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Recently, I was watching a number of videos and reading a lot about motion controls; particularly about the different hardware, common perceptions of motion controls, and about the ways in which motion controls have survived in the post-Wii era, and the main thing that came up was gyro aim.

For the Wii, the one aspect of the motion controls that seemed to be the most widely-appreciated among players for more standard games was the IR pointer, as it didn't require much movement and it made aiming as fast and easy as it is with a mouse; arguably even faster and easier than on a mouse because of the lack of friction. For some examples of what I mean: to this day, the Wii port of Resident Evil 4 seems to be widely considered to be the best version of the game due to the pointer aiming, I came across a number of reviews of Twilight Princess where the reviewers greatly preferred aiming the bow and clawshots in the Wii version compared to the GameCube version, and I similarly saw a number of people saying that the Metroid Prime trilogy on the Wii was the best way to play those games because it put the IR pointer aiming in 3 into the first two games.

In fact, a common trend seemed to be that games would be made with a standard controller (i.e. stick aiming) in mind, then the aiming would be remapped to the pointer, and aiming sections that were meant to be difficult were instead trivial. Perhaps the biggest case of this occurred during the development of an on-rails shooter game I previously never heard of called Sin and Punishment: Star Successor. An Iwata Asks revealed that the game was originally being made with a standard controller in mind, then it was converted into a Wii game during development. When Treasure: the company that made the game, gave it to Nintendo for playtesting, they (and Nintendo) fully expected Nintendo's playtesters to say it was too difficult. Instead, Nintendo's playtesters said it was too easy, and the game's difficulty ultimately was ramped up to account for the pointer aim before it was released. In the Iwata Asks, Iwata was very amused to learn about this; apparently saying to the person that told him about this, "Of all things, you told none other than Treasure to make [one of their games] more difficult?"

Of course, the IR pointer wasn't carried over into later hardware, so instead, motion aiming on Nintendo consoles has been done through gyro aim, and it seems to be the one form of motion controls that's widely used across a lot of games on the Wii U and the Switch: the Wind Waker and Twilight Princess remakes, Breath of the Wild, Splatoon, almost every third-party shooter game that has a Switch port, and even Mario Odyssey (when controlling one of the tank enemies). And it's easy to see why it's so prevalent: it is a lot easier for many to do finer aiming with a gyro than just with a control stick, as it's functionally more intuitive to move the controller a little bit than to make small corrections with a stick, and it can be easily made an option that can be turned off if someone prefers to just use a control stick for aiming.

 

However, all this made me wonder: is aiming really the only area in more standard gameplay where motion controls could be better than buttons & control sticks, or is there something else where motion controls would improve standard gameplay that normally would be done through button and stick controls? What do you think?

Edited by vanguard333

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Motion controls are meant to go with the natural movement of our bodies, and I find that it makes tracking and aiming a hell of a lot easier than with a control stick. When aiming with a control stick, I tend to start and stop my aiming a lot, and it just doesn't feel as intuitive as with a mouse. With a mouse, I'm controlling it with my hand and arm; same thing applies with motion controls since the movement of my hand and arm is controlling the aiming, as compared to my thumb. 

The way I've seen it, motion controls are sort of like an all-or-nothing type of deal. Take Skyward Sword for example. The whole premise behind it's gameplay was the gimmick of motion controls, being able to fully control Link's sword with the Wiimote. A lot of the stuff in the game was built with that idea in mind. That doesn't mean everything was with motion controls, but a majority of the game revolved around that idea and how to play around with it (swinging the sword, throwing things, aiming projectiles, etc.). It turned out to be a fairly divisive game for a lot of people, what with the game catering to right-handed people and making the core mechanics of the game revolve around a mechanic of the console that may be troublesome for certain people to do (i.e. movement).

Integrating motion controls in a way that doesn't require it, like with aiming, makes it nonobtrusive if you prefer the classic control stick option, but it's at least available for players that would like to utilize it. I would say that buttons and control sticks are more accessible than motion controls, but that doesn't make the latter bad at all because of it. It's just difficult to integrate outside of aiming because you gotta make sure you can include as many players as possible without alienating others.

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20 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

And it's easy to see why it's so prevalent: it is a lot easier to do finer aiming with a gyro than just with a control stick, and it can be easily made an option that can be turned off if someone prefers to just use a control stick for aiming.

I find gyro aiming much more cumbersome and awkward than stick aiming and am firmly on team "I never want to use motion controls at all ever". That last part of what you said is true in theory but often not true in practice. There are way too many games that require motion controls of some kind. Obviously, there are some games where motion controls are integral to the experience and it would be daft to buy Labo or Ring Fit Adventures and complain that that they require motion controls, but there are plenty of games out there that could have been made with stick and button controls but weren't. I have no problem with motion controls existing as an option, but it frustrates me when they're mandatory when they didn't have to be.

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4 minutes ago, lenticular said:

I find gyro aiming much more cumbersome and awkward than stick aiming and am firmly on team "I never want to use motion controls at all ever". That last part of what you said is true in theory but often not true in practice. There are way too many games that require motion controls of some kind. Obviously, there are some games where motion controls are integral to the experience and it would be daft to buy Labo or Ring Fit Adventures and complain that that they require motion controls, but there are plenty of games out there that could have been made with stick and button controls but weren't. I have no problem with motion controls existing as an option, but it frustrates me when they're mandatory when they didn't have to be.

I see.

That was certainly true in the Wii era; motion controls were the main selling point, so it was placed almost everywhere. But the only games I can think of in the Switch era, besides the ones you listed, that require motion controls, are Mario Galaxy (a port of a Wii game), Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee, and I guess Breath of the Wild because of the gyro puzzle shrines (and even then, technically that's optional content). Far more often, the motion controls are optional. Even the Splatoon games make gyro aim an option, and apparently, around 80% of Splatoon players use the gyro.

Speaking of Splatoon, something I just realized I forgot to mention: in my research, I found out that the developers of a lot of online shooters have to add a ton of aim-assists to stick-only aiming in order to make it viable in online multiplayer because control sticks are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to aiming compared to other controls; most notably keyboard & mouse, and these aim assists are still there when playing single-player content. I don't know if Splatoon has any of these aim assists for stick-only aiming, but I know that, if you're playing a third-party game that has aiming and shooting and multiplayer, and you're using stick-only aiming, the game's AI is actually doing the aiming for you.

I'm not saying that aim assists are the reason you find stick-only aiming less cumbersome or awkward; I'm just pointing out that these aim assists are so prevalent nowadays for stick-only aiming that you may not have noticed that they're there. Even without them, you might still subjectively prefer stick-only aiming.

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4 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

That was certainly true in the Wii era; motion controls were the main selling point, so it was placed almost everywhere. But the only games I can think of in the Switch era, besides the ones you listed, that require motion controls, are Mario Galaxy (a port of a Wii game), Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee, and I guess Breath of the Wild because of the gyro puzzle shrines (and even then, technically that's optional content). Far more often, the motion controls are optional. Even the Splatoon games make gyro aim an option, and apparently, around 80% of Splatoon players use the gyro.

Off the top of my head, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker absolutely requires gyro aiming in some places. There's also Super Mario Odyssey, which is playable without using motion controls, but has some abilities that are motion control only and I believe some moons that are motion control only. I like this headline from USGamer for summing up motion controls in Odyssey: Super Mario Odyssey's Motion Controls Aren't Mandatory, but Aren't Optional Either. (The article itself is fairly basic but I really like the headline.) Or there's Clubhouse Games which is mostly played with stick and buttons but has a few of its subgames that are motion control only (though this one didn't bug me too much, honestly, since motion controls are fairly integral to those subgames). Doubtless there are more, but those are the ones to instantly come to mind for me.

4 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

Speaking of Splatoon, something I just realized I forgot to mention: in my research, I found out that the developers of a lot of online shooters have to add a ton of aim-assists to stick-only aiming in order to make it viable in online multiplayer because control sticks are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to aiming compared to other controls; most notably keyboard & mouse, and these aim assists are still there when playing single-player content. I don't know if Splatoon has any of these aim assists for stick-only aiming, but I know that, if you're playing a third-party game that has aiming and shooting and multiplayer, and you're using stick-only aiming, the game's AI is actually doing the aiming for you.

I'm not saying that aim assists are the reason you find stick-only aiming less cumbersome or awkward; I'm just pointing out that these aim assists are so prevalent nowadays for stick-only aiming that you may not have noticed that they're there. Even without them, you might still subjectively prefer stick-only aiming.

I don't play shooters at all and very rarely play multiplayer, so that sort of aim-assist isn't something that ever comes up for me. When I think of gyro aiming, I'm thinking of games like Pokémon: Let's Go or Captain Toad because they're the sort of games I tend to play. I could talk at length about why I dislike motion controls, but I don't think that's really the point. Different people are going to have different preferences for all sorts of reasons. Suffice it to say that my preferences are entirely unrelated to aim-assist.

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2 hours ago, lenticular said:

Off the top of my head, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker absolutely requires gyro aiming in some places. There's also Super Mario Odyssey, which is playable without using motion controls, but has some abilities that are motion control only and I believe some moons that are motion control only. I like this headline from USGamer for summing up motion controls in Odyssey: Super Mario Odyssey's Motion Controls Aren't Mandatory, but Aren't Optional Either. (The article itself is fairly basic but I really like the headline.) Or there's Clubhouse Games which is mostly played with stick and buttons but has a few of its subgames that are motion control only (though this one didn't bug me too much, honestly, since motion controls are fairly integral to those subgames). Doubtless there are more, but those are the ones to instantly come to mind for me.

I don't play shooters at all and very rarely play multiplayer, so that sort of aim-assist isn't something that ever comes up for me. When I think of gyro aiming, I'm thinking of games like Pokémon: Let's Go or Captain Toad because they're the sort of games I tend to play. I could talk at length about why I dislike motion controls, but I don't think that's really the point. Different people are going to have different preferences for all sorts of reasons. Suffice it to say that my preferences are entirely unrelated to aim-assist.

I see.

Oh; okay.

Gyro aim doesn't normally refer to stuff like Let's Go; it mainly refers to stuff like aiming in Breath of the Wild, where the gyro is mainly for making small adjustments and the stick is still used for wider camera movement.

Edited by vanguard333

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