A few weeks ago I got to visit Neoteric and check out the Nintendo Wii that he has been obsessing over... It was immediately obvious to me why Cartman had so much trouble waiting for the Wii to be released that he decided to cryonically freeze himself.
The Wii is simply fun, even in spite of the crude graphics. The act of actually performing the action the game simulates has a huge impact on your emotional reaction to the activity. I bowled almost exactly as poorly as I do in a real bowling alley, and I haven't had more fun playing tennis on a computer since the wheel controllers on the Atari 2600. I immediately decided that I had to have one for Christmas. I told my family. Unfortunately, several million kids across the country had the exact same revelation at the exact same time, and apparently Nintendo only made about 400,000 of them for post release North American sales during the holiday season, so enter the crazy feeding frenzy. I won't be getting a Wii this year.
Its worth pondering whether this is a good thing. One of the reasons that the Wii makes sense is its $250 price point. I'm not enough of a gamer to drop $600 on a next gen system. I've always waited a few years for prices to go down. However, the main advantage of the Wii is the controller, which could be duplicated on one of the more advanced systems. One of my roommates owns an X-Box 360. The graphics are immersive in their own right. Oblivion is possibly worth the price of admission if you are a technologist. You walk around in this world and every leaf on every tree and every blade of grass is individually drawn and independently moving with the wind. The world is so detailed and engrossing its like reading Tolkien.
When I imagine combining the two it strikes me that the fidelity of the Wii controller might not be up to the standards of the more advanced systems. A number of my friends have been scratching their heads about the use of IR as well as two kinds of Accelerometers. This article at Ars explains the situation. The accelerometers simply aren't accurate enough to handle drift, so the IR triangulation is also needed to gain context for pointing activities. They can capture motion, but they can't capture absolute positioning or absolute orientation.
That fact hasn't stopped people from over reacting and playing the games as if they were real. The fact is that none of these gam... [ Read More (0.4k in body) ]