Motion Sickness

Surely someone else can see the HUGE elephant in the room?

Gaming, for me, began in 1977 when this rather odd looking contraption appeared in our lounge. It was crude, to say the least, and the cabling wasn’t that lovely soft and chewable variety that we see today… this thing had what, in hindsight, appeared to be doorbell wire coming from several orifices and little controllers that resembled the connector end of those in-car chargers that use the lighter as a power source. It was fun though, if you can call moving a 1×4 block up and down the screen to hit a 1×1 block and pretend you’re actually playing tennis, and it remained plugged in to our television constantly until the novelty wore off… a few weeks later.

Within a year or so, it was the Atari 2600… the cartridge system meant that games were interchangeable and the more natural joystick (with slightly more chewable cabling) meant that it was much easier to get drawn in to the point where the entire afternoon could disappear playing Frogger, Donkey Kong or Centipede over and over again. It was addictive, it was immersive, albeit in a different way from today’s games where immersiveness tends to stem from a deep storyline and a sense of photorealism, but it involved no effort and it could be done in complete silence without getting under anyone’s feet or knocking over dear old Grandma’s ashes.

These days, for whatever reason, the gaming industry appears to have come to the general consensus that we no longer want to remain stationary and enjoy our games with a sense of decorum and dignity. It’s not enough to kick back after a long and tedious day at work, throw ourselves on to the sofa, fire up the console and just veg out for a while in the greatest, and most effective, form of escapism known to man. Now we’re expected to hold our arms in front of us with a virtual steering wheel if we want to give it some welly with Gran Turismo and, presumably, throw ourselves to one side if we want to try and take the opponent down before they edge ahead to take pole position. I obviously can’t speak for anyone else but, if the regular eight or ten hour sessions on Burnout Paradise are anything to go by, there’s no way in hell I’d be able to maintain that position for anywhere near that length of time… so doesn’t that ultimately mean that motion control may actually hinder the enjoyment aspect of playing games? If something becomes a chore, I’m certainly far less likely to do it than when it was fun.

When I rule the world... all games will be played with the same effort currently being demonstrated by the dood on the left and all gamer girls will look kinda like that girl on the right

To me gaming is, as mentioned above, escapism. It’s about forgetting that you’re in your lounge or bedroom, ignoring the fact that there are other people in the house arguing about whether Eastenders was better when it was live action as opposed to the new CGI version (cue bemused faces) and hoping that you’ll not be asked to do anything until you’ve managed to get through this last level. It shouldn’t be about self awareness and dreading someone waltzing in to the room while you’re up on your feet, jumping around like some hyperactive boneless twat screaming “Would you just HIT him, dammit!” as your on-screen character calmly waves his arms as if it’s the Queen hailing a cab. They thought you were a bit weird before for spending all your time with a console controller in your hand so imagine their jubilation when, after all these years, you just managed to reinforce their mockery in one swift movement… or several, badly co-ordinated ones.

Yes, very good grandma... now sit on your arse and I'll put Highway To Heaven on for you, there's a good girl

Is it really so important to get THAT much into the action? Can we not just rely on our imagination anymore, and continue to be drawn in to the story to the point where we care so much about the outcome that we forget, even for a few hours, that it’s “just a game”? Must I clear a space in my lounge prior to gaming? It’s bad enough that we’re being encouraged to turn our dearly held hobby into a saccharine family occasion where everyone gathers around the box like it’s the 1930s all over again, with Grandma (the alive one, not the dead one from the start… pedant) chuckling away while her bony arthritic fingers clutch a Wiimote like it’s some old poor sod from the Bridge Club’s schlong. I don’t want my family getting in on my hobby, just like I don’t ask them if we can all play “Pass The Cross Stitch” or “Musical Plant Pots”. Leave me alone to do my own thing in my own time, WITHOUT fear of knocking shit over or falling on my arse. If I wanted to look like a complete knob and have everyone laugh at me, I’d never have given up speed walking and I would have joined the Boys’ Brigade when mum wanted me to.

I’m a gamer, I quite enjoy solitude and I’m not an athlete god dammit. I play my games in complete darkness. I have a room dedicated to gaming with a hulking great Brotherhood Of Steel statue (Fred) towering over me as I sit on my lovely jet black leather sofa surrounded by dark burgundy walls and a midnight blue carpet. I can hardly see him when the lights are off, but I know he’s there. He can’t cause me any damage and I can’t break his arm off because I’m stationed quietly below him like I should be, controller in hand, headset at the ready for any worthwhile profanities while I allow myself to be pulled away from reality for a few hours.

How can I possibly stay mad at Judy??

Turn this scenario on its head by throwing Kinect, WiiMotion Plus or Move into the equation and you have complete and utter carnage. Fred’s arm would likely end up shattered in pieces on the floor as I attempted to deflect some in-game projectile by quickly producing my shield (read: thrusting my left arm into the air with a sense of panic as my face contorts to a look of bewilderment and sudden pain) and I would smash my 38 year record of never having broken a bone. I don’t even want to think about the potential damage to my movie props or collector editions… and I doubt Judge Judy would entertain my claims for compensation with a swift and smug “But for the fact that you succumbed to the marketing power of The Big Three, your ridiculous statue would still have its arm, your own arm wouldn’t be broken, Christopher Walken wouldn’t be issuing a restraining order against you and you’d still have both eyes. You’re an idiot. Case dismissed. That is all”.

OK I concede... this rocks!!

As for voice controlled gaming… my controller came with buttons, and they work. I press them, stuff happens, and I move on. I neither have the need nor the desire to bond with my gaming rig in some sort of twisted symbiotic relationship and the thought of my XBox evolving ever closer to becoming Skynet just doesn’t excite me. The first time I’m in the middle of a game and hear my console criticise me for hanging back too much or ruining the team element by running too far ahead… it goes out the window. Straight into an acid bath. It’s bad enough that my XBox knows the exact point to royally screw up my game and disconnect me from XBox live without it being able to converse with me and taunt me.

I admit to being cynical about the whole thing and still can’t fathom why, after more than thirty years of being allowed to game in relative stillness, we’re no longer extended that courtesy. Will it enhance gaming forever or drive people away in a flurry of scepticism and shame? Only time will tell. In closing, I thought it best to ask other GamingLives writers for their thoughts rather than put across a one-sided argument…

Motion Control has always seemed gimmicky to me and never had much against WASD, but watching Kinect at E3, I’m beginning to think there’s more in full body gesture controls than I’ve ever given credit for.

I find myself wanting motion control in the form of UI navigation, I want it where I can be sat or laid on my sofa raising a hand slightly to flip through menus. I’m ready to embrace it but want the actual gaming to be with the standard tools of the trade.

It works when it’s non-intrusive and just adds to the experience rather than taking it over. It needs to feel like its in the background (like rumble), something which the Wii and Move can do, but Kinect cannot just yet.

Motion control, like almost every other innovation in gaming has gotten off to a slow start. The Dreamcast started online gaming, but relatively few people used it, and on dial up connections the potential was difficult to see.  So I am sure that as time goes on motion control will become more refined and a greater more substantive addition to gaming, but frankly at the moment it amounts mostly to waving your arms around like an arse for fairly meaningless results on the screen, and if anything proved that it was Microsoft’s crushingly disappointing excuse for a presentation at E3 this year.

I’m for it if it’s used sparingly, if I wanted constant body movement
I’d actually use the gym membership I stupidly pay out for.


I think in theory, it has it’s place in the gaming world, but in practice, as the Wii (even with motion plus) has proved, its awkward, often inaccurate, and doesn’t really add to single player gaming in any significant way. I think it’s a gaming dead end, a novelty to appeal to non-gamers which offers very little scope for future innovation. At least on these two consoles you can at least still play normal games with your normal controller. Nintendo have totally put me off playing Mario Galaxy 2, the highest rated Mario game of all time, because they force me to use such an inappropriate control system.

Argh I don’t knoooooooow.
For me personally I’m yet to be won over but for the right price I’d consider a good motion control system for fun with the kids.

I think I might have been a little hard on Microsoft over E3 with regards toK inect. It’s not aimed at me so why am I moaning? From a tech side of it Kinect is impressive. EA Sports Active 2 did some very clever stuff with it. But again it wasn’t aimed at me. I want subtle things that enhance the experience like Minorty Report style menus in Mass Effect 3, or Dead Space 3 to know when I’m scared then ramp up the tension and the abilty to look to my sides in a racing game. My money’s on me, Ed and Iain defending our fanboy corners to the hilt and everybody else not liking the idea. I think Kinect has the potential to immerse you more in your “core” game than the others while the others may be more fun. Truth is if we can do cool shit, we’ll all be doing it even if it means getting off the couch. Kevin Butler said it best when he said “We all serve one master, one king. And his name is… GAMING. forever may he reign.”

Motion control fails to stir me.
I have no desire to prance around like an idiot, just leave me alone to curl up with my controller, is that too much to ask?

Motion control is kinda fun in a gimicky way but I think it could well be quite short-lived.
Naturally this statement will come back to bite me hard in a year or so.

Motion control just isn’t any good. How many times have you heard ‘I bought a Wii but I don’t really use it’? Plenty. The reason is that games are best played sprawled. Occasionally we dabble with desks, mice and keyboards but give me a reclining sofa and a joypad and you can jump about like a prick, pretending to do tai chi.

When I get home from work I want to crash out, get off my feet and relax with a game, not start jumping around and swinging my arms like a demented swimmer training for the olympics.


Motion control is a great concept, and when the Wii (or Revolution as it was then) was first announced I was very excited about it; sadly, the software released for these things is 99% cheap and nasty shovelware, which is why my Wii rarely gets turned on now… I couldn’t be more apathetic about Sony and Microsoft trying to horn in late in the game with their own attempts to copy the Wii.

The Rook
The novelty or motion control with the Wii didn’t last too long with me so it will be interesting to see if Microsoft and Sony can pique my interest again.  So far Move is looking more impressive than Kinect and it’ll be interesting to see how Nintendo repsond.  Having said that, I’ve always been in favour of sitting back and relaxing with a standard controller while gaming.

Last five articles by Mark R



  1. Richie richie says:


    Doug and Tony for the motherfucking WIN!

  2. Pete says:

    Great piece! And a perfect excuse to utiilise that gamer girl photo again! I approve ;)

  3. Samuel The Preacher says:

    I was wondering where this was going… interesting article, and one I almost entirely agree with. Ever since I got my Wii, I’ve been looking for viable alternatives to the motion control, and I’ve finally settled on a combination of the Classic Controller Pro and a Gamecube pad where I can use them. It’s only recently with Mario Galaxy 2 and Monster Hunter Tri that my Wii has seen use. So yeah… not buying Kinect or Move (assuming I ever get a PS3). It’d be a huge waste of money. If consoles go all primarily motion control next gen… well, I’d been thinking about this being my last console generation anyway. Stick to the PC and handhelds.

    One point though, and I think in fairness this needs saying, is that you don’t have to flail about like a royal knob-end to play with the Wii’s motion controlled games. I’ve been playing Mario Galaxy 2 on my sofa, reclined, using brief twitches of my wrist, and actually, it works much better than if I were jumping about like a kid who’s drank too much cola. You get much more precise control over it the way I do it. Fine, it’s hardly getting into the spirit of the thing, but it works, and it has allowed me to play the Wii’s few very good games (Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime, Okami, Little King’s Story) without hurling myself through a window or into the TV set.

  4. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Sssssssh… you’re killing the spirit of my rant :D Accuracy doesn’t really have comedic effect… begone with your ability to utilise Motion Plus without sinking to utter wankerdom! It was mostly aimed at Kinect anyway, hence the voice control stuff too. Fucking Skynet.

  5. Samuel The Preacher says:

    Every time I type Kinect, I typo it as Kinex. Stupid name.

    Voice control is too hit and miss for me… I bought Tom Clancy’s Endwar, and despite training the bloody thing, it’s extremely unlikely that it does what I tell it more than half the time.

  6. Iain says:

    I’m not a fanboy Lee, Move is just clearly better. How can you play an FPS with motion control and still retain some semblance of dignity if you have to use your fingers as a gun? ;)
    admittedly kinect will be better for menu control and party games but for ‘core’ games it’ll suck. We need buttons and things to hold while playing damnit!
    Great article Mark :)

  7. Ben Ben says:

    Is going to be interesting to see how it all pans out, my main fear is that hardware developers are that concerned about showing off new tech and continuously improving on it that they forget about the games.

    A great game on rubbish hardware, is still a great game. A rubbish game on amazing hardware, is still rubbish.

  8. Kat says:

    “I’m not a fanboy Lee, Move is just clearly better. How can you play an FPS with motion control and still retain some semblance of dignity if you have to use your fingers as a gun?”

    …and go “pew pew pew!” to shoot? I lIKE it! :D

  9. Ste says:

    This article seems to feed the sterotype of the lazy arse fat bastard gamer who just wants to sit on his arse all day and not move. Something which I hate.

    Whilst I agree that motion control hasn’t matured yet I dont think it should be written off as a bad debt just yet. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Therefore I remain hopeful for the future, and I reckon they will have nailed it by the time the next wave of consoles roll out. In the mean time the Move and the Kinect have not impressed me as of yet so I will not be buying either.

  10. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    @Ste…. I hate that stereotype as much as the next, much thinner, person but the fact remains that I don’t want to jump around or wave my arms around just to play a game. No idea how your day goes, but mine consists of working from 9am until midnight when I publish the next day’s article and can finally relax, so the thought of having to put actual effort in to playing games doesn’t make me that stereotypical lazy arse fat bastard gamer of which you speak, it just makes me someone who works their fat arse off all day long and would rather get at least one or two hours of relaxation where I can play my games without bringing on an asthma attack. I’m pretty sure that the other people who don’t like the idea of motion control are also not lazy arse fat bastard gamers, and just don’t want to look like a twat. You may be young and slim, but I’m 38 and fat… and I don’t get much time to relax, so I’m not going to waste it by getting fatigued at holding my arms outstretched the whole time just so I can play Burnout to chill. At the end of the day I was merely putting my opinion across and exaggerating in places for comic effect, it doesn’t mean that I want every gamer to be a fat bastard, far from it. I don’t like being fat, but if the choice at midnight is to sit down, switch off my brain and game for an hour before dragging myself to bed… or going out to my gym or treadmill, then I choose gaming. Doesn’t make me, or anyone else, lazy… just tired. :)

    @Kat… don’t diss that Move gun, it’s awesome, like a real raygun and everything! :D

    @Ben… that’s my point exactly! As I say to people all the time, I used to be able to write three or four great songs in a day and they WERE great. They were songs that wrote themselves, songs which dictated the way to go rather than being forced by me… because I didn’t know as much about music as I do now. The more I learned, the more I wanted to introduce all the things that I had learned and so it became much more difficult to write… because it was a case of shoe-horning in as much as possible, and I ultimately forgot about the most important thing… the song. It’s the gameplay that’s more important than anything else, how the games pull you in and keep hold of you, rather than how swish the tech is behind them.

    @Iain… Kinect really is a bit weird isn’t it? That’s the ironic thing though… when I first saw Minority Report I was like “Woah, I wish I had shit like that going on!!” but it was more for PC, to control information easily, move things around, zoom in etc. Not for gaming. I can sit in my chair for 15 hours no problem and wave my arm every now and again to get windows to shift from one place to the next, tapping here and dragging there to zoom in… but don’t expect me to do it constantly for hours on end just so I can play a game.

    @Preacher… they clearly think that everyone speaks like Trevor McDonald when it comes to voice control. I happen to think that I’m perfectly understandable when it comes to my accent and diction, yet almost everyone that calls me to sell insurance or double glazing can’t understand what I’m saying and I have to repeat myself constantly. I get it on XBL too – I’ll say something and there’ll be silence whereas someone else speaks and everyone will respond. Not all the time, but sometimes… and if that happens with humans, who can process information using common sense rather than rules, then what hope do we have with the XBox understanding?

  11. Ste says:

    @ MarkuzR – I quite like my controllers too. My day isn’t as long as yours but I do a 9-6 which is long enough and I too want nothing more that to kick back and chillax with my console. I don’t think I got my point across too well in that last comment though, (by the way thanks for editing out my mistake!)

    I think Lee nailed it best in the article by saying that the games currently in production for Kinect and Move aren’t really aimed at him. And I don’t think at the moment they are for me and obviously not you. I just don’t think we should ridicule the idea so much just yet as I think they have great potential if dont right. In the mean time, there will still be plenty of non motion controlled games being made so I reckon old Fred is safe for now.

    Man hug?

  12. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Man hug? That’s so gay!! … *whisprers* Are tongues allowed?

  13. Lee says:

    @Iain I do have buttons, they are on my pad – augement not replace.

    @ste – “I think Lee nailed it” – I win again :)

    and for some bizzare reason i really want to play EA sports active 2 on the xbox, like seriosly thats not even me trying to get a laugh. The tech behind it fasinates me, l’m not knockin Move like i said i’m sure it’ll be good fun to play but i’m not sure its the innovation that kinect is. ultimatly we’ll have to let Sony and Microsoft get the party games out the way first only then will any of us see what we want to see from them.

  14. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Oh also…

    @Rich… damn right! Time Tunnel rocks, especially with time travel actually being possible now… with the use of spiral corridors. It’s like they knew, somehow…

    @Pete… dood, I don’t need an excuse to use that girl’s photo, but sometimes I just can’t shoe-horn her in (ooer)

  15. Lorna Lorna says:

    I thought that of all the motion control nonsense that Sony at least have made a better showing of it. Despite my loathing of the concept, Sorcery actually looked like a surprisingly great approach to the idea. After all, these wand things look like…well….magic wands….pew pew zzap and all that cal.

    Sony are also on the right track by having a version of the same game without the motion control malarkey, making it a total personal choice which is far and away the right idea.

  16. Samuel The Preacher says:

    Heh… dood, as you know, I DO speak like a BBC news reader… and voice control STILL hates me. So you and the majority of everyone else are totally fucked. I have no idea what those things want from people… my diction is impeccable (barring alcohol, a woman, or extreme exhaustion being part of the equation) and I find voice control unable to grasp what I’m driving at.

    I like the idea of voice control more than anything. I’d love a house that’s totally voice controlled, and can talk back intelligently, like Jarvis in the Iron Man films. But man does it need a lot of work as it stands.

  17. Ste says:

    @ Preach, “my diction is impeccable”….. I thought you were from Cornwall? Plenty of “ooooo’s” and “arrr’s” mixed in with pasties and ice cream. In other words messy! ;) Saying that, I’m a Scouser, who was brought up in Stoke and now lives in Sheffield. My accent is proper fucked!

  18. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Can’t believe Ste just brought up pasties. FFS… I’ve not long eaten… I can’t think of food for at least another three hours!!

  19. M@thew says:

    Well, you already know my thoughts on the matter and it soundsm like we’re largely in agreement!
    I’m not adverse to all types of motion control, but I don’t need every game in my library forcing me to close the curtains and praying the neighbours don’t see.
    Like you said, gaming a form of escapism. You play them to relax, have fun or simply get lost in the narrative. It’s no different to reading a short story or novel. I don’t need to read 20 chapters of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park running on the bloody spot in order feel immersed.

    Great write up, and a popular one too! Careful who the gossip columns see you on the red carpet with! XD

  20. Rook says:

    I so wanted the black version of the Wiibecause it looked so awesome but I don’t used he Wii I have so couldn’t justify replacing it with one just to have a black one. I have a Zelda game for the Wii which I have not played, that’s just plain crazy as A Link To The Past and Ocarina Of Time are two of the best Zelda games I’ve ever played (with OOT being one of my all time favourite gaming experiences) The motion control of Twilight Princess just hasn’t grabbed me at all, although I still want to play the game.

    The only motion controller game I use (and this is motion control in it’s loosest way) is Guitar Hero/Rock Band. I will stand the whole time playing the guitar controller and tilt up to activate star power.

  21. Samuel The Preacher says:

    @Ste – I am Cornish, but I don’t have the accent. At all. I put it down to growing up in a Royal Navy household, being highly educated, trained as an actor, and then working for the BBC. I’ve never had the accent.

    I was stopped by a Scouser down here on holiday once. He asked me which bus he was meant to catch to get where he was going. I opened my mouth to answer him, got maybe three words out, and he held up his hand and said “Alright, mate, if you’re not from round heres don’t bother.”

    I let the twat get on the wrong bus. Waved him off too.

  22. Adam Adam says:

    Having read the article and the comments its a wonder just how much it has changed the way I’m approaching new tech like Kinect. i see the potential of these things but I’m not looking at the wider picture as several have pointed out. It’s not just whats happening now but what will happen so much further on. The tech here is a great precursor for things to come. I don’t think it’s taking the entire gamin industry with it as it’s very apparent that controllers will always be the preferred control method, but it seems more likely these days that gaming is set to completely branch off into something seperate and new.

    These things go in odd circles though. Remeber playing a flight sim for the first time? Great experience but then remember what it was like to play a flight sim, WITH A JOYSTICK! and its even better. For me, playing X-Wing Alliance with the Joystick in the right hand, the left hand on the keys to start re-allocating power, checking sub-systems and sending commands to wingmates (with that same hand ready to switch to the mouse to pan the camera in an intense firefight) was one of the most immersive experiences I ever had in a game.

    If i could look forward to experiencing that sort of immersion again, I’d sacrifice my dignity and whats left of my leg muscle at the end of the day to get it back.

    Dev’s have to break the mould, but will they?

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