The Nunchuk

 

I don’t know why, I just don’t like it.

I’m a big fan of the Wii, and as a result I play a lot of Wii games as both a reviewer and gaming nut. Obviously there are a lot of bad titles out there, and at times you feel as if you’re digging through a rotten haystack of gaming mediocrity, trying to find a diamond needle that makes all the other pap worthwhile. But overall, the Wii’s a lovely little console, that despite its flaws I’d hate to be without. But the one thing about the Wii that annoys me more than all the bad titles put together, is the Nunchuk. Man, how I hate it.

I don’t know why I hate it, and to be honest there are far worse things to get angry or depressed about, but whenever I have to use a Nunchuk, I just feel let down. For instance, whenever I load a new Wii game, fresh with enthusiasm that this new release will be the one title that makes all the other bore-fests worthwhile, I’m always annoyed when I see the screen ‘Please insert Nunchuk’.

There are a few reasons why the Nunchuk gets a slice of my anger pie. Firstly, it sucks the life out of my Wii Remote’s batteries. I don’t know how or why, but for something that does little to nothing, it uses an enormous amount of energy. It doesn’t have any moving parts, it doesn’t have any lights, and the only inputs are two buttons and a joystick. So why does it drain batteries like a dehydrated pony sucking on a hose?

Also, as a control device, the Nunchuk isn’t that good. OK, it all depends on the game, but overall the Nunchuk isn’t decisively responsive as a motion controller, and as a simple joystick it’s not that great either.

But what really bugs me about the Nunchuk is the idea that it’s an easy ‘get out’ for game developers. With the quick addition of the Nunchuk, a lot of the motion controls the Wii is designed for can be quickly bypassed in favour of a good old fashioned joypad. Now with the Nunchuk attached, the Wii Remote is often just a lump of plastic and buttons, with the intricate motion controls rarely coming into use. There’s a whole host of games that can be called to the witness stand to support my (pointless and whinging) case. A Boy and His Blob used the Nunchuk heavily, as did Rabbids Go Home, Winter Sports 2010, Wii Sports, and more recently The Sky Crawlers (which arguably has the worst controls you’ll ever play!). These games used the Nunchuk, not as an additional device to complement or improve the controls, but to just side-step the issue of motion controls, which at the end of the day is the whole reason you buy a Wii.

OK, so this isn’t always the case, and to be fair the additional features the Nunchuk provides are often a necessity, but it just frustrates me that the Nunchuk spoils a lot of the fun that the Wii brings.

Scott Tierney

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