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Nintendo. Dear, sweet, Nintendo. What has happened to you? What has overcome all that is good and holy in your corporate soul? What happened to simple pleasures, some wholesome gaming with a tad of that branded genius. You sold yourself to a common street trend, and now, well, you’ve crossed the line.

You finally made something almost completely useless. Not somewhat useful, but completely irrelevant for anything involving gaming. I honestly don’t want to know what was going on in the R&D/Management meetings when this was conceived.

I need to ask this – What is the point of the Vitality sensor? Honestly. At least most of us could pretend that we would use the Balance board for more things then weighing ourselves, or thinking that doing “balance games” was actually fun. There was some element of intuitiveness there, and the large majority of gamers could make a stretch and say “Hey, I’ll let this slide, I may even attempt to snowboard on it”.

But making the cornerstone announcement of your presentation, after watching Sony and Microsoft release tech gamers may actually consider buying, a device that holds such a niche concept of creative and realistic application is absolutely ridiculous. But I need to calm down. Let’s break this down while I try to ignore Colin as he throws possible ideas (all involving horror games and heart rate) at me. I get it Colin.

Essentially, the Sensor has the ability to monitor heart rate and blood pressure, essentially providing an “extra level” of interactivity (see, there it is again), to the game in question. The device clips onto the end of your finger, similar to those machines that usually sit outside public toilets in shopping centres and old theme parks, and promise to reveal absolutely revolutionary insight into your personal health. Tip: They don’t.

By plugging into the WiiMote, the game can monitor your vitals, and, most obviously, incorporate them into the game. But since your avatar, rather then yourself, is being impacted, your vitals aren’t really what you’d want to be worrying about. It’s unlikely that anything on the Wii could scare you, other then with lots of low-res textures, so the other weak defense of “a game that requires your pulse to be low!” is particularly moot.


My pessimistic opinion, based on the last couple of years of Nintendo slowly killing my childhood piece by piece, would find this device being used more commonly in the new genre of “utility games” or as a gimmick in yet another minigame wankery. It’s a tool that was devised with no point in mind, but released in the hope that someone (like crazy No More Heroes creator Goichi Suda) would devise some freaky and amazing gameplay mechanic with it.

Needless to say, it’ll be launched to much fanfare, sporting some kind of Wii<game> where desperate Wii owners will line up to grab the next piece of useless junk to use once then stuff in the drawer with the rest of the nunchuks, remotes, classic controllers and cheap 3rd party plugins they bought off DealExtreme. I honestly cannot think of any useful reason for this to exist, especially since it will probably cost a lot of money.

I, like many, were hoping that Nintendo would turn things around this year. Throw a bone to the gamers who made them into the powerhouse of gaming that they are. But announcements like this really are a slap in the face to the hardcore gamer. Hell, even Kotaku was pretty perplexed by it, and they’ve generally been able to spin anything into gold.

Stress levels to match game difficulty? Ha. The games need to be difficult first there Mike.

  1. avatar Jickle

    I seem to recall, many, many years ago – over a decade, probably – someone somewhere designed a puzzle game (or possibly just ripped off Tetris), wherein the difficulty was determined by your heart rate.

    It was a really bizarre announcement, though.
    “Many people play games. But sometimes I think, how do we get more people to play games? So we created this sensor that can read your pulse or some shit. Goodbye.”

  2. A survival horror where the rate of your pulse determines accuracy would be cool.

  3. But isn’t that more Wii based gimmick Cloud? Would you buy this just so you can get a slight gameplay mechanic from one or two games?

    I mean, from a company with billions and a massive research department, you’d think they’d be coming up with more more innovative tech then this.

  4. Oh I’d never buy it, if that’s how I came across I’m sorry. Hahaha. Not a chance of me spending money on this piece of junk. I agree with you James, they are pissing their money away with stuff like this when they should be focusing on upping the motion control and creating innovative new games and expanding their existing franchises. That’s why I loved Nintendo, and now I don’t.

  5. avatar jew

    nintendo is shit altogether xbox rules and when the release of project natal has came about every other console will be made obsolete

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