Saturday, December 27, 2008

What were Nintendo thinking?

I am the proud owner of a Nintendo Wii. In fact, I own a balance board as well. For those who don't know: the balance board is a board you stand on. It measures the force coming from both feet (i.e. your balance) and it enables you to do all kinds of games and sports (well, kind off).

One of the sports you can practice on a Wii balance board is skiing. I was really excited about this option, because I like skiing a lot. So I tried the slalom run. At a slow pace, all went well, but as soon as speeds wen up, I kept steering the wrong direction. Why? Because the guy that developed the program doesn't know anything about skiing. How do I know? Well, it's simple. If you are on a ski slope and you put all your weight on your right leg, what direction will you go? Left, anyone who has ever skied knows that. On the Wii Skii, you'll go right if you put your weight on your right leg. Exactly the other way around! At slow speeds, my mind can think around that, but at higher speeds, muscle memory takes over, and I start steering the right (wrong) way.

Okay, I know it's not as big a problem as climte change or world poverty, but what were Nintendo thinking? Does gravity work the other way around in Japan? Why on earth does a company invest millions in developing software without taking the tiny trouble to check whether the directions are correct? They even sell a separate disc containing ski-related games only. Who's going to buy that? Right, ski-fanatics. But they will get frustrated, since their muscle memory will send them the right (wrong) way.

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