Ah, the first swing of Wii tennis - hard to forget that giddy feeling, eh? The Wii motion sensing remote ushered in a new era for gaming, opening up the market for wannabe players who long considered themselves all thumbs. Now with word of Microsoft's motion-sensing Project Natal camera grabbing headlines, Nintendo seems to be on a new kick - wacky peripherals.
Lots of rumors this week about patents and slides that show both an inflatable beanbag style Wii controller (for horseback riding games) and a cycling/pedaling controller too. These would join the Wii balance board (already powering hits like Wii Fit), the Wii wheel (for racing), and the Wii Light Gun (Resident Evil) – and of course all that Rock Band gear too.
So this begs the question – how much plastic can we have cluttering our living rooms? To me, there’s a limit, and this is a boon for Project Natal, which does away with peripherals entirely. Then again, there’s something nice and solid about a lifelike controller, something you can put your hands – or feet – on. Nintendo should focus less on the gimmicky add-ons and more on the cool games that can exploit the existing hardware.
David Kushner is the author of many books, including Masters of Doom, Jonny Magic & the Card Shark Kids, Levittown, The Bones of Marianna, and Alligator Candy. A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, he has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine.