relationship with my video game controller has always been a functional
one and emotionless one. I regard the grip and button placement in a
completely utilitarian fashion. In my mind a controller is simply an
extension of myself and should be thought of no more than one thinks of
breathing. Things have completely changed with the WaveBird. Its
disrupted my life and my game playing. During the mid-summer video game
drought of 02, I found myself looking for games to play over just to
have a little time with this wonder. It didnt matter that I had played
SSX Tricky till my finger bled with my old controller. I needed to
experience the game all over again without wires.
Nintendo promises at least fifty hours on a set of AA batteries. I
dont know how long Ive been playing, but there seems to be no end in
sight. The range is said to be somewhere around 20 feet, but my house
just isnt big enough to put any type of strain on the transmitter.
There are sixteen selectable channels, so theres no problem hooking up
four wireless controllers simultaneously.
Some might bemoan the absence of a rumble function, but it was a
distraction that I never really cared for. I remember when Star Fox came
out for the Nintendo 64 with the rumble pack included. I thought that it
was kind of a neat but useless addition to the system. A slight rumble
in the palm of my hand did little to simulate what it must feel like to
have a space ship shot down. And I cant imagine that the rumble was all
that good for my wrists.
The hardest thing about playing
with the WaveBird is forgetting that there isnt a cable. The cable
conditions us to play sitting up and relatively close to the TV. The
cable conditions us to yell at people who cross our line of sight to the
TV because were worried they accidentally trip and disconnect the
Super Monkey Ball has to be the critical test game. There is no room
for any type of controller delay, but even when I slipped off the edge,
I could find no fault with the controller. There is no perceptible lag
with this thing. Any game I could pop into the console was a joy to
play. Ill be really surprised if the next generation of consoles
doesnt have wireless controllers incorporated into the system right out
of the box.
A few weeks ago I caved in and picked up an X-Box (Im still not sure
why I felt the need to supplement my Gamecube). When my editor found out
that I had the console, the first thing that he asked me was, "What do
you think of those extra long cords for the controllers? Arent they
great?" I was a little less enthusiastic than my friend because a cord,
no matter how long, binds and tethers you fast to the earth. With the
WaveBird you feel like gravity has no claim on you.
Jason Frank (08/30/2002)
Wireless controller that really works and works
What? You miss the tripping and spilling and