There are a complete of key differences. Physically disabled people make up a large part of gaming’s existing customer base. I realize that the idea of motion controlled gaming is to expand gaming beyond their traditional customer but it seems weird that they would try to expand their market by excluding people off the bat. Also there were many games and demos shown that only used hands but they still required you to stand. Also the Kinect couldn’t deal with someone sitting down or with people of nonstandard body types. With the new xbox interface, who really wants to stand each time they want to navigate a DVD?
Also with jump rope and skateboards, adaptions can be made. You aren’t going to be able to adapt for everyone but you can include many disabled people. Even game controller can be moded. With Kinect, there is no adaption. Also the move appears to have issues. You have to hold it a specific way. Something the Wii doesn’t have an issue with as much.
Fortunately, most indications are that motion controlled games have little or nothing to do with regular games. Outside of some questionable head tracking features, I don’t see where the two game types intersect at all. Most people who weren’t able to play DDR in a way that was even remotely entertaining before will still no longer be able to play DDR. Motion controlled games live or die by how enjoyable it is to do the motion that it’s asking you to do - the game itself is, thus far, largely ancillary to the experience and serves only to enable the dancing or punching or dodging or whatever.
There are some things that some disabilities prevent you from doing. I’m pretty sure that the games that people with those disabilities can already play now will still be playable in the ways they are now - the industry is just expanding into a new area where some natural exclusion will take place.
Regarding adaptation, I’d simply point out that controller based games, which are the vast majority of games, already fill that role for disabled folks playing video games. I don’t disagree that, where it makes sense for the game/application, sitting control should be supported by Kinect (and probably will be), but when the entire point of a game (Dance Central, for example) is to be standing up and moving one’s arms and legs, there really isn’t any way to make that accessible in a meaningful way for a disabled person. Railing against these sort of games seems to be railing against the existence of disability itself.
I was talking to this with a close friend of mine the other night. He has muscular dystrophy, needs to be in a motorized wheelchair, and has trouble lifting his arms. His big concern is that normal computer games, that were traditionally controlled by a keyboard and mouse, or controller are going to incorporate motion control in the future. It’s already happening with the Wii. He’s played every Zelda ever, and is a big fan of them. He immediately poo-pooed the new Zelda. Partly because it looks in no way innovative, but also because the raising the nunchuck to raise the shield would be difficult for him. There’s no reason that that couldn’t be mapped to a controller. And it seems like games will more and more use those kind of control systems.
Growing up with a disability, games were (and still are) a huge part of his life. Games let him compete on the same level as someone who is able bodied. He could play with his brothers when he was younger at the same level as anyone else. Now that motion control is being integrated into what were standard games, it’s going to change the playing field.
And you have to remember, disabled people aren’t just simple paraplegics, who just can’t stand up. A lot of people have motor control problems, or simply don’t have the strength to use motion control. For a minute or so, it’s manageable, but a marathon gaming session is just impossible. For a lot of people they could clamp onto a controller and have their fingers hover over the button, needing bigger movements, or precise movements will be quite difficult for a lot of people.
And his biggest complaint is that there seems to be no acknowledgement of people with disabilities from the games companies. Disabled people are huge supporters of their industry, even going back to the early days with muds and moos where they could present themselves as able bodied avatars. If there was ackowledgement and some effort made to include them with alternatives in games that have no real cause for motion control like Zelda, or the other Wii stable it’d go a long way.
Thanks, Buceph. Is there a tendency to move motion sensing into other areas though? I suppose the Wii’s success has a lot of places tempted, but there still seem to be a ton of games (most even) that use traditional controller mechanics.
However, I have noticed that DS games are starting to force stylus use. It’s often awkward too. I’m playing Glory of Heracles, and it seems to force me to use the Stylus more than I would like.
Yes, the game industry is very bad about this. I don’t know how much this has changed recently, but it’s surprising how little consideration is given to something as common as color blindness, which affects about 8% of males, which means that’s a huge portion of the traditional gaming demographic.
The misapplication of motion controls on the Wii is a long discussion that extends beyond its impact on the disabled, but the simple fact of the matter is that as motion control gets more accurate, a lot more people are going to find out that they are functionally “disabled” when it comes to, for instance, throwing a punch or swinging a sword. I expect that fad to die off. I’m right there with him in wishing that more games would map to a regular controller on the Wii, because then I would use the console a lot more than I do now. Hopefully Monster Hunter is the start of a trend. Games that we’re used to playing that try to use motion control in any integral fashion aren’t going to succeed as they reduce the level of abstraction between the motion and the events on-screen. I think that motion control games will ultimately be about moving - it will exclude people who can’t move in the way that it wants them to, but if we end up where I think we will the games themselves will be nothing that a disabled person would have ever thought he would have been included in anyway.
I honestly hadn’t considered that sort of case, where a long time gamer would be unable to play the next iteration in a series because it requires some sort of precise motion control. That is a massive bummer. I don’t see motion control ever usurping traditional controllers, but I suppose with the Wii Nintendo has excluded a lot of people that had been fans for a long time. It’s too bad that they can’t allow the use of a Classic Controller where it would make sense, as it would in your Zelda example.
Don’t quote me, but weren’t Nintendo kind of gently forcing people to do motion control? If I didn’t have to do a game with motion control that more than adequately maps to existing control schemata, why wouldn’t I just do that? I think that some of the bad motion control is an outgrowth of the fact that classic controllers are not ubiquitous (they don’t come packed in, so you never know somebody has one unless you sell them one with your game), but did Nintendo make a rule that says that any game you make MUST work with the controls we know people have, or did I just make that up?
Because this conversation doesn’t belong in the podcast thread where it originally started.
The easiest fix is allow alternate controls. For example; Super Smash Brothers Wii. You can use the Wii remote, the Wii remote with the nunchuck, the classic controller, or a gamecube controller if you have one around. I can’t figure Nintendo out. Sometimes their games bend over backwards to offer a buffet of accessibility options and other times, they don’t. Sony doesn’t seem to make any effort for or against accessibility and Microsoft seems to by aggressively against accessibility. They have repeatedly turn down companies wanting to make official controllers for the disabled, having reprogrammable buttons are against Microsoft 360 certification, and one of their last updates disabled the commercial Ben Heck controller. To be fair, they were actually just blocking unapproved third party controller but since they won’t approve anything outside the standard 360 design, it is effectively a ban.
Same here. I have contacted Nintendo USA and they are very open to helping the disabled use their products. Nintendo even at one time employed a guy who did nothing but make custom controllers for the disabled. A majority of Wii games can be controlled with one hand using the Wii remote in any position. Even lying down. Also many games even allow you to use standard game cube and classic controllers. The problem is most of the good Wii games are requiring the Wii remote with the nunchuck. Even when, like Zelda, it seems that Nintendo allowing the use of a regular controller wouldn’t alter the game. I speculate that Nintendo is pressing for more motion controlled games from their internal studios and second party developers because that is the only thing the Wii has over other platforms.
I didn’t say the sky was falling. Even though I can only use one hand, there are very few games on the 360, ps3, or pc I can’t play and I think that will continue into the distant future. I expect both Sony’s and Microsoft’s current motion efforts to crash and burn or at a minimum, never have a killer app. Still it is worth talking about because it shows the mind set of each company and it does affect millions of gamers.
That’s my story as well. I’ve played every Mario game ever made (excluding some of the BS sports titles) but Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 are impossible.
I haven’t seen nor heard Nintendo forcing any third party developer to use motion controls or not use motion controls. As I wrote before, I believe they are pushing their internal teams to use motion controllers to distinguish the Wii.