5. a very nintendo chinese new year

20 February 2018

 Did you know gamefaq's has guides for wii sports? Don't giggle yet, the guides do usefully explain unlockable content

Some relatives visit our continent/island for chinese new year. I made them play games. Ever grateful for test subjects.

grandparents: Wii Sports

They like wii tennis and can’t figure out wii bowling. A neat novelty but nothing else.

They expect something to happen, and when it doesn’t happen it’s disappointing. They do try again a few times.

Issue: they didn’t understand that pressing the wii remote’s B button was akin to the release of a bowling bowl. Also it’s unfamiliar and most of all, difficult.

(WOOPS! Wii sports resort’s bowling had an automatic mode so that you don’t have to press the buttons. Ahh, what a difference a full range of motion sensing makes!)

Since we didn’t have time to let relatives try wii sports resort’s bowling, I have no observations! But the automatic mode is definitely what it needed.

Anyway time for a little side story.

A long time ago my late grandmother wasn’t able to swing a wii remote hard enough… but at the same time additional sensitivity menus can confuse the rest of the playerbase.

Players could be young enough to not know what “sensitivity” is.

I mean, we could have some kind of adaptive sensitivity:

if there are constant missed swings for a tennis racquet but a reasonably distinct register occuring within a window of being able to hit the ball, the game could notice a high probability that the player is indeed swinging but without sufficient force

it’s then the game’s responsibility to change the sensitivity to make peak of this not-randomly occurring signal to cross the threshold of actually swinging the tennis racquet

Talk to me. Tell me if this seems good or bad.

I also played some wii boxing, in a rare moment where I had time to play something instead of make others play. I wanted to remember what this game was like.

My nunchuck didn’t fire off punches in wii boxing as easily as the remote did. Hmm. Either my nunchuck is getting seriously old or its a hardware limitation.

Twisting the remote doesn’t do anything either (since there’s no wii motion plus). But it’s an important part of actual punching. I know the game is not for the current me.

wii sports tennis idea: have more than 1 ball in a silly multiball mode.

  • It's such a simple way to have expanded gameplay in an exciting way.
  • 2/4 players have a ball to serve and then they go into their normal racquet swinging mode.
  • We should probably allow the forward player be allowed to return serves. The rules of tennis shouldn't apply to multiball.
  • I haven't thought about scoring however (each ball is a point VS most balls in a single session grants one point).
  • I Guess That: This seems a good idea for kids, but older folks will think "that's not tennis"

What would also be cool is if wii remote support exceeded 4, you could just put more than 4 people on the court. Its good messy fun! Probably.

parents: Wii Sports Resort

As I mentioned earlier: I don’t cover every game because we didn’t play every game.

Adults are pretty good at swordplay: speed slice with wii sports resort! The 1v1 mode however, is not for them. They don’t have a taste for battle.

Didn’t play the swordplay-showdown mode because that’s single player. Although personally I think it’s one of the greatest game experiences in the world. I have no suggestion I really love that mode. 

Archery’s buttons are weird, and the nunchuck does make it slightly complex for adults.

Teenage friends have gotten very competitive at the archery game. The adults however, rather moved onto basketball, having played basketball before. They tried shooting one arrow but the controls Got In The Way and thus the rest of the game BEHIND the controls held no appeal

Basketball didn’t seem like basketball. Because basketball is also about letting go of what you’re holding and roaming too. But the remote just does static dribbling and shooting the hoop. Not a success. They bored of the game at this point.

Potential alternate archery controls:

if the player possesses 2 remotes with wii-motion-plus, perhaps they could literally just use both remotes as their hands and let the back hand use A+B to pinch the bow.

if you play even a 2/3/4 player game, you might as well pass around dual remotes since nobody EVER shoots at the same time.

One last issue with wii sports resort: Needing to recalibrate. But it’s a fair price to pay to enjoy the best games in the collection. The only problem is that I see people unable to understand the point of calibration. And some people don’t even try pointing the remote at the screen, expecting to only ever use motion controls.

brief tangent: skyward sword

Wii sports resort’s swordplay is so good! Why did skyward sword only have 8-directional slicing when wii sports resort did omnidirectional cutting so well?? Skyward sword’s cutting might have been simpler, but it felt way more shallow.

The problem about skyward sword having only 8 directional cutting (but still a free moving sword) was that I felt my sword swings were unnecessarily constrained.

And I did not feel excited for future enemies/puzzles involving sword attacks, since this limits the design potential for dealing with enemies. 

The deku plants you need a directional slice for could simply have wider bounds for an acceptable slice (which would have been the equivalent geometry for the range of slices that get collapsed into 1 of the 8 directions)

Anyway lets get back to chinese new year. Theres one group of people who played games the most on the day and obviously that would be……..

final group: the kids (10 and under)

The greatest challenge. These kids are native chinese and cannot read the english on our consoles! 

In addition, their parents restrict them from playing games. They have little to no “gamer intuition”.

With this pressure I started up NintendoLand on wii-u.

1st attempt: NintendoLand Pikmin attraction

  • I imagine the visuals appealed to them
  • They had a favourite among the default mii options
  • They don't understand the directional pad as the pikmin
  • They found something random happening was amusing
  • They didn't really understand what was going on.

Given those observations I knew exactly what to do

Some adults were saying “you should put on mario or something”. After seeing the kids NOT understand the idea of moving with a directional pad I wasn’t confident.

Something else drew my eye anyway.

2nd attempt: NintendoLand Donkey Kong’s Crash Course attraction

  • Single player but I recall me and 5 friends had a blast taking turns to try and beat classic megaman
  • Tilt controls only. Even if the pad is lying in an non-optimal direction it still works
  • They tried to take turns... from each other.
  • There is the appeal of "OH YOU HAVE TO DO IT THIS WAY" when you watch another player and get the urge to play
  • They learnt nuances to beating the game at a decent speed
  • They did not finish the game
  • Their distance through the course improved at a reasonably constant pace
  • They had to be told buttons to press but afterwards could do it on their own
  • They only needed to see how to reset the game after a game over twice and then were proactive to get into a new game
  • They struggled to understand analog stick controls for a while
  • They wanted to go back to this game after trying other games.

The failure - improvement - reward loop in the game was working. Visions of a grinning Shigeru Miyamoto flood my mind confirming what happened before my eyes. The flow of an improvement loop. The lofty design goal prioritised in Kyoto.

We tried other games. They do not like analog sticks. Once trained on motion controls, they started swinging N64 controllers. Mario Kart 8 takes some control away but it’s understandable if you’re first trying out the game.

We take the idea of holding the accelerator or run button down for granted now. When people start playing games, this might not immediately click.

However I hadn’t noticed explicitly until now that my sister and I had the unfair advantage of also being forced to play piano as children. The idea of multiple buttons, in sequence, in alternation, and synchronized in timing was already being taught.


Anyway to close I leave you with something to ponder if you wish.

Of the games you remember fondly: How many games don’t use directional sticks, directional buttons, or arrow keys/wasd??

I don’t know about your answer, but thinking about it makes me want to squeeze more gameplay ideas out of touch screens.


Have fun out there, won't you?

[5. a very nintendo chinese new year]