Kotaku points out, whether the Wii's audience will persist after the other systems match its casual-gaming capabilities.
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Does the Wii Provide A "Watered-Down" Game Experience?

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  • does an iphone.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goombah99 (560566) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:04PM (#28295049)

    provide a watered down computing experience?

    Wii's are fun.

    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:09PM (#28295151)
      Exactly. The Wii is fun, functional, and innovative. The problem isn't the Wii, it's the damn publishers. The Wii's more powerful than the most powerful gaming machines a few years ago and there were a lot of good games back then (unreal tournament 2004, Doom 3, etc). There's enough power in the console, but the creators of the game apparently can't adapt to lesser hardware, so they throw a public tantrum or water the game down so that they don't have to actually think about the problem and develop around it.

      The really ironic thing here is that the market for the Wii is so much larger than the market for the other consoles. Publishers and developers are really shooting themselves in the foot here.
      • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:13PM (#28295237) Journal
        The problem is, games are not about AI and flashy graphics, no matter how much money grubbing publishers want em to be. They're about friendly interaction with your peers. That's why more people use computers to play cards with each other than the latest flashy crap to come down the pipe.
      • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:16PM (#28295297)

        Sorry, what?

        It's a fact that the hardware is less capable than the others. And the others aren't exactly swimming in RAM by modern standards. No, sorry, it's not that they can't adapt, it's that the games they are making now just can't work in the same way on the Wii.

        Now, that doesn't mean the Wii is somehow a bad console - it's a very successful one - it just means that either it's going to hold back the capabilities of games that are released across all three platforms or (far more likely, and in fact happening) encourage an entirely different set of games aimed at a totally different audience.

        What would be the point of owning all three consoles if they all got the same games and had the same capabilities anyway?

        • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:25PM (#28295471)
          The problem is a gigantic lack of first or second party games (or locked-in third parties). The Genesis (Mega Drive) and SNES both had about the same specs but the games were what defined them. The problem is, the PS3 and 360 really lack in that area. If you liked Sonic and Sega's games (Shining Force, Golden Axe, Phantasy Star, etc) you got a Genesis. If you liked Mario, Metroid, Zelda, or Donkey Kong you got a SNES. Today other than the Wii, theres not much difference between the PS3 and 360. Square Enix which (especially in Japan) propelled the PS1 and PS2 forward is now making games for all platforms. Halo is good but its still just another FPS, theres not much that can't be emulated with another FPS with shinier graphics, and despite how developed the Halo universe is, theres not that much there that sets it apart from the rest.
          • by jidar (83795) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:43PM (#28295765)

            The Wii attach rate is abysmal and for real gamers games it's even worse. Yeah, 20 million people bought a Wii, but about 15 million of them just played Wii sports then forgot about it.
            The Wii market might be much larger in sheer numbers, but the expected sales for a game like PoP is probably smaller.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Darkness404 (1287218)
              Sure, but if its a really good game that is a Wii exclusive you can expect sales to rise hugely. After all if you can make a good Wii game you have a lot more marketshare, and face it, every hardcore gamer already owns a Wii, might not play it, but they own one.
            • by Darkinspiration (901976) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @01:02PM (#28296073)
              I taught this dam myth was put to rest already, The wii is selling games, a lot of games in fact see here: http://vgsales.wikia.com/wiki/Wii#Best-selling_video_games [wikia.com]
              • by SleepingWaterBear (1152169) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @01:20PM (#28296387)

                Even more relevantly, the top 5 selling games of the current generation (and 7 of the top 10) are for the Wii [wikia.com]. Amazingly enough, people don't buy video games just because they're told the games are the most technically advanced - they buy games because they're fun!

              • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @02:44PM (#28297859) Homepage

                The trouble is that those games that sell good are all Nintendo games, everything third party only comes in far behind. Even worse, sales don't seem to have any connection to quality, some of the top selling third party games are ranking in the sub-50% category on metacritic. So the Wii isn't exactly a good platform to produce high quality content on, unless you are Nintendo.

                • by Chainsaw (2302) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <namkcab.snej>> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @03:14PM (#28298383) Homepage

                  I think you're drawing the wrong conclusion. If a third-party publisher would create a game with the same high standards of Super Mario Galaxy or Metroid Prime 3, instead of bad PS2 ports or quick hackjobs... Don't you think they would sell tons and tons of them? The Wii is perfect for FPS games, moving from the clunky and worthless dual-analog control to a mouse+WASD compatible scheme. Despite that, noone has really bothered with doing anything for it other than Conduit.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Omestes (471991)

                  Maybe its because no one even TRIES to make a decent Wii game. Thats my biggest problem with the console. the platform rocks, but no one makes anything worthwhile for it.

                  Where are my RPGs and RTS titles? Its not hard to make one, especially since we repealed the law against using sprites instead of 9^32 poly models.

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by KDR_11k (778916)

                  The metacritic scores reflect more on the inadequacy of gaming publications reviewing games not meant for the veteran gamer audience. There is a word-of-mouth network between Wii owners, the sales tend to be fairly concentrated on the system which suggests that people don't just buy stuff randomly but the pattern follows more what the average joe wants from a game, not what a gaming publication wants. Two of the top selling WiiWare games are My Aquarium and Texas Hold'em Tournament, both got panned by revie

              • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @03:11PM (#28298327) Homepage Journal

                I taught this dam myth was put to rest already, The wii is selling games, a lot of games in fact see here: http://vgsales.wikia.com/wiki/Wii#Best-selling_video_games [wikia.com]

                It's not a myth. The top 10 games are all made by Nintendo itself.

                The Wii is flooded with crap 3rd party games (shelves of nothing but shovelware at my local Gamestop). Quality control on the XBox360 and PS3 seems to result in better 3rd party games.

                I don't buy any games for the Wii any more I've been burned so many times. Who would have thought that a Super Monkey Ball game could have been so terribly bad? But it was.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by ThePhilips (752041)

              Last time I seen attachment rates comparison, Wii's was about 1 point below Xbox360. I wouldn't call that abysmal. Likewise, PS3 higher attachment rate also doesn't translate into better financial performance.

              Most reports indicate that Wii owners buy games, but they buy games differently but only few publishers have caught the wind.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Narishma (822073)
            Things are still the same as they have always been. The current generation consoles still have a lot of exclusives. The Xbox has Halo, Gears of War, Mass Effect, Fable and Forza for example. Sony has all the games it's dozens of studios produce like God of War, WipEout, Rachet & Clank, Uncharted, Gran Turismo, Killzone, Resistance and more. All these franchises are exclusive to their respective consoles and are as big if not bigger than those you listed.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Late Adopter (1492849)

            The problem is a gigantic lack of first or second party games

            You want me to make games? Really?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Sj0 (472011)

            OBJECTION!

            The Genesis and Super Nintendo had much different specs! The evidence is...

            TAKE THAT!

            Compare the screenshot of the title screen of Super Mario World [amoeba.com] and Sonic the Hedgehog [flickr.com]. The second in particular proves it.

            Where is the proof in these pictures?

            TAKE THAT!

            The Sonic the hedgehog picture is dithered around the edges of the flag!

            (Slams hand on the desk)

            The video chip in the Genesis could only handle 256 colours, while the Super Nintendo could manage 16-bit colour and transparency! There's no way you c

        • by gnick (1211984) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:30PM (#28295545) Homepage

          It's a fact that the hardware is less capable than the others.

          He didn't say that the Wii was as capable as its peers, he said that it was as capable as the best gaming systems around several years ago when we were getting games like Unreal Tournament 2004. Don't mis-quote and then dispute - That's cheating (i.e. strawman).

          Is the Wii weaker than Sony and MS's systems? Yup. But, like the other guy said, it's novel and fun. And near-zero learning curve (my 2-year-old can play it and my 4-year-old can play it pretty well). It's fun to play with friends with a wide array of genres. It's just not for serious gaming. It's a toy.

          But I agree with GP - The developers are lacking. It hadn't occurred to me before his post that UR2004 could be ported to Wii. But that UR football thing might just be awesome if it was done right.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jidar (83795)

            The Wii is getting shooters so I'm not sure what you're complaining about.
            I actually dispute that it is powerful enough to do UT2k4 though. I really don't think that is a given.

          • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @01:26PM (#28296471) Homepage

            It's just not for serious gaming.

            Could we please start treating "serious gaming" like the oxymoron it should be?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            They should talk to Suda 51's team. They did a fricken open world city on the Wii in No More Heroes. The motion control was well integrated. Not too much, not too little. Yeah, it was no Liberty City, but I have to imagine the game engine could be developed and improved further. It was almost a release title for the Wii. We'll see how the Conduit fares.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by iamhassi (659463)
            "But, like the other guy said, it's novel and fun. And near-zero learning curve (my 2-year-old can play it and my 4-year-old can play it pretty well). It's fun to play with friends with a wide array of genres. It's just not for serious gaming. It's a toy."

            Gee, what a crazy idea, to play a game and have fun?! Remember the NES and it's two buttons that anyone could figure out? Didn't have a memorize what L1 R1 L2 R2 X O triangle square up down left or right did, just move and press A or B. ta-da! Simpl
        • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:42PM (#28295747) Homepage Journal

          It's a fact that the hardware is less capable than the others.

          But it's not less capable than a PS2 which had open-ended games like GTA and Jak & Daxter. For that matter, they managed to cram GTA: Chinatown Wars onto the DS, and I'm under the impression that the Wii is more capable than the DS.

          No, I agree with moderatorrater: you can't objectively say that the Wii is incapable of these things. It's more accurate to say that they might be easier on other platforms in this generation, but that's not what Mattes said.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by somersault (912633)

          It is less capable than the PS3 or 360, no doubt - but even the PSP and the DS can handle free roaming 3D environments (see: the Grand Theft Auto Stories games, though I have only played them on the PSP, not the DS). Likewise the PS2 had all 3 GTA III titles on it and I'm pretty sure the Wii is more powerful than a PS2? If the developer is complaining that the Wii can't do dynamic loading/free roaming, they are just flat out lying due to laziness.

          AI and graphics are more of a problem, but still I doubt the

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by oblivionboy (181090)

          Actually while some of your points are correct, I think the real translation of what Ben said was: "We didn't consider the different parameters of the Wii in our initial design, and when it came to porting the game over, we found we were too tied in by the assumptions we had made at the beginning of the design phase."

          Ubisoft makes big fat games, that do big fat stuff. All of their AAA titles push the envelope, at least technically, and those come at a cost. With that design mentality its not a surprise that

      • by jidar (83795) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:38PM (#28295663)

        Looks to me like he was just pointing out, rightly, that the Wii isn't powerful enough for what he wants to do. In other words, he didn't want to make a Wii game, he wanted to make something that was more on the cutting edge of technology.

        People are making good games on the Wii, but the fact is it simply isn't a very powerful machine relative to the other platforms. You can call that whining if you want but it doesn't make it any less true.

      • by buddhaunderthetree (318870) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:42PM (#28295753)

        Exactly, compare the Wii specs to say the Dreamcast and tell me that the machine is the reason can't create an open world with complex AI. I think the real problem is the lack of design creativity by the publishers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by plague3106 (71849)

          no, it's not lack of design creativity.. it's that the PS3 or xbox allow much more detailed, larger worlds, that the wii simply can't handle. I'm going to pick up the latest Tomb Raider on the PS3 to compre it to the Wii version, which was very disappointing. And I played the GC tomb raiders on the wii and had a great time.. i think the wii just couldn't handle the larger, more complex world the newest tomb raider is played in.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I don't understand why people are so rabidly defending the Wii as "fun" and "innovative".

        I grew up playing Mario and Zelda games (and happened to be burned by Nintendo's lack of consumer compassion and their hate for backwards-compatability). But that's mostly what they put out: in-house proprietary sequels.

        There's nothing innovative about Mario anymore; that you can run in three dimensions instead of two doesn't change the game. It just puts a new look on the game. And that look would be better with mor

        • by zerocool^ (112121) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @05:29PM (#28300671) Homepage Journal

          My problems with the Wii are as follows:

          1.) Lazy. It's essentially a slightly more powerful gamecube. But, it allows you to sell the same stuff to the same people more than once. Also, in 2006, it was barely acceptable that it didn't put out high def. Now, in 2009, with a large percentage of people owning high def widescreen TVs, it's inconceivable that a modern console will top out at 480p.

          2.) Price. It's not that expensive, but it has been out for almost THREE YEARS without a single price drop. Plus, $50 for a new controller. Plus $90 for a bathroom scale. Plus, $50 for the component cable to make it output 480p (see above). Plus, according to E3, a bunch more money for a bunch more controllers. Whenever you point out to someone that nintendo is using cheap hardware, paint-by-number game programming, and proprietary IP to print money, they always come back with "BUT IT'S FUN!!!". What's the last killer title for the Wii?

          3.) Lack of killer titles. Zelda, metroid, Mario Galaxy, Mario Kart, Smash Brothers, Wii Fit... there haven't been many for a console that's 3 years old. Where are the 3rd party games?!? The top 14 games (which comprise 40% of the total game sales of the console) are all proprietary IP; you have to go down to #15 to find a non-3rd party game, and that's Guitar Hero III.

          That's pretty much it.

          ~X

          • by Mr2001 (90979) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @08:24PM (#28302745) Homepage Journal

            Also, in 2006, it was barely acceptable that it didn't put out high def. Now, in 2009, with a large percentage of people owning high def widescreen TVs, it's inconceivable that a modern console will top out at 480p.

            Two-thirds of households are still using SD. Lack of HD is not yet a dealbreaker. Maybe it isn't "acceptable" to you, but you're not the target audience: how many people buying the cheapest console do you really expect to have spent $1000 on a TV?

            When a living room sized HDTV costs $300, then HD support will be a necessity.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The Wii's more powerful than the most powerful gaming machines a few years ago and there were a lot of good games back then (unreal tournament 2004, Doom 3, etc).

        This is total bullshit. The Wii is a 729mhz PPC processor with 88 megs of RAM. I don't know what backwater part of the world you lived in a few years ago, but that isn't even remotely more powerful than the most low-end gaming machines that were powerful enough to play Doom3/UT2004.

        • by GMFTatsujin (239569) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @01:40PM (#28296719) Homepage

          It's tempting to use numbers to compare systems like that, but it's also completely misleading. Doom3 and UT2004 played on general purpose computers that were not optimized for gaming, no matter what the specs are. Those games needed a lot of brute force computing to overcome the limitations of the generalist PC design.

          The Wii is built for gaming and practically nothing else. It's more efficient at doing game stuff, so it doesn't require the same kind of oomph as a PC.

        • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @02:36PM (#28297709) Homepage Journal

          "but that isn't even remotely more powerful than the most low-end gaming machines that were powerful enough to play Doom3/UT2004."

          BULLSHIT. Doom3 on the Xbox - the Xbox is a fucking 733MHz CELERON with 64 MB DDR SDRAM at 200 MHz; 6.4 GB/s .The graphics core is essentially a modified GeForce 3/4 hybrid.

          The Wii - 729 MHz Power-PC based core, 88 MB main memory (24 MB "internal" 1T-SRAM integrated into graphics package, 64 MB "external" GDDR3 SDRAM) AND 3 MB embedded GPU texture memory and framebuffer, and an ATi graphics chip on par with their 9800 series of cards. I'd think with obviously superior hardware doom 3 should have *NO* problem running on the Wii.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Actually the Wii isn't better than the average gaming machine from 2004. The graphics processor is slightly slower than a Geforce3, and the CPU wouldn't hold a candle to the Athlon XPs you could get back then.

        The lack of adequate quality games for the Wii is really more about all the big publishers dedicating their time to the 360 and PS3. They have to make a completely different game for the Wii because it has nowhere near the same power. Nintendo doesn't make titles for other platforms so they can show

    • by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <[shadow.wrought] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:23PM (#28295427) Homepage Journal
      Wii's are fun.

      Exactly. But "fun" can't be captured in a spreadsheet for quarterly reports. Things like polygon count, map size, load speed, and so on, and so forth, are all readily counted and tracked. The constraints on the Wii compared to the 360 or PS3 means that while some games may lose their edge, most will be improved through the deletion of unnecessary cruft.

      Think of it like your HD. If all you have is a NetBook with a 4GB SSD, you decide whether or not something is worth saving. If you have dual 1TB HD you save everything whether you need or not, and regardless of whether you will ever, ever look at it again. Then it gets filled with crap but you don't know what's important or not because you never had to choose in the first place. Its the same thing with games. Give too big of a world you can create and everything goes in whether it is actually needed or not. The catch, is that it requires more discipline, and that is also far too nebulous for a spreadsheet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745)

        They need to add a column called "Number of units owned by customers".

  • News at 11 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adamwright (536224) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:06PM (#28295077) Homepage

    If you design a game for a machine with 360 specs, it doesn't run very well on the Wii without redesign.

    In other news, Mattes tried running Wii Sports on the 360, but it provided a "Watered down" experience.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tetsujin (103070)

      If you design a game for a machine with 360 specs, it doesn't run very well on the Wii without redesign.

      In other news, Mattes tried running Wii Sports on the 360, but it provided a "Watered down" experience.

      The issue here is that the less computing/rendering power a gaming console, the harder you have to work to write a program that is equivalent to one you just wrote for a more powerful console. If the machine isn't as powerful, you have to spend more time optimizing your program to get the same level of performance.

      If you connected a Wii controller to a 360, then rewriting Wii Sports to work on the 360 wouldn't be tremendously challenging from a technical standpoint. From a hardware standpoint there's noth

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Mister Whirly (964219)

        there's nothing Wii can do that 360 or PS3 can't

        Except allowing me to bowl, while heavily intoxicated, and still score well.

  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:06PM (#28295087) Homepage Journal

    There is nothing at all wrong with working within the constraints of a system and eeking out the absolute best you can from 'inferior' hardware.

    Infact, having limited headroom forces innovative and new methods of doing what was taken for granted before.

    The liqbase UI I am creating for the nokia handhelds makes use of these principles as well :)

    it simply does the best it can within the low headroom of the available hardware.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMXp0Dg_UaY [youtube.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tetsujin (103070)

      There is nothing at all wrong with working within the constraints of a system and eeking out the absolute best you can from 'inferior' hardware.

      Infact, having limited headroom forces innovative and new methods of doing what was taken for granted before.

      Well, sure, but I think some people would rather spend that time making a better game, rather than fighting the limitations of the hardware, trying to get a game written for today's hardware to run on a less powerful machine.

      • by twidarkling (1537077) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:54PM (#28295933)

        prettier graphics != better game. Lower the polygon count, drop the draw distance. I guarantee that 80% of gamers won't notice. That 80% being the casual gaming crowd.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tetsujin (103070)

          prettier graphics != better game.

          Never said that this expression evaluated to false. (And would it kill you to use a sentence here? I mean, really...)

          But - when you're dealing with hardware of limited capabilities, you have to work harder to write and properly optimize the code than you would to write the equivalent program on a more powerful machine. When you're facing strict deadlines, that's a real problem.

          From TFA it sounds like, in this case, the game just wouldn't have been a good fit for the hardware limitations of the Wii anyway

  • Give me a break (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:08PM (#28295121) Homepage Journal
    The AI of Elika was highly advanced and required a lot of processing power; the world size and dynamic loading, the draw distance, the number of polygons in the characters... If we had done a Wii version, it would have been toned down, probably linear; it wouldn't have been an open-world game, and so it would have been a very different experience."

    Then the platform is not your target. The Wii isn't about pushing the latest fast hardware to its very limits, just so you can push a ridiculous amount of polygons per second onto the screen. It is about making games that are fun... and you can CERTAINLY do that within the confines of just about any machine. Remember the IBM XT? NES? Gameboy? Some of the best games I ever played had nothing but text, running on a 10mhz processor.
    • Re:Give me a break (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:24PM (#28295449) Homepage

      Well the worst thing about his complaints is, the new Prince of Persia wasn't a good a very good game. Elika's AI may have been complicated, but it wasn't reflected in the end-product by her doing anything very cool. The "open-world" concept of the game was pretty weak-- getting from point A to point B was linear, but you were just given the option of whether you wanted to go from point A to point B, or from point A to point C.

      Prince of Persia: Sands of Time was a better game, and it was linear. The girl sidekick from that game was just as good as Elika. It didn't require particularly high-end hardware.

      • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:40PM (#28295705) Homepage

        Indeed, when I read "complicated AI", my games dev Spider Sense translates it as "Uses more clock cycles to produces unpredictable emergent behaviour that defeats the level designers' attempts to stop the AI killing itself or humping the scenery in new retarded ways each time you play."

        "AI" is for research projects. If you want an enjoyable game, simple finite state machines FTW every time. It's all about the testability.

        • Re:Give me a break (Score:4, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:46PM (#28295827) Homepage Journal

          "AI" is for research projects. If you want an enjoyable game, simple finite state machines FTW every time. It's all about the testability.

          The problem comes when the AI is allowed to make actual decisions. The AI should be there to determine the actor's emotional state, which can then influence the simple lizard brain at the fight or flight (or put another way, "Should I Stay or Should I Go") level. That's pretty much how animals work anyway. When you're running away from something for dear life, you're not putting a lot of conscious thought into what your feet are doing (or your culo.)

  • News Flash. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by solios (53048) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:10PM (#28295175) Homepage

    The Wii isn't designed for these kinds of games.

    That's what the X-Box 360, PS3, and PC are for. The Wii is for people who want to play games they can quickly pick up and put down.

    D13 H4rD G4M3RZ are NOT the target audience.

    (Score -1: Obvious)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      And still the Wii can handle hardcore games. Just look at Brawl. The problem is the publishers whine and complain whenever they have to do something thats different. There is no reason that the Wii can't do 360 games. And there is a market for hardcore games on the Wii.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gbarules2999 (1440265)
        Brawl's one of the few games that doesn't use the Wii controller extensively, and you can (and should) plug in a GameCube controller to play it. But then, if you're going to make your consumers use a normal controller, why not just keep the game on 360 and PS3?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)

      The Wii is for people who want to play games they can quickly pick up and put down.

      What does graphical ability have to do with the ability to pick up and put down a game quickly? The two most addictive and hardcore games I have ever played are Nethack and Civilization 2. Either of these could easily run on a Wii.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044)

      The good thing about the Wii is that Nintendo didn't make it bleeding edge. Sony and Microsoft are talking about a 10 year life for the 360 and PS3. Nintendo can if they need to make a Wii that could probably beat both those consoles right now and still sell it $249. The Wii uses a single PPC core so throw a multicore on it. No hard drive? Why use a hard drive? Put 8 or 10 GB of flash on it. ATI could provide a new GPU next week that would blow away the old one. Include the new WiiMotion with the new Wiim

  • by tonypeters (573741) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:10PM (#28295187) Homepage
    Of course it provides a 'watered down' experience - when the games in question are ports of the PS3 or the Xbox 360. The hardware and capabilities of the machine cannot compare, so the developers have to shoehorn the equivalent game into the Wii's specs and in the process, trim it down. If you look at individual titles made for the Wii (not ports of other console's games) then no, I really don't think the experience is watered down. Games are games, and people (should) be playing them for the enjoyment and competition. Maybe we should ask the question about some other consoles games that rely so much on graphics that the point of the game is lost and the entertainment factor is lost. Is this a watered down games experience?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130)

      Games are games, and people (should) be playing them for the enjoyment and competition. Maybe we should ask the question about some other consoles games that rely so much on graphics that the point of the game is lost and the entertainment factor is lost. Is this a watered down games experience?

      Certainly when graphics are used in place of figuring out how to make the game fun or unique, sure.

      But good graphics, long view distances yielding open worlds (that have good graphics at the same time), and good AI

  • by RabidMonkey (30447) <canadaboy&gmail,com> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:11PM (#28295195) Homepage

    I think that the Wii provides a different gaming experience. It can be summarized thusly:

    My mother owns a wii. My father owns a wii. My sister owns a wii. My brother owns a Wii. My cousin owns a Wii. My 3 years old nephew uses a Wii. My grandparents have played on a Wii. Nursing homes have Wiis.

    None of those people have PS3s or XBox.

    Call it watered down, call it casual gaming, call it whatever. It appeals to the masses in a way that the other gaming systems don't.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:12PM (#28295221)

    "whether the Wii's audience will persist after the other systems match its casual-gaming capabilities."

    i.e. in the next generation. The Wii is so far ahead in this category that it is laughable to think the others will catch up.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:12PM (#28295223)
    It goes without saying that a lazy port of a title to a system with insufficient power to run the original, with chunks cut out to make it fit, will be a piece of shit. It's as true now as when they unveiled Duke 3D for the Game.Com. That tells us absolutely F-all about the remaining 90% of Wii software that wasn't pumped out as a high-return bond by investor-fellating cash-mongers.
  • by oneirophrenos (1500619) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:13PM (#28295239)
    I guess you could flip the flamebait around and ask do PS3 and XBOX360 provide watered-down game experiences for offering games that depend on pretty graphics and not enjoyable gameplay.
  • Is it a bad thing? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TinBromide (921574) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:15PM (#28295279)
    While certain games (mostly sandbox) require massive ram, processing power, etc to stay competitive (Dead Rising), is it a bad thing that there is a less capable gaming platform out there? Yes, while games like Cooking Mama, Wii Fit, and Mario Party are watering down gaming, the graphics limitations aren't necessarily the cause here.

    I wonder what the development cost for a top notch wii game is. I wonder if its less than one for the PC or other newest gen console. I get the feeling that the reduced graphics and memory put a limit on how many nosehairs you need to bump map for the protagonist. Hopefully, the reduced hardware capabilities mean that the devs don't have to shoot for photorealism and don't need the huge teams to create content. The reduced hardware capabilities = less people required to push a system's graphics to its limit and you don't need a stadium full of graphic artists, AI programmers, mappers, and the more technical side of development just to keep up with the competition. Hopefully this reduced cost will allow GOOD (key word here, as in not bad or cheap) developers to focus more time on building more maps, fleshing out the story more, and generally trading graphics for immersion/world/playtime. I realize that last sentiment is wishful thinking, but a nerd can hope, right?

    I fired up AVP2 not too long ago and it was still a very enjoyable experience. There are also wii games that are very enjoyable. You don't need to have the world painted in photo-realistic brown rubble to have an enjoyable experience. You also don't need to be looking at characters so realistic they're this side of the uncanny valley to suspend belief into believing that something is trying to kill you and facehump your friends.
  • Um, no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SIR_Taco (467460) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:16PM (#28295291) Homepage

    The Wii doesn't provide a "watered-down" game experience.

    The developers who port a game to the Wii as an after-thought provide a "watered-down" game experience.

  • No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Manip (656104) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:16PM (#28295293)

    No.

    The Megadrive, SNES, Cell Phones, and Game Boy all have exceptional games created for them. The only difference between those devices and the WII is that the WII almost requires you to use the motion capture controller and while we've spent over thirty years designing games using joysticks, controllers, and similarly keyboards this motion capture thing is still very new.

    Let's also consider, that because out of the top three platforms only one supports motion capture, you might see less of a return on your investment as opposed to just creating a traditional game with existing code and hitting the 360, PS3, and PC.

    TLDR:
      - Technology
      - Creativity
      - Existing Code / Legacy
      - And most of all MONEY

    Stand in the way of exceptional games on the WII.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sabz5150 (1230938)

      No.

      The Megadrive, SNES, Cell Phones, and Game Boy all have exceptional games created for them. The only difference between those devices and the WII is that the WII almost requires you to use the motion capture controller and while we've spent over thirty years designing games using joysticks, controllers, and similarly keyboards this motion capture thing is still very new.

      Let's also consider, that because out of the top three platforms only one supports motion capture, you might see less of a return on your investment as opposed to just creating a traditional game with existing code and hitting the 360, PS3, and PC.

      TLDR: - Technology - Creativity - Existing Code / Legacy - And most of all MONEY

      Stand in the way of exceptional games on the WII.

      It's called the "Classic Controller". It allows you to play a game in the traditional method. So does flipping the Wiimote sideways.

      The problem is that developers see this motion sensing technology and scream "GIMMICK! WE MUST IMPLEMENT GIMMICK!!!!"

  • Bollocks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by somersault (912633) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:19PM (#28295367) Homepage Journal

    While I agree that most games on the Wii tend to be lacking in depth compared to the types of games that you get on other systems, I take issue with this:

    If we had done a Wii version, it would have been toned down, probably linear; it wouldn't have been an open-world game, and so it would have been a very different experience."

    If the DS and PSP can handle Grand Theft Auto III games including dynamic loading (the PSP definitely can, though I only noticed the DS version of GTA was out the other day and I don't feel the urge to dust off my DS to have a go of it), there's no reason at all that the Wii can't do dynamic loading too.

    I agree that the AI would probably need optimisation/cutting back and the graphics would need simplified models and effects, but I expect they probably just don't consider it worth the time it would take to do all of that rather than it being impossible to create a game that approaches the same level of gameplay. Having said that, I haven't played any of the Prince of Persia games since the 2D original (and the HD remake). Perhaps the AI is something rather special, or there are hundreds of enemies to simulate at once? Attempting a situation like the last level of Heavenly Sword with literally thousands of enemies probably wouldn't be possible on the Wii without slowing to a crawl.

    • Re:Bollocks (Score:5, Interesting)

      by metamatic (202216) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:38PM (#28295665) Homepage Journal

      The Jak and Daxter games on the PS2 used dynamic loading, and the PS2 hardware was clearly inferior to the Wii in every respect.

      And check out the reviews of GTA Chinatown Wars for DS, Rockstar clearly put the effort in to think about what the DS could do best, and build the game around that.

      Then again, the Prince of Persia team have a history of crappy ports. Their last Wii title was a horrible port with a frame rate that dropped through the floor during the final battle, even though it was derived from the PS2 game.

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:20PM (#28295385)

    The Wii has the hardware to make very solid, deep, complex games work. That was possible on a 386. Sure, the Wii is going to have "watered-down" graphics, but graphics don't stand in the way of greatness.

    So why would the Wii version have, as mentioned in TFS, a likelihood of being linear and less satisfying for certain players? The Wii has attracted huge numbers of casual gamers, hence it's gigantic install base. Most of these people, however, aren't interested in a very deep experience, because that's never been how the Wii was advertised. I'd wager that the number of potential customers looking for very involved games is much higher among PS3, 360, and of course PC owners than among Wii owners. If you're going to make something for the Wii, it's extremely hard to target this small subset when the casual gamers offer a potentially much more lucrative alternative.

  • Guilty as charged (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:21PM (#28295393) Journal

    I am one of those that doesn't give two shits how many polygons does the animation have. I find shooters to be utterly boring. Finally, since Ubisoft put their mitts on Heroes of Might and Magic, they (IMHO) devastated the game, which used to be fun - now it's just a big 3D graphic masturbation (I hate when I can't rotate the view in any way, to see what is the path a creature can walk on).

    If the typical Wii user is like me, Ubisoft should keep the hell out of it. Ubisoft wouldn't know a fun game if it hit them in the collective head.

  • moron writer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:25PM (#28295467)

    Obviously another journo-troll saying something stupid to get people worked up. Fuck it, I'll bite.

    The gaming arms race has been about fancier graphics, bigger worlds, and more shiny. Consoles are fucking expensive these days! Seriously expensive. Games cost a mint and don't even get me started on the dev costs. GTAIV cost $100 million to make? Insane. Good game but insane. But this is the battle Sony and Microsoft wanted to fight.

    Nintendo said "Hey, is shiny shooter 2.0 any better than shiny shooter 1.0? If the gameplay is pretty much the same but the graphics look better, does that make it more fun? What if all the budget was spent on the shiny and nothing was left to pay for fun?" So their idea was to not go for the high-end. There were two consoles already competing on shiny. Nintendo decided to do something very, very different with the motion controller.

    What's the end result? Games unlike what's available on the other consoles, at least when it's done right. By keeping the specs on the machine down, not going HD, Nintendo said they were emphasizing affordability. It can certainly run games that would have been considered shiny last generation but it can't keep up with the ps3 and 360, it wasn't meant to. Complaining that the Wii can't handle a AAA title originally meant for those two systems is missing the point in the most spectacular fail tradition imaginable.

  • Silk Purse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak.eircom@net> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:27PM (#28295483) Homepage Journal

    The Wii itself is not the problem. It's technical specs are not the problem. The problem is the people making games for it and their overall lackluster approach to the whole process. Nintendo and their marketing are to blame for this.

    When they ported Resident Evil 4 to the Wii with new controls, they managed to make it look worse than the original Gamecube version which could be run from the very same console. This is typical of the kind of shoddy workmanship that is put into most Wii games. Games like Mario Galaxy and Metroid show what the Wii is capable of if effort is put in, but most developers aren't willing to go to such lengths.

    It's not just graphics. The overall quality of Wii games is consistently lower than the average for PS2, DS and Gamecube titles. Games are short, rely too much on motion control, lack additional content and generally fall far below the value for money mark. Universally, developers have decided that Wii owners are 4-10 year olds and soccer moms who will spend $60 and 60 minutes on a game before becoming bored. The way you have to flail your arms about to play some titles, I can't say I really blame them.

    As an experiment, the Wii has both hugely succeeded and epically failed. Yes, it has succeeded in selling game consoles to a massively wider mainstream market. But it has also succeeded in proving that in any industry, the mainstream market does not desire quality. The mainstream wants crud. They spend huge amounts on sugary gop and if you serve them up sirloin they'll complain because they prefer the slop.

    The doom of the Wii has been sealed by its user base and existing game library. It doesn't matter if the next Zelda game surpasses the Ocarina of Time or if the definitive FPS of our time is a Wii exclusive. Most existing Wii owners do not want "Triple A" titles or anything close to it. They want Cooking Mama and Wii Fit and Mario Kart, because that's want Nintendo has told them they want, and that's what they got and thats all they'll ever want now.

    So, no developer is really going to spend the effort making a quality Wii title. They're going to make crud. As times passed, this became a self fulfilling prophecy to the point that normal video game players stopped buying Wii's or sold them. The fate of Madworld, poor as it was, is indicative of this trend. It's now a vicious circle which the Wii, and probably Nintendo, have no hope of ever escaping.

    The Wii could have been a success story. Ultimately, graphics don't count for a awful lot when it comes to quality titles, and the breadth and depth of titles on the PS2 prove what can be done with limited hardware. Alas, the Wii did not take this route. Instead of providing affordable quality, it has provided cheap, and you got what you paid for.

    It didn't have to be like this. The Wii could have been the next PS2. But it isn't. Instead it's the next MySpace.

    • Re:Silk Purse (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Hebbinator (1001954) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @01:33PM (#28296591)

      Your frame of reference is obviously that of a "normal video game player." You are not the Wii's target market, and thus you feel understandably disenfranchised. I just cannot manage to see how appealing to the "mainstream market" ie normal, everyday people, reflects a failure in development. I also think that you drastically underestimate the number of shitty games for the PS2. There were close to 2500 games made for that console, and if you think the average quality was that great, then you have never been in a gamestop bargain bin.

      In writing this comment, I am aware of the fact that there are not as many top-quality wii games as I would have hoped or expected at this stage of development. However, I think that the games designed specifically for the wii are fantastic, and I blame the deficit partially on poor ports and the cost barriers involved when companies decide to develop a title. After all, if you were a developer, would it appear to be more cost effective to program for joysticks and buttons than a novel motion-capture interface? Of course, because the title can be sold to PS3 and Xbox and PC users alike, and your staff likely has more experience in programing for these interfaces.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RyoShin (610051)

      I won't argue against the fact that the specs are inferior to other consoles (anyone who would is insane), nor that the developers are misunderstanding/disregarding the system, but:

      When they ported Resident Evil 4 to the Wii with new controls, they managed to make it look worse than the original Gamecube version which could be run from the very same console.

      Can you cite areas where it looked worse? I played many dozens of hours of the Gamecube version (it was a damn good looking game then), and I've put man

  • Its the games .. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StandAloneMatt (913278) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:35PM (#28295621)
    Did the PS2 persist once the Xbox came and reduced the PS2 to a graphically "watered down" experience. Its not the tech, its the games - the first time Microsoft or Sony show the ingenuity and skill to produce something as intuitive and universal as Wii Sports or Wii Fit, then Nintendo might have some competition in the "casual" arena. Until we see some games and support Natal and whatever the PS3 motion controller is called is nothing but a Sega Activator/Eye Toy/Six-Axis wannabe and not a real factor.
  • by SageinaRage (966293) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:58PM (#28296015)
    If Rockstar managed to release San Andreas on the Playstation 2, a piece of hardware which was inferior to the gamecube, let alone the Wii, then I somehow doubt it's impossible to release an open world style game on the Wii. This basically just sounds like they don't really know what they're doing, and are wasting processor cycles on things they really don't need.
  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Thursday June 11, 2009 @02:01PM (#28297095) Homepage Journal

    It's been mentioned above, in replies mostly, but one of the most overlooked things about the Wii is that it supports GameCube games, controls, and even memory cards!

    There's no reason why they can't make Wii games that require a GameCube control, still being manufactured by 3rd parties and I have a feeling Nintendo still has the technology to make Wavebirds, maybe even versions that are Bluetooth or at minimum plug into the Wiimote. There's no reason they can't put a little Gamecube control pictogram on the front of a game package like they did with Zapper pictograms way back in the NES days.

    I'm not rushing to pick up a Wii, I don't have any "modern" consoles unless you count portables and the PS2. Part of the reason I'm not rushing to a Wii is I really don't want to swing the fool control around. I've played it, I've liked some of the games, but even on my DS I tend to chose titles that don't overly require use of the touch screen. I like traditional input methods. While I was playing Mario Kart for the Wii I was actually longing for my Gamecube Control. I'm not saying the Wiimote/nunchuck don't have their place, I would love to play a lightsabre/sword game with that setup (if they ever actually make a really good one) but overall the Wii will remain the casual gamer system in my mind until they embrace tradition on a few titles. I don't think they'll lose their casual gamers if they make a few hardcore games to, especially if they're plainly marked as such. It may actually improve their market share a bit. As it stands I would rather have a PS3 than a Wii, and I'm a long time Nintendo fan.

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @03:03PM (#28298197)
    Someone earlier identified the developer's "poor AI" argument as a red herring, and they were absolutely spot on, but I would take their line of argumentation in a different direction.

    If anything, the developer needed to call out the lack of power on the Wii in order to hide the fact that if the game had been ported to the Wii, it would have had nothing going for it at all. At least on the PC/PS3/360, it was graphically gorgeous, but the gameplay was lacking, the story was subpar, and the experience was altogether repetitive and boring. Sure, it was fun for awhile, but all of the people I've talked to agree that the game did not live up to the hype and that it was not as fun as past titles in the series (standard disclaimers apply that this is merely anecdotal evidence and not indicative of the experience for everyone).

    Given that the Wii has subpar hardware by modern standards, and this is true for nearly any title on the Wii, the focus falls on solid gameplay and the "fun factor". Solid graphics on other systems can enhance enjoyment, but they rarely create enjoyment. If you stripped away the graphics of the game, such that the worlds had shorter draw distances, the characters could not be as animated, and the polygon count had to be lowered, I'm of the opinion that there just wouldn't be much else to catch and hold the attention of the gamer. For a game that relies so heavily on the graphics as a selling point, not only would the developer need to "water down" the game to make it simply run on the Wii, they would also need to significantly rework the game in order to make it enjoyable, period.

    In a case like that, it's easier to blame the console's lack of power than your development teams' lack of innovation.

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