Before I get in to this post, let me say that despite my skepticism about the Wii, I did hope that when I finally got to play, controller(s) in hand(s), it would feel perfectly natural, and everything Nintendo claimed it would be.
Well, after spending about a half hour with Monkey Ball, I must say I am somewhat crestfallen. Played the single player standard game for a bit, and it felt okay. Not spectacular, but I could (mostly) control it. Then I played some minigames. I’m hoping that the minigames are just bad games, with poor use of the controller. With almost no exception, the minigames were hard to control, and there seemed to be no direct relation between the motions you were doing and what was happening on screen.
This is when I realized the Wii’s weakness: People expect more from the games than in most cases they can actually do. And it’s not unreasonable, it’s a natural extension of the built in reflexes that Nintendo is trying to capitalize on. When I play, and moving the controller is how you play, the reflexes to do certain things are there by default. When they don’t work, when the game doesn’t support them… it makes the controls feel broken.
This is absolutely a player problem, but I have a feeling I will not be alone. You get in to a groove of moving the controller, and then you want something to happen on-screen, and you move the controller in an intuitive fashion… and nothing happens. Or the wrong thing happens.
Ultimately, for developers to really get the most out of this console, everything that a player will attempt to do probably needs to be supported. And I know that’s a tall order… but I don’t know what else will work.
I hope that ultimately other games will make a better impression. I’m still hoping to try out Zelda at some point. I’m hoping it doesn’t feel as broken as Monkey Ball.