Topic: Do you REALLY want a realistic game?

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I've been thinking about this for a while, and reading the thread about Wii Music and the amazing things people are doing with it, recording the songs in ways that totally change the original, only confirmed these thoughts...

There seem to be some games emerging that will be enjoyed by people into the "theme" of the game in real life, more than gamers in general. Wii Music had many bad reviews because to really enjoy the game you have to be into music a lot, and will get the most out of it if you understand what's going on behind the actual game. It's not a traditional game in the sense that there are no goals but the ones you set yourself, and for people that like making music or are willing to learn about music, it is actually very enjoyable. I know I did enjoy it a lot (I'm a musician too) although my disc broke a while ago and have not been playing it for quite a while.

In order to get the maximum out of this game, you need to know (or be willing to learn) about a real life skill and how it works in the REAL world.

There are other examples too. Wii Ski & Snowboard (I missed the first of the series) is a game I'm enjoying immensely since I got it a few days ago. First, for people that know how to ski in real life, by allowing to invert the controls on the wii balance board, it actually manages to come pretty close to the feeling of real skiing, and for people that like skiing that is enough. If in real life I enjoy just going up and down the slopes of a ski resort, why wouldn't I enjoy a similar experience, if compelling enough, on a console? I can see how someone that just wants a racing game they can pick up and play with their current gaming skills, will be disappointed. Skiing is not something intuitive and takes quite a while to master, and someone that doesn't know how to ski in real life, will have to be willing to make an effort to really enjoy this game.

Because if you've never done any skiing, you'll find it hard to change your mindset and realize that when you turn (in real life skiing) you actually set your weight on the foot opposite to the direction you want to turn (so, put your weight on the right foot and you'll turn left). You also don't really "lean" towards the turns (just a bit to counter inertia) but instead you try to maintain your body straight while your legs do the actual turning. When you actually mimic the movements you'd do skiing in real life, the game works very well and that makes it very rewarding (leaning too much will also make it very hard to change direction quickly, so you'll have a very hard time on harder challenges and runs).

So, getting a high level of enjoyment from this game requires some previous knowledge (or at least requires the player to spent some time learning the more realistic controls). Of course, they did include more "arcade" controls, and you might find the game is easier this way, but it loses a lot, and I can see how people would find it not too enjoyable this way because the real skiing experience is lost.

It's a bit like in Mario Kart Wii. You can steer with the wheel or you can steer with the analog stick on the nunchuck. The wheel feels very good and realistic enough, but the stick is just better to control your car. If I'm looking for a compelling driving experience, the wheel is actually required. If I'm just playing an arcade racing game, the stick will work better. But cars aren't controlled with a stick in real life... That's why even though the technology to make a realistic driving sim is there, we don't see many games like that because for people that don't have those skills in real life it is just frustrating... Punch Out Wii seems to be a bit similar in this regard. Sure, it's quicker to push buttons on a gamepad than punch with your fist, and the puzzle nature of the game leans itself very well to the classic controls, but for someone that likes both the arcade and puzzlelike nature of the game and has real fighting skills, the game will be much more enjoyable using the motion controls. It will be harder, because timing is harder this way, but with enough practice the rewards will be greater. Of course, you need to be willing to make the effort to learn something new...

Now that the WiiMotionPlus has been released, we might start seeing more realistic games that will require a previous skill to be enjoyed. I'm not sure how the new tennis games play, but I could see how a game that really uses the 1:1 motions of the Wimote+MotionPlus can start to be too hard for someone that doesn't know how to play tennis. The same goes for golf or any other sport. Gamers will complain that those games are too hard, because their previous gaming skills will not work on those games. Who'll be the "hardcore" gamer then???



"Life is like a video game: Great graphics, crap story." ~ Anon.

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Hmmm. Interesting topic. I know that for me personally, I'm interested in the new Tiger Woods golf game because the M+ is suppose to make it more realistic. I've never been interested in the other 9 games in this series or really any other sports game for that matter (besides Wii Sports), but it gives me a way to try out golf in the comfort and privacy of my own home. Also, I think the new tennis game might be interesting to try out.

I do think video games can make learning a sport a little easier though. They can make it so that as long as you are doing close to the right thing it will behave correctly. It could also have different difficultly levels to allow you to gradually learn how to move your body correctly.



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