Forgot password?  |  Register  |    
User Name:     Password:    

In Defense of Waggle

Wait, hang on a second! Before you start jamming on the Page Down key to troll me in the comments, at least hear me out!

Alright, thanks for at least trying to listen to what I have to say. Waggle has been a loathed enemy of non-casual gamers since its introduction with the Wii in 2006. While it's often used in ways that harm the game experience, in some instances, it's far better than any button could ever be. Whoa, hang on there, killer! There will be time to troll at the end, let me justify myself.

Nothing drove this point home for me quite like playing de Blob 2. I had the opportunity to review the first game for Nintendo World Report and really loved it, but I harshly criticized the game's waggle jump. I mean, what a stupid idea. There's no justifiable reason to ever tie such an action to that type of control. It's inaccurate, unreliable, and extremely annoying to constantly perform throughout the game. Now, skip forward to de Blob 2 – the developers took this criticism to heart, and actually dumped all of the waggle control in the game in favor of button presses. This included the game's attack function, which was once performed by locking onto the enemy and making a smashing motion. I quickly realized after playing de Blob 2 that I much preferred the old method of attacking.

What the hell, de Blob 2 is actually making me miss waggle!?

There was just something far more visceral and engaging about the move. I'd swing the Wii Remote down with force and on screen my foe would be splat into black ink. Now, it all felt so dull and automatic, as if the game was playing itself for me. "Oh, an enemy... better keeping tapping the right two buttons until all of the enemies are dead... fun." It was honestly an odd revelation, at no point had I ever had waggle, then had it taken away and been forced to experience the difference.

This got me thinking, if waggle wasn't so bad in de Blob (minus the jumping waggle), where else would I have really hated giving up waggle control. No More Heroes quickly sprung to mind. It's a game that used motion control in such a way that it was always satisfying. Hitting buttons to wear down your enemies and then finishing with a motion gesture always gave the game this tangible x factor that almost couldn't be explained. Charging the beam sword was always a good one, too...

Otaku or not, who didn't feel like a bad ass playing the role of Travis?

Even having played both the Wii and GameCube versions of Twilight Princess, I've found that waggle controls have held up extremely well there and I often find myself wanting to swing my controller to attack when playing the GameCube. Clearly for me, executing a move like attacking with a swing of a Wii Remote rather than a push of a button makes the experience far more engaging than it would be otherwise. It's an energy release and it's extremely satisfying to feel as if you are physically harming your enemy via the digital extension of your hand, the Wii Remote.

There are other games that have incorporated a simple shaking motion that have had varying degrees of success. Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 weren't awful in their implementation, as it simply executed a spin move, but the move could've just as easily been a button and it wouldn't have been any different for the player. Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition is yet another good example of a game improved by waggle controls. Knifing zombies was easy to execute and a huge improvement over the button based version found on the GameCube and PlayStation 2.

Galaxy waggle, meh. RE4 waggle, yeah!

Anyone who has been a part of this generation knows well enough by now why waggle controls are so universally hated by non-casual players. In most instances, they add absolutely nothing to the game and make something that was once very natural, quick, and easy to execute, suddenly slow and imprecise. Donkey Kong Country Returns drives that point home better than any other game this generation.

Going forward, developers should take a serious look at how they are integrating waggle controls and only choose to include them if they are meaningful and add a new element to the game. Conversely, those not even considering the control option should truly analyze their product and determine if adding in the motion gesturing will add a new dimension to the gameplay and make for a more immersive experience.



Joaquim Mira Media Manager

03/07/2011 at 12:54 PM

Isn't this like what Nintendo has said before? They're only adding motion controls when they are needed, and not cumbersome.

It just goes to show that most developers aren't paying attention to any hint the hardware manufacturer itself is giving away.


03/07/2011 at 02:48 PM

I personally thought that Resident Evil 4 became too easy with waggle. It became less scary because I had so much control over Leon.

That said, there are certainly games that are improved by motion controls, such as Metroid Prime and Wario Ware, but the thing people complain about is waggle where it simply replaces a button press such as Mario Galaxy and Donkey Kong Country Returns.


03/07/2011 at 04:14 PM

Donkey Kong wii is the best example of when not to use waggle.

I could still do without it or at least alternate controls for those of us who prefer old school control.


03/07/2011 at 06:15 PM

Mario Strikers Charged. There isn't a feeling comparable to the satisfaction of bashing my opponents with a simple waggle. It remains my favorite Wii game to this day... and I don't even like soccer!


03/07/2011 at 09:47 PM

"Before you start jamming on the Page Down key to troll me"

I'll have you know I use the mouse wheel.


03/08/2011 at 02:17 AM

I freakin hate Ninteendo especially the Wii. I have one and I literally havent turned it on in over a year. Its so badNintendo just keeps releasing gay mario themed shit and party games. They havent released any innovating or different types of games since the wiis releas. So im pretty sure I wont get their next console especially if they dont learn how to make it in HD. So ya Nintendo can go die and Reggie has always pissed me off. He thinks hes such a badass its so annoying.

Nick DiMola Director

03/08/2011 at 09:15 AM


I think the game becoming that much easier thanks to waggle is a testament to just how great it is in that given application. Without it, you weren't struggling with the game, but with the control input, which is a problem that we should always be trying to overcome.

I'm glad that Nintendo introduced motion control this generation, but I'm hoping the ideas that have been set forth can be reflected on and refined in the coming generation in order to provide superior game experiences.

Kathrine Theidy Staff Alumnus

03/12/2011 at 08:34 PM

I don't mind it in some games if these two conditions are met: the shake is sensitive enough that a quick flick works, and the action isn't something used terribly often (the jump in de Blob was a no-no). Super Mario Galaxy works fine, I have no trouble getting it to work with slight shakes and it isn't used all that often in most levels. Donkey Kong Country Returns, on the other hand, is just a mess. I like the shake the Nunchuk to reload weapon in Call of Duty, though it could stand to be a bit more sensitive. It's fun to shoot someone down and then do a victory fist pump which also happens to reload my weapon.

I'm okay with motions taking over for buttons for now, but once motion controls can get more accurate, I want to see them become something more. They need to be a more accurate representation of the actual action you're performing instead of just a wild shake.

Log in to your PixlBit account in the bar above or join the site to leave a comment.