Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Control Pad Stress Test: The Wii Remote

Whenever a new game console is released to market, one of its key features is the control pad. Consumers look at ergonomics, button layout, and even aesthetic design, in addition to functionality issues such as the Wii remote's motion-sensitive inputs. Now, after an unprecedented year-long study, Insult Swordfighting is proud to present the results of our intensive stress test of the control pads for the three major game consoles. Today: the Wii remote.

The Game: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

The Scenario: Link must escort a carriage across Hyrule, fending off attacks from creatures both land- and air-based. This sequence requires Link to control his horse, Epona, while shooting at his enemies with the Wii remote-controlled bow-and-arrow, and putting out fires on the carriage with his boomerang. Failure results in the scenario restarting.

The Stress Test: Experimenter leapt up from his chair and released the Wii remote in a sharp downward motion, simulating disgust and frustration. Although the first-generation wrist strap did break, it likely retarded the remote's acceleration. This was a variable that Insult Swordfighting Labs unfortunately did not foresee. It should also be mentioned that subsequent stress tests have failed to defeat the newer, hardier wrist strap.

Impact on Aesthetics: Hardly any. An almost imperceptible separation appeared on one side of the casing, where the front and back portions of the exterior meet. The finish was not chipped or scuffed in any way.

Impact on Performance: Mild. Since performing the test, a loose particle is audible inside the Wii remote when it is shaken vigorously or upended. For a brief span of time, the B button had a tendency to stick in the depressed position, but the problem seems to have resolved itself. No discernable impact on pointer and motion-sensing functions.

The Verdict: Unclear. As stated above, the effect of the wrist strap on the stress test is unquantifiable with current data recording techniques. Additionally, newer Wii remotes come with a thick, rubbery casing that did not factor into this test, but would likely increase its durability. Nevertheless, for something that feels in your hand like it cost six cents to make, Insult Swordfighting researchers were suitably impressed that the stress test resulted in no apparent loss of function.

Tomorrow: The Xbox 360 control pad.


Dagbert said...

"...likely retarded the remote's acceleration..."

hahaha sweet.

Oh, and the next time I chuck a controller, I'll just say I "released it at a sharp downward angle."

Anonymous said...

the "loose particle" is part of the rumble mecanism, you moron...

Anonymous said...

No need for insults...

As for the wiimote feeling like it only cost 6 cents, wth? It's as high-quality a device as you're ever likely to encounter. Just checking the battery compartment will tell you that, with its powerful spring-loaded contacts.

I have 'released' both sixaxises and wiimotes 'at a sharp downward angle' myself though, and they've both exploded into roughly half a million pieces that skittered all over the room and in under every piece of furniture. (Note to self: Ice Climber is NOT a fun game now that you're not fourteen years old anymore...)

I suppose I simply express a lot more frustration than your tester(s) did... :-P I've not thrown a 360 pad yet, but I did try to bend one apart after getting spanked in gears of war (stupid game, totally overrated). It flexed a bit, but didn't break.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, so true about that ice climber! I recently downloaded an emulator in PC, and only :ode Runner seems ok. Wish i could download Mario Bros (not allowed) :(

Mitch Krpata said...

@dagbert: I've found that using scientific wording makes me feel less dumb as I'm sitting there with a mangle chunk of plastic in my hand, thinking about how much it'll cost to buy another new controller.

@anon 1:14: The Wii remote -- and moreso the nunchuk -- has always felt light and insubstantial to me, although obviously it's quite a feat of engineering. I just prefer the heft of something like the 360 pad.

Is it just me, or has the advent of wireless controllers made it much easier to start whipping these things around the room?

Unknown said...

@Mitch: "Is it just me, or has the advent of wireless controllers made it much easier to start whipping these things around the room?"

That's because the "old" wired controllers would retard the controller's acceleration just like the wrist strap.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that wiimotes are substantially resistant to blows with human skulls, jaws, and the general crotch area.

The strap although most of the time limits the distance of effective damage, if tied loosly or carelessly when bowling or playing baseball can stilll cause quite damaging reverse uppercuts.

The first things i did when i got my wii, standing next to my friend, was hang on to the nunchuk and swing the remote underhanded towards him, (fairly fast) and being that it wasn't very heavy, but extremely compact and solid, with the cord between chuk and mote being just the right height, was far more than damaging enough to bring him to his knees.

We've al;so actually overtossed in bowling, and "punched" the roof

All this is before the weird spongy wiimote condoms came to me.

DanPonjican said...

I wonder how many have broke panel TVs to date from over zealous use of the Wii remotes!