But I've got a feeling that there were still plenty of difficulties to come, weren’t there?
(looking through data in front of him) Do you want me to start?
Or should I go first?
So you’re telling me that there were still plenty of trials and tribulations in store for both of you. (laughs) Okay, let's start with Ito-san. Tell me about the problems you ran into with regards to the electrical circuitry.
Okay. Well, there were a lot of things we had to contend with. For instance, when the gyro sensor’s casing absorbed moisture from the air, it would affect its sensitivity.
Could you explain a bit more about the gyro sensor’s casing?
This is the material that contains the gyro sensor. Although it was made from a plastic epoxy resin, if it absorbed so much as a tiny amount of water, it would swell up and put pressure on the sensor which would prevent it from functioning properly.
Plastic products should be completely free from moisture, shouldn't they?
That’s right. It’s the same as when you deep fry food with a high water content and it bursts open. If even a little water gets into the casing, when it’s soldered, the sensor can split. In order to prevent that, you have to ensure that when it's being manufactured, it is in a completely dry environment. But even if you do that, it’s inevitable that when players use it, it will absorb some moisture. Even the epoxy resin will expand if it absorbs any moisture.
At the start we tried various ways of ensuring that moisture couldn’t get in, such as using a coating.
And even then, moisture got in.
Whatever we did, moisture would get in.
How did you manage to solve this tricky issue?
We made it absorb moisture right from the start, but in a controlled and efficient manner.
So if it's going to absorb moisture anyway, you might as well let it absorb it right from the start! (laughs)
So we boiled the entire circuit board.
You boiled it? You’re telling me you really tried that?
Circuit boards aren’t normally something you boil, you know! (laughs)
There are ways to get plastic to absorb moisture so that it becomes stable. One of those ways is to boil it.
Well I never…!
So we went and bought a pressure cooker...
A pressure cooker?
Er... And we put it on expenses. Sorry about that!
It actually takes an extremely long time to get the plastic to absorb the required quantity of moisture.
Which makes mass production impossible, right?
That’s why we needed to make it absorb the moisture in the shortest time possible.
Which is where the pressure cooker came in! (laughs)
In the end, we didn’t actually use it.
I suppose it would have been a little odd to have had a row of pressure cookers on the assembly line.
We also purchased things like an ultrasonic washing machine used for spectacles...
We also researched the steamers that are used for steaming buns...
We'd be looking at things and going: “We might be able to use this!”
We really did spend a lot of time searching for the right one, didn't we?
We certainly did!
And? In the end what method did you use for adding moisture?
We placed a normal humidifier in a room and then used a heater to adjust the temperature.
If that’s all it took, you didn’t need to go and boil anything in a pressure cooker! (laughs)
Well, yes. That's true... (laughs) But we were looking to get it to absorb the moisture in the shortest time possible.
Even using a humidifier, it takes over 48 hours.
So you leave it to sit for two days... It's just like making a curry!
With Wii MotionPlus, people might think that we've just tacked on a gyro sensor, but in fact it was a product that necessitated a huge amount of trial and error, whether it was collecting Pokémotion shop displays, making steel hooks and breaking the Wii Remote or simmering the components in a pressure cooker. You really put a lot of effort into this one! Now, just to wrap up, could I ask each of you to give a final message?
Up to now, the Wii Remote could only detect movements along straight lines, which may have led game developers to feel some dissatisfaction at times. But with Wii MotionPlus, because we have made it so it can detect rotation, I would like to ask developers to bring out lots of games that utilise this advantage for our users to enjoy. Oh, and there’s just one more thing I want to mention: there's a bit of a trick required to attach the Wii MotionPlus accessory to the Wii Remote.
I was at something of a loss as to how to attach the first time I attempted it. It was a bit like struggling to figure out puzzle rings. (laughs)
That’s why we wanted to explain it in precise detail in the instruction guide. But Iwata-san put his foot down.
Well, it’s not as if every user is going to read the instructions in any case. Plus it’s very difficult to work it out by just looking at diagrams.
That’s why we decided to put the instructions in video form which you can see when you start Wii Sports Resort. All you have to do is watch that and you’ll soon get the hang of attaching Wii MotionPlus.
Once you've got the hang of it, it’s actually very easy to attach. Okay, over to you, Wakitani-san.
Just speaking personally, I'm actually a huge fan of tennis, so I’m really looking forward to games coming out that allow unparalleled realism in their racquet control. I would urge all game developers to produce great new games, the likes of which we haven't seen before.
I have just one thing to say to all of our customers. With Wii MotionPlus, the feeling of being at one with the game - or rather the fact that you can move in exactly the way you want to – makes the concept very simple to grasp. So I would ask all of you to understand and appreciate what we were going for with Wii MotionPlus.
I'm also going to speak about something personal. Watching my daughter playing New Super Mario Bros, when she was jumping and wanted to go a little further, she would actually stretch her body with all her might.
I think we all do that! (laughs)
Those kinds of movements that players make completely naturally couldn’t be picked up with the control systems that have existed up to now. But with Wii MotionPlus, a control system is now possible that can detect how the player is feeling and respond accordingly. That’s why I'm anticipating games which take the enjoyment to a whole new level, even beyond the fact that the Wii Remote’s length has expanded. And finally, I have one more thing to say to the game developers. If you have any problems, don't hesitate to get in touch!
I’m sure they’ll be reassured to hear that! (laughs) Finally, a few comments from my side. Since the decision was made to bring out Wii MotionPlus, there has been one thing I have looked forward to with a huge amount of anticipation. We have received positive feedback from many people concerning the brand new data input device which is the Wii Remote. I can actually still remember perfectly the first time I was able to play the prototype software which would become the basis for the tennis game which Ota-san developed for Wii Sports. That’s why at E3 in 2006, when the Wii console was unveiled, we decided to make Miyamoto-san, Reggie5 and myself playing tennis into the centrepiece of our presentation.
But while the Wii Remote may have made things incredibly accessible and open to everyone, in terms of depth, there were limitations. As the Wii Remote could not fully detect how the player had moved it or twisted it, game developers had to make games while all the time coming up with various ideas enabling them to interpret what the player had done: "At this point, the player’s going to be sure to want to do this.” By coming up with various elaborate ideas, game developers were able to produce games that even complete novices could enjoy. But it is also true to say that, from the perspective of people who are very passionate about games, we got feedback along the lines that: “Yes, the games are very accessible and allow a fresh kind of enjoyment, but there is something shallow about them at the same time.”
But now Wii MotionPlus can detect a wide variety of movements perfectly, which makes me wonder how that will change the games that come out now. They will still remain as accessible as ever, and the unique point that anyone can pick up the Wii Remote and play still holds true. But I feel that there will be a huge shift in terms of the depth of games that come out from now on. So what I am really looking forward to seeing is how Wii MotionPlus will add a new level to gaming enjoyment for both experienced players and novices.
Next time, I’ll interview the team behind Wii Sports Resort to find out what kind of games can be enjoyed using Wii MotionPlus.
5 Reggie Fils-Aime, President of NOA (Nintendo of America).
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