Zelda, Nintendo and the Curious Case of Perfect Motion

Zelda, Nintendo and the Curious Case of Perfect Motion

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a brilliant game. It’s been heralded by countless people as the game ‘the Wii was made for’ but one has to wonder: why did it take so long for the Wii console to deliver such a title?

The Nintendo Wii, once possibly the most sought-after gaming console on the market and almost as rare as goldust during the first year of its release, has in recent months fallen on significantly harder times.  Popularity is waning to but a smidgeon of what it once was, software releases have steadily dried up and the once innovative motion controls look like a joke after countless waggle-filled games that appeal to the casual market frequent shelves everywhere and generally just gather dust.

Then along comes The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and shows just how much potential the Wii console could have had if Wii Motion Plus was used to the fullest instead of becoming a complete afterthought.  See, for me, the Nintendo Wii in my bedroom had not been touched for a long while until Zelda came around; I’m a diverse gamer, but I can’t bring myself to play most of the titles that come out for the Wii without a struggle, so I was delighted that Zelda was on the horizon in order to revive my interest in the console.

Zelda’s Greatest Adventure Reveals Nintendo’s Wasted Potential

Revive it, it did. Skyward Sword is intuitive. It’s dynamic. It’s full to bursting with unique characteristics that use the Wii’s motion technology in excellently crafted ways, making it indeed feel like the game the Wii was built for. Why though, did it take so long for a title to use Nintendo’s motion controls to the fullest?  Something like Zelda should of came along years ago and showed us how exciting the Wii could really be, instead of being released basically right at the end of the console’s life cycle as Nintendo prepares to start the release of the Wii U.

It saddens me, it really does. If more games like Skyward Sword had come out years ago, it is so much more likely that more and more of us would be using our motion controls and enjoying it, rather than sitting on your bed with a vacant expression waggling away. Yes, I did say waggling. Not the other thing.

I’m not getting at Nintendo; their strategy for the Wii has always been the casual market, and a great portion of that is satisfied enough with bog standard motion controls that don’t work too well and don’t provide a deep experience that uses them in clever ways. That’s all well and good, but in doing that, Nintendo started to essentially ‘turn-off’ the hardcore Nintendo fan who lusted for the day when the Wii would fight back and unleash a slew of titles that innovate and provide gaming experiences quite unlike any other. Alas, it didn’t happen. I still remember the excitement I felt wen I first tried the Wii, but that’s all but nearly fizzled out over time as I got more and more exasperated with waiting for something to truly use the platform to the very best of it’s abilities.

That is why, as good as it is, it is an almighty shame to see Skyward Sword come out so late in the Wii’s life cycle. It’s revived my interest again in not only the Wii platform, but also the Wii’s motion controls, proving to me that when it’s done right, using motion controls helps to create one of the most unique and satisfying control schemes I’ve seen throughout my entire gaming career.   It just feels as if there’s so very much wasted potential that will just be cast aside as the new, bigger and better Wii comes out probably later this year.

Sure, the Wii’s had some good games. The Super Mario Galaxy series, Donkey Kong, both Zeldas and even Metroid Prime (but not Other M – bleurgh).  They’ve all been great  games in their own right, but only one game out of this list has truly pushed the boundaries of the system and delivered a stellar motion experience, and that game, ladies and gentlemen, is the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

I really hope Nintendo is preparing a much better strategy for their upcoming Wii U, as this is the time when they really need to push the boat out and make sure their games on their system are coming up with interesting and intuitive ways to use the technology, instead of floundering for years on end in an endless sea of sub-par titles that look completely inferior to a stellar title that comes right out as the last few dying breaths of a console begin to be exhaled.

 

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