Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

New Uses for Nintendo's Wii Balance Board

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Wii Fit has already taken Japan by storm, selling nearly two million copies since launching back in December 2007 and never once leaving the Top Ten chart since Day One. But the selection of games would be absolutely worthless if it were not for the majestic creation of the Wii Balance Board. Shigeru Miyamoto has admitted that the idea came from how Sumo wrestlers need to use two weighing machines to accurately gauge their weight, and thus the idea of this was to merge the scales together and throw in some fancy sensors that can detect bodily movement with pin-point accuracy.

But just what else could this amazing contraption be used for? Reggie Fils-Aime has confirmed that more than ten games that will make use of the peripheral are in development, Square Enix has shown interest in supporting it at some point, Bandai Namco has We Ski out in Japan right now, THQ is bringing a Cheerleader title that uses it and even Miyamoto-san himself has stated a Mario game may appear at some point that can hook up to the Board. Taking all of this into consideration, the team at Cubed³ put their collective minds into gear and came up with the following games that would be best suited to making full use of the Balance Board...

Adam Riley (jesusraz)

WarioWare: Get Physical
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We have seen how the WarioWare series has not only graced each new platform Nintendo has released since its original incarnation on the Game Boy Advance, but has also been used to highlight new features of consoles and peripherals. Following the multiplayer take, touch-screen edition, tilt sensor GBA version and the recent Wii motion-controlled game, WarioWare: Get Physical would be Nintendo's perfect opportunity to show off just how much fun can be had with the Balance Board. Just imagine the hilarity that could be had with various mini- and micro-games. Players could be expected to crouch and straighten quickly and repeatedly to jump over a herd of incoming buffalo, aim to prevent someone falling down a whole by swiftly shifting your centre of gravity or even dodgy obstacles by lifting each foot up one at a time and tilting left or right. Throw in the added use of the Wii Remote again and all sorts of possibilities could open up!

Tony Hawks' Move and Groove

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Activision has itself declared the Tony Hawks franchise needs to be freshened up, especially in the face of new competition from EA's Skate series, and what better way to do it than by making use of the latest craze? The Balance Board seems an ideal device for mimicking a real skateboard, with gamers being able to swerve round corners by simply leaning to either side, flip on the back wheels only by rocking backwards or even pick up speed by tilting forwards and crouching or maybe even moving your foot in the same way as on a skateboard, stroking it against the board almost as if pushing against the ground in real life to go faster. As for performing the variety of stunts, these could all be related to other types of movement combinations, with an example being rotating your hips to spin the board round or quickly stepping to the front of the board, then the back to kick skateboard into a vertical spin. No doubt this would be the most realistically tiring entry into the series so far.

Ben Southam (dojo)

SSX: On Board
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So the latest SSX game to grace consoles, SSX Blur, was a Wii exclusive, and although it didn't break any critical records, it certainly showed promise. The Wii Remote controls worked, if a little gimped, and players could easily get into the spirit of snowboarding by tilting their arms from side to side controlling their character's board. Now, though, we've been presented with a further opportunity. The Balance Board can be the next Snowboard. Forget waving a control stick; forget waggling your arms around, how about shimmying across the snow with your whole body? Measuring how much pressure you're putting on the board, leaning could result in your character speeding up, a sharp skew to one side could be pulled off by letting one of your feet lift from the other side of the board, heck you could even try pulling off uber tricks with gesture based foot tapping. Add in the Wii remote for a whole new layer of interactivity and you're set for the slopes!

Sonic And Some More Secret Rings

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Sonic and the Secret Rings was under-appreciated. Too many people frowned at its existence because of the frankly pitiful mini-games. Maybe this could all be rectified with a Balance Board update - the way you move your whole body affects the way Sonic speeds across the terrain. Tilt left and right to move in the respective directions, backwards to slow down, use the Wii Remote to control motion sensitive jumping whilst other functions, such as dashing forwards to attack enemies and controlling those quirky little flying pots can be done with some nifty cross-controller gesturing. Include a Super Sonic power-up for some super-exaggerated motion control and you're onto a winner. What's more, all of this extra effort in the solo mode would totally negate the need for a party mode too, meaning everyone should be happy...

Shane J (Phoenixus)

Metal Gear Step-Stealth
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Most stealthy action games such as Metal Gear Solid, Splinter Cell and Manhunt rely on careful consideration and controls from the player, so why not mix it all up a bit with the Balance Board? Controller(s) in hand, feet on board, you'd have to be completely still in the shadows to avoid detection. And if you're seen? A quick jab with your foot for a kick to the stomach, or as a means of escape, a shimmy up the wall for a Split Jump (thankfully not literally), balance would have to be kept very still for that one. With all these actions mapped to the Board, the main controller(s) would be free for even more intuitive use, like neck-grabs and fist-fights.

Resident Evil

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You know that feeling? Where you're inching down a hallway, expecting a Zombie Dog to crash through the window at any moment. Now, imagine if the Wii Balance Board could read your shock, and apply it to your character, making them aim out of place, or tripping whilst running, for example. The Board could even play a vital part in a tension/insanity meter, akin to Eternal Darkness; Too much shivering or too many scares, and your in-game character will suffer accordingly. Hallucinations, flashbacks, even summoning up more enemies that feed off your fear. Calmness, Preparation and a bit of Patience would become integral parts of the genre.

Donkey Kong; Jungle Feet

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Nintendo got some good use of the Bongos Gamecube peripheral, both with Donkey Konga, and D.K; Jungle Beat, so why not pay homage to it with the Balance Board, and a sequel to Jungle Beat? Sit cross-legged on the floor, with the Board on your lap, and you have a wireless bongo alternative, with benefits. Gently tap the sides of the board surface to move D.K left and right, both together to jump, and do a sweeping motion with both hands to do a simulated clap. Also, the game could utilise the point of pressure on the board for direction in the animal sections, akin to the Wii Remotes Pointer. And in those Monkey Boss Fights, you now have higher and lower points to tap on the board, for more tactical manoeuvres.

Pilotwing: Active

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Fans have been crying out for a new Pilotwings game since the Nintendo 64 release, and this cry intensified when the Wii remote's capabilities were made known, but why not give the controls of a potential Wii version another little boost? Balance and altitude of the player's aircraft could be assigned to either Remote or Board for accessibility, to fly through rings, dodge obstacles or just help blow things up. And for the hang-glider? Hold the Wii Remote and Nunchuk like handlebars, and keep your back straight on the Balance Board to maintain distance and accuracy. The potential for this one is vast!

Mike Mason (Mason)

Time Crisis: Duck & Cover
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We all know and many of us love the Time Crisis franchise (though we may want to ignore numero four), and for Namco to bring it to Wii would be an absolute dream, what with the system already proving itself as a fantastic home for the light-gun shooter with SEGA's efforts. The thing that makes Time Crisis what it is in part, though, is the use of the pedal. In arcades, to duck and reload you use a foot pedal - the Balance Board could easily take the place of this, with users choosing whether they wanted to step on or off it to duck. Alternatively, and preferably, I'd like to see a version wherein players stood on the Board at all times and literally had to duck to reload/hide. The weight distribution would be easily detectable by the Board, and it could even allow you to lean out of cover to shoot intuitively. Of course, you couldn't get too comfortable crouched down, as the time limits would still apply...

Balancing Katamari

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I've mentioned Katamari Damacy as a prime candidate for a Wii title before by using motions of the remote and nunchuk alone, but the Balance Board has got me thinking of another Bandai Namco title that would work well with it - I can hope, since Namco have already put the Board to work. Imagine standing on the board and shifting your weight to move that big sticky ball around and wreak the Prince's own special brand of innocent terror upon the lands. The standard controls could still be used in conjunction for using the dash, doing 180 degree turns and so on. On the other hand, you might also be able to play by using the Balance Board as a great big pressure pad. The reason Katamari wouldn't really work on DS is that you can only have the one input on the touch screen, but the Balance Board would be happy to accommodate a hand on each half of it pushing and dragging about. Slide your hands forward to move forward, shift them left to sidle around your ball, quickly slam both hands down for a quick turn, the harder you push the faster you go. Having the Katamari being literally moved by your hands, rather than your thumbs, would make the destruction much more tantalising. Or I'm a sadist.

Joshua Callum Jeffery (Superlink)

Super Mario 128: Again
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So how many times has Super Mario 128 popped up on release lists since it's "announcement" at SpaceWorld all those years ago? With the Balance Board, that tech video could finally become a real game, or at least could be the inspiration for a new Super Mario adventure. Picture the disc (or the pizza, your choice...) from the trailer, and then picture yourself tilting it with weight from your body on the balance board. Lean on a side of the balance board to tilt the disc on the screen, and then go forth with Mario at the control of your Nunchuck and Wiimote, hopping from shaped disc to shaped disc, each one being tilted in different ways to progress. Of course this idea is just the basis for what could be an entire game, as I see it being used in conjunction with many elements from Super Mario Galaxy before it. While the experience may not be the same, you might get tired of standing up and have to sit down with your feet on the board for a little while though...

Super Monkey: Balance My Balls

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I'm sure many of you could see this coming, but with the Monkey Ball franchise out of action for a few years, what better way to make a comeback? Finally you'll be able to experience Super Monkey Ball the way it was conceived, a struggle for Monkey survival by panicking more than ever along dangerous paths, but this time controlled with your own feet tilting the Balance Board. Is it even possible this time? The series has always been insanely difficult from time to time, but this time you'd need a keep steady more than ever. This game would surely not be one for the faint hearted..

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29.05.2008 22:27

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Article

Smilie balance my balls, thats a title I dont think Sega would choose but its very good. Good Job SuperlinkSmilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Heheh, that one I didn't make, I didn't like the title I made so I asked for someone to make a better one Smilie

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Oh well, whomever came up with it Smilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Great work guys!

Sonic sounds awesome Smilie Would love to get in the running seat with the blue chap. Time Crisis with Wii zapper would be brilliant. Come on Namco Bandai!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

I have another good use for the board... it's called "Ubi representative hunt" and when you find them you sort of use the balance board as a baseball bat

Ok I like the sound of MGS w/balance board but some of those games are just notoging to work with it at all, mainly the Tony Hawks idea, I tried playing one with a balance board-esque perhiperal and it was too hard to do anyhing.

ButI do like the idea of some games...

Visit my Wii-Optimized Site
WiiDirect
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Feel free to add your own ideas...it's all a bit of fun really Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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