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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Motion Controls are a Thing and Gamers Need to Deal With It

The way we play video games has certainly come a long way in the short time the medium has existed. We've got rumble feedback, analog sticks to control the speed at which characters move and it is standard for all controllers to have two or four shoulder buttons. There was once a time we would mock our parents for waving the control around in failed attempts to get more movement the characters. Now? Well, in the past ten or so years, moving the control around in a lot of games is actually required to get the desired response. And for something that has been around for a decade, you'd think more gamers would have gotten used to it. You'd think, anyway.

No developer has been as big on motion controls as Nintendo. Since the Wii made them a huge deal during the sixth console generation, Nintendo has been very amendment at making them an integral part of the gaming experience, much to the annoyance of gamers that cannot stand the very notion that they have to do more besides press buttons to play a game. Some even refer to motion controls as waggle, which I guess is supposed to be some kind of dis or the short term for motion controls, but it really just shows their unwillingness to adapt to a style of play that has been around for a long time now.

ARMS supports motion controls as well as
the option to play without them.
There's one game we can point to that will made very motion controller hater say "See! This is why motion controls are a cancer!" I'm of course talking about 2016's Star Fox Zero. Fans waited ten years for the Star Fox team to return and when the crew finally came back on the Wii U, it was with motion controls and there was almost as much gripping over a certain open world game that is getting perfect scores and a certain YouTube personality that gave said game a 7. Star Fox Zero was by not without it's flaws. I'm one of the few that liked the game but even I have to admit that yes, there certainly was a learning curve to the controls. Star Fox Zero should have been one of those titles were you could have played without motion controls because as much as I do enjoy them, there is no denying that they were detrimental to the game's low sales and those low numbers.

Not all of Nintendo's games demand motion controls. The upcoming ARMS, allows for motion and non motion controls but if ARMS motion controls are much more beneficial to the player than the standard control scheme, a la Splatoon, those that are using their arms to throw punches will probably have a huge leg up over someone that isn't using them. Motion controls in Splatoon are freaking awesome. Aiming is so much faster than using the analog stick and it isn't hard to spot a player that's playing without them as they make for super easy targets. I haven't really played any of the 3D Zelda games that have implemented motion controls outside of Breath of the Wild but aiming a bow in that game just feels so natural and I cannot imagine aiming in a Zelda game or any 3D game without them now.

There's a reason a lot of gamers prefer FPS on PC: the control setup far more optimal on a keyboard and mouse than it is with a controller. That isn't to say FPS games cannot be enjoyed with a controller. It's just that aiming and shooting is much more intuitive. Rail shooters saw a revival on the Wii thanks to motion controls. With the Wii Remote, there was no need to have a gun peripheral to shoot up mutants because your standard controller made pointing and shooting as easy as breathing. (Man, I wish House of the Dead: Overkill sold better)

I get that there are times where you want to just sit back on the couch, hold the controller and press the buttons. But the thing is, motion controls are not a gimmick. The control pad has been a gaming staple for over three decades now. Rumble, shoulder buttons, analog sticks, all of those things are firmly cemented as a part of the way we play games. Of course every game that uses them doesn't do it perfectly. 3D camera angles still aren't flawless but they are a heck of a lot better than when they were first introduced. Motion controls are not going away, no matter how much gamers want them to.

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