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Your Questions Answered

by Steven Rodriguez - October 23, 2006, 1:45 am PDT

It's late, but great things come to those who wait. There are lots of excellent questions this week, so please read it!

Hey bag, first time writing in, been a reader since PlanetN2000.

I'm part of a college student organization dedicated to videogames and we're getting a Wii at launch. Naturally, we want a good 4-player game so we can have many people using it without much waiting in line for turns. We've been thinking Rayman Raving Rabids or Monkey Ball, but we're still not sure. Since I expect reviews for these games won't be out until after launch, I was wondering what the guys at PGC would recommend as a good 4-player launch game.

So my question is, what's a good 4-player game for the Wii launch?

Monkey Ball is a safe bet to be good, and Rayman is looking pretty fun and funny. Other good four-player options include Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam and Red Steel. Though I think the launch lineup could do better for a full complement of players, what's there isn't half bad. And hey, everyone is getting something for free that everyone can play: Wii Sports! It looks like it's going to be a blast for four people. Imagine trying to hit each other with the Wii remotes as you swing at the ball in Wii Tennis. Fun!

Dearest Mailbag,

As many others out there, I was unable to secure a Wii pre-order due to the fact that I am a responsible career-woman (hehehe), and was unable to bolt from work in time to slap a deposit down at EB. I was surprised at the small amount of systems the store was able to do pre-orders for. With Nintendo stating there will be 1 million units for launch this has me in a quandary:

1. Is EB being cautious because of the debacle with XBOX 360 pre-orders?

2. Will more systems be available to superstore chains, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, etc.

3. Will those of us who didn’t get a pre-order be shut out completely until the end of the year/beginning of next?

4. Perhaps there will be enough systems to go around that I do not have to feel the stress and preasure of, “What if I can’t get a Wii until next year?"

1 million systems is a lot compared to the 700,000 the Gamecube launched with, but we are talking 5 years later, and we are talking about the Wii. It seemed there were plenty of Cubes to go around for those who wanted one. What do you think the chances are for the Wii?



1. Yes. EB and GameStop learned their lesson when dealing with pre-orders for the 360. I don't remember the details of pre-ordering an Xbox 360 before it released, but I know the specialty chain didn't specify an exact date to begin taking them, or requiring a $50 or $100 deposit to do so. Not only did they not limit the amount of pre-sales to customers, they didn't get much for their troubles. By giving people the option to trade in games toward that deposit, the store will get some good profit off selling those games as used. Plus, they've saved themselves from the post-launch headaches of people not getting systems they thought were "guaranteed." Wii-orders aren't really, and the chain stressed that it's still first-come, first-served among the people with Wii receipts if a particular store doesn't get enough.

2. Yes. You said it yourself, they are superstore chains. Walmart, Target and Best Buy will definitely get the lion's share of the shipments. I would assume the three combined will have around half of whatever Nintendo will have available on November 19. EB Games and GameStop are specialty chains, and although they can move a lot of game hardware, they aren't as mainstream as the big retailers. I've heard that they'll have around 25% of the initial Wii shipment to distribute amongst their stores, which is pretty good, but still less than the big boys.

3. No. There will be plenty of consoles at launch, and plenty more coming before the end of the year. Unless the demand for Wii is 10 times greater than the Nintendo DS has been recently (a demand which may be impossible to quantitatively define), Nintendo's impressive production numbers should be enough to satisfy it. Anyone who wants a Wii should be able to find one within two weeks, at worst. That will not stop me from camping out all day to secure one, because I am a nerd.

4. If you want a better reason not to worry as much, look at the PSP. The pre-launch hype and apparent demand for it was through the roof, and Sony had 1 million handhelds ready to go on the first day. The long midnight lines and predictions of sell-outs nationwide turned into a first day sell-though of 550,000 units, with another 100k sold during the rest of the week. Impressive, yes, but not the launch the hype was pointing at. (One could argue that even Sony was caught up in its own hype, spinning the launch day "disaster" with the touting of $250 million in sales—of a $250 product and $50 games—instead of proclaiming the sellouts they were expecting.)

Remember that there's the possibility Nintendo could have eleven million systems (that's 11 million) out by the end of the year. I don't think any amount of demand could overcome that amount in the six weeks between the Wii launch and Christmas. We'll see.

Hey PGC,

Three questions:

1. I heard somewhere that there were clips on the back of the Classic controller. If this is the case, could the Wiimote attatch to it saving the need to let it sit on your lap?

2. Also if its physically connected to the controller, would that mean that the rumble feature in N64 games could be emulated by using the Wiimote's own rumble?

3. If there is a left handed mode for Zelda:TP, will Link be left-handed too?



1. Not exactly clips, but rather slots for a clip to snap into. We think. Here's a picture of the back of the controller. Nintendo did originally mention the classic controller would be a "shell" the remote controller snapped into, so that it would have some of the functions of the remote and the layout of a regular pad. (You know, like the Sony DualShock 3 SIXAXIS, but with rumble.) One of the infamous Wii Lifestyle photos (Warning: Do not click on that link!) showed people using the Classy with Wii remotes attached and set to the side, or on a lap. If they had the ability to be clipped together, why not show it off in the photo? I'm curious of whether or not that feature is still possible, actually.

2. The classic probably has its own rumble motor. If the two controllers can be separated, what sense would it make to send the shaking to the loose remote, and not the think you're holding in your hands? Anyway, rumble from N64 games should be supported, if not for any other reason that some games used it quite extensively, like the Stone of Agony in Ocarina of Time. True, it was an optional item, but it's going to be in the game when Nintendo gets around to putting it up on Virtual Console.

3. I doubt it. As easy as it would seem to flip a switch and mirror everything in the game (that's how they made Link right-handed), I'm sure it's more complicated than that. Actually, I take that back. If you want to play in left-handed mode, insert the GameCube version of Twilight Princess in to your Wii and plug in a GameCube controller. Presto, a lefty Link!

What's up guys? I love your site and have been reading your articles for quite a few years now! Anyways, on to my question...

We all know about those gamers (my girlfriend comes to mind) who love to jerk their controller during games like Mario Kart and other racers, among other games. What I mean is, when they turn a corner in the game, they thrust their controller in the same direction as if it will have some kind of impact on the power of their turn. I just am curious if this will be a problem with the new Wii controller and its motion sensitivity. I have been really excited about the Wii and my girlfriend knows it, but this issue was the first thing she brought up, haha. "How will I play? Won't my jerkiness mess it up?" Thanks again!


In the end, controlling a racing game with the Wii remote will be similar to how it works with an analog stick. People new to racing games tend to swerve back and forth, tilting the turning stick to the left and right, trying to straighten themselves out. After some practice, they learn to rock the stick to the side more gently, using smaller motions to get where they want to go. There will be a similar learning curve with the Wiimote. The initial jerkiness will turn into smooth motions once people understand how the controller works with the game. However, just like with a regular stick, there will be plenty of times when you want to turn in a hurry and slam that thing to the side as hard and as fast as possible. Doing the same thing with the Wii remote will produce the same effect, but like I said, until people learn the controller they'll just as quickly slam the thing back to turn the other way to correct themselves. Give it some time and it shouldn't be a problem.

Hello, Señor Bag. How are you? Plentyful and full-to-burst, I trust.

I just finished New Super Mario Bros and I loved it front-to-back. Unfortunately, I have the same complaint about the game that many DS-owners have. It was way too brief and a bit of a pushover. It just left me wanting more.

What do you reckon the chances are that Nintendo will follow it up with a proper sequel? How about a New Super Mario Bros 2 ? I'm talking Doki Doki Panic-style here. You know what I mean. Sure, SMB2 was the red-headed step-child of the Mario series but it was still a fantastic game that I think could fruitfully be expanded upon just the same.

Alternately, they could take a Lost Levels approach or throw in Yoshi or the Tanuki Suit and continue on with the same style as NSMB. I certainly wouldn't be opposed to that either but I would still rather see a Mario-themed DDP follow-up come to life on the DS (or the Wii's Virtual Console for that matter).

While it'd be great to see a sequel in the next year or so, I realize that tradional additions to the Mario platformer lineage do seem to grace us rather sparsely. Should I keep my hopes high or is Yoshi's Island 2 the closest we'll get for a long time?

Speaking of which, what are your expectations YI2? I agree that YI is one of the best platformers ever conceived and I'm stoked that a sequel is finally in the works but it's not being developed by Nintendo which leaves me a little wary.

Paul Patko

I loved New Super Mario Bros. front-to-back, too. Unfortunately, I have the same complaint about the game that many DS-owners have. It was way too brief and a bit of a pushover. It just left me wanting more.

But how long will it be until we get more? It took a while for Nintendo to come out with the game in the first place, and before that, we had to wait a really long time between Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. Six years, actually. If you want to compare the time between 2D games, it would be more than ten. Nintendo developing a real Mario game isn't an event to be taken lightly. Thankfully, Super Mario Galaxy is coming up early next year. After that, your idea of a Lost Levels type game for the DS would be nice thing to have out there. I'd buy it. I don't know if I would want just "more of the same" in a straight sequel to NSMB, though. To me, a Mario game needs to be new every time I see it, or else it turns into just another game with a franchise character on it. The Mario sports games are fun, but I would rather not see Mario in them, to tell the truth.

Nintendo may not be developing Yoshi's Island 2, but it's definitely got that Nintendo feel to it. Check out our pair of E3 impressions via the game's profile page to see what I mean. Artoon is developing it, but after reading our staffer's opinions and those of others who have played it, I have high hopes. I just hope I have enough money to get it, since it comes out the same week as the Wii launches.

I have read a few hands on previews of wii FPS games like Red Steel & Call of Duty. I have noticed some of the editor’s comment that the lights in the room may have affected the signal with the wii-mote. One editor said the Ubisoft rep on hand turned the light off in a back room & the controls of the game seemed to improve. I certainly understood this when games were being previewed at large events & there were a lot of wii’s , lights & electronics around, but am I going to have to play the wii in total darkness at home to get the best signal from the wii-mote ( I’m referring to non-blue tooth by the way)? Also as a related follow up question; on the same FPS shooters, I have also noticed the editor’s note that the aiming reticule would sometimes get lost & they had to re-center to get it back. Was this happening because the wii-mote lost sight of the sensor bar? I worry that in a heated game of Red Steel or Prime that I would loose the reticule from time to time because I pulled the wii-mote to far left or right.


Brandon More

The main function of the Wii sensor bar is to emit an infrared signal at the Wii remote. This is done via IR lights placed on both of its ends. Any source of bright light will emit some infrared light as well (the visible spectrum is very close to the IR spectrum) meaning any light the remote "sees" that isn't the sensor bar could throw it off. Ambient light or a ceiling lamp that throws light all over a room won't be an issue, but a lamp placed at the side of your television (and sensor bar) might pose a problem. Developers need to program their games to account for outside light sources potentially screwing with the remote so they don't interfere with gameplay.

The best case scenario is the remote only senses the two points on the sensor bar, and the game works perfectly from there. Naturally, there will be times when the remote loses track of one or both of the IR points in the bar when it is moved out of its visible range. Programmers must also factor that in when working with games that use the pointer, like first-person shooters. The game can't know where to point if it can't see the sensor bar completely, so all it can do it take its best guess until it sees two IR points again. What we noticed with most of the games on display at E3 was there was a slight delay before the controller re-calibrated after it lost track of the bar. This is probably because the game needs to verify the infrared objects it sees aren't caused by interfering sources.

You are justified in worrying that you could lose the reticule and have disabled controls for a moment. A moment is usually the difference between you fragging him or him fragging you. The way to prevent this from happening too often is to make the shrink the bounding box aiming reticule moves around in before the camera view moves. You would just need to move the remote a little bit to the side to move the camera. The trade-off in doing that it's not as easy to point and shoot at people. Red Steel has a large bounding box to make it easier to hit people without moving around too much, and Metroid Prime 3 has a smaller box which makes it easier to move the camera around, but somewhat more tricky to shoot at stuff (without locking on).

Nintendo saying that Wii is easiest to develop for is a little misleading. The hardware is familiar, but the work developers need to put into the controller makes it as challenging as tinkering with the power of the hi-def systems. All of the above are what devs need to incorporate into their games, not to mention the controller accelerometers/tilt sensors, button layouts and speaker usage. What I'm trying to say here is that it will take some time before everyone figures out the best ways to make it all work. The first wave of games will be a good start, but in 2, 3 or 4 years from now, games should control flawlessly and this worry we're worrying about should never come up.

Thanks for reading yet another edition of the Planet GameCube Mailbag. I think this was one of the better weeks for questions, so thanks to all of those who sent them in! Even if your question isn't here, it's either because I already answered it, or you're asking something unanswerable! Don't let that stop you from sending in more mail, though. The worst thing that could happen is that your question doesn't get answered here. It's not like I'll ban you from future mailbags. Get your creative asking juices going and hit that email link at the bottom of the page to send in stuff. I'd appreciate it.

I'm tired. I think I'll take a nap now.

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