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Saturday, May 31, 2008

A cool (and free) technical idea for the Nintendo Wii

This morning I was having a workout on Wii Fit (here's my initial review). My personal regimen right now is some strength training, some yoga and a lot of hard aerobic activity, followed by the "fun" stuff like the Ski Jump. That and the Ski Slalom might be the most addictive activities of the entire package... but Lisa swears that Bubble River will have you just as hooked.

Part of the aerobics that I'm doing right now is Jogging the long distance. It's really clever how this works: you don't use the Wii Balance Board at all. You just put the Wii Remote in your pocket (or if your pants lack pockets you can just hold the Remote in your hand) and then you start jogging in place. If you keep a brisk pace while swinging your arms in good wide circles you can work up a serious sweat. And all the while, the Wii is picking up your relative speed by how much the Remote in your pocket or hand jiggles about.

It's this use of the Wii's sensing technology that got me thinking...

Imagine a first-person shooter game like Doom or Halo for the Wii. Imagine having one Wii Remote that you use to aim like a gun at whatever it is on screen that you intend to shoot at. Now imagine two other Wii Remotes, one in each side pocket of a pair of pants that you are wearing. And to play the game you have to literally run through the map shooting at whatever bad guys there are while running and possibly even ducking for cover. The Wii will be picking up all of this movement as you play, including changes in body position and change of direction/speed (your velocity) as you run through the map. It would be like putting yourself directly in a game such as Gears of War... but instead of using a standard hand-held controller, your entire body - from your toes to your trigger finger - would control your in-game persona.

Can you imagine how much fun that would be? To say nothing of the workout that a person would be getting while probably not even realizing it.

There would be a few minor drawbacks for such a system though, but I think those might be fairly negligible. The most obvious is that to work like this the player must own three Wii Remotes. And there could be no multiplayer per this system. But with some minor tweaking, Nintendo programmers or whatever other company that makes this game could add the option of playing with only one Wii Remote along with a gun accessory and the Nunchuk add-on, and then possibly four players could do this at the same time. Or one Wii Remote could be placed in a pocket and pick up running while the Nunchuk controls movement and the Wii Remote operates aiming and firing, in which case two friends really could be running around shooting at each other.

That might even rival Boxing on Wii Sports for two-player fun on the Nintendo Wii!

If anyone at Nintendo or some other video game studio reads this and wants to play with it, feel free to do so. I'm not looking for any compensation for the idea. It just seemed like too neat a concept to not put out there and see if somebody could work with it. If this ever does become a Wii game, I would absolutely be the first in line to buy a copy (provided that everything else in the game was well-designed too, like the engine and graphics and sound and the story, etc. :-).