The Greatest Thing Since “Madden Sliced Bread ’06”

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This writer is of the age where he should be spending a good deal of his time playing video games. But sadly, this is not the case. The last video game he played, if remembered correctly, was five or so years after the last time he played one, and after being defeated, numerous times, in whatever kind of action packed adventure it was that he was involved in, there was a thought that kind of frightened him because he sounded just like his parents: “This is way too complicated. There are too many buttons.” It’s that thinking that made us really appreciate this feature article in Time about the new console Nintendo is developing, sort of the savior to all we with slow reflexes and bad hand-eye coordination. The whole thing is being developed to appeal to everyone, largely by designing the controller to interact in a more approachable manner. If anything, even if this whole thing fails, we absolutely love that, in a bottom-line age, that there’s this company willing to try something more innovative. There’s billions at stake, to be sure, but it seems more like an effort, what they’re doing, than trying to build a box that’ll play “Destroy the Alien Dog People, Part 9” more quickly and with surround sound. Here’s some about the writer’s experience with the new controller device thingie:

It’s a remarkable experience. Instead of passively playing the games, with the new controller you physically perform them. You act them out. It’s almost like theater: the fourth wall between game and player dissolves. The sense of immersion–the illusion that you, personally, are projected into the game world–is powerful. And there’s an instant party atmosphere in the room. One advantage of the new controller is that it not only is fun, it looks fun. When you play with an old-style controller, you look like a loser, a blank-eyed joystick fondler. But when you’re jumping around and shaking your hulamaker, everybody’s having a good time.
After Warioware, we play scenes from the upcoming Legend of Zelda title, Twilight Princess, a moody, dark (by Nintendo’s Disneyesque standards) fantasy adventure. Now I’m Errol Flynn, sword fighting with the controller, then aiming a bow and arrow, then using it as a fishing rod, reeling in a stubborn virtual fish. The third game, and probably the most fun, is also the simplest: tennis. The controller becomes a racket, and I’m smacking forehands and stroking backhands. The sensors are fine enough that you can scoop under the ball to lob it, or slice it for spin. At the end, I don’t so much put the controller down as have it pried from my hands.