Recently, companies have been moving towards motion sensor based games. This was started by the Nintendo Wii and continued by the Xbox Kinect and the PlayStation move. There peripherals gave us a whole new dimension to some of our favorite games like Socom and Resistance. But as more and more games shift towards this, I begin to worry.
There are two categories of gamers that would be heavily affected by this. These groups are sitting in a position to be negatively affected by motion sensing dominance, should it come to that. The first group is the people who work hard all day.
Some people have jobs that force them to stand for long periods of time, sometimes without breaks. These people are extremely tired when they get home and normally they don’t want to stand and move around. Granted, some people do if they love a game enough, but in the end it’s not healthy. With all the craze and pressure behind getting in shape with video games flooding the market, well it’s doing more harm than good. For a person who has a desk job, or no job at all, it’s great, but for the person putting extreme amounts of physical effort in during the day, then motion gaming at home makes little sense.
Such excessive physical work can lead to severe injuries. Before I continue, I just want to make my point clear. I am not against motion sensing games. I am, however, not a fan of their marketing approach as well as concerned about them dominating the market. Now that I cleared that up I want to bring up our second group, the severely injured.
I actually fall into this group. I’ve had surgery on both wrists (including having titanium rods in one for a year), my right knee was operated on and I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis all before the age of 20. Can you imagine how hard it is for me to work with motion sensing games?
I was at a family get together with my friend in Indiana and they had a Kinect. After they bugged me for hours I finally agreed to try it. I was set up on a game that required ducking and jumping. Once I got through the first level I thought it wasn’t too bad. That second level though, the second jump caused the knee I had surgery on to lock up and shoot pain throughout my body. Crutches became my best friend as I was immobile for two days.
Now an argument to that is "well that was a highly physical game, you just overdid it." That is a fair point and has nothing to do with my argument. My dad and brothers have a Wii and I decided to give his Medal of Honor game a try. Due to my arthritis my wrists were weak and shook to the point I couldn’t have a hit a target in the same state. A good friend of mine had a similar issue with resistance, only instead of arthritis it was just general fatigue.
People shouldn’t be excluded from a game because of a medical condition or injury. Thankfully, most motion sensing titles are dual compatible. Designers need to keep this in mind. Motion sensing is great except for some us who can’t utilize it. All in all, I’m glad there are motion sensing games because it’s a major advancement in gaming.
That said, I hope game developers don’t forget about those players like me who aren’t in a position to use this technology effectively, but who would still very much like to enjoy the latest titles.