One of the most underreported stories of e3 2006 was the fact that the Wii controller will have a built in speaker. The cool thing about having sound in the Wiimote is that game developers will be able to simulate real world sound lag: the doppler effect. An example of this was shown at e3 when Link shot an arrow.
According to DigitalBattle:
You could hear when your stretched your bow from little speaker on the Wiimote, adn then when fired, the sound would “travel” from the Wiimote to your television.
Now for all of us techies and geeks who love cool little gadgets, this should have been music to our ears. We should have been salivating over this. But as far as I can tell, it has been way underdiscussed.
There is no question that of all the senses, the visual modality has gotten the bulk of attention in vid games. Sound has improved, but not at the exquisite pace of graphics. There just haven’t been any earth shattering, paradigm shifting, qualitative advances in sound like we’ve seen in graphics. Now we have that advance.
Imagine the possibilities. Luke swinging his light saber in a fight against Darth Vader. A close pitch in a game of baseball. A flying asteroid as it speeds by your space ship. The sound of a defensive end crushing you just as you move your arm back to pass. The sound of a car passing by in a game of Need for Speed. The bullet moving from your gun to the duck in a game of Duck Hunt. The chilling atmospheric effects of Resident Evil, closer than ever before.
I for one can’t wait to see (errrr…hear) all that the game developers do with sound in the Wiimote. Let’s remember, while the main attraction of the Wii controllers is motion sensitivity, we’re also going to get a fuller sensory experience with our vid games at the level of sound, too. Keep it up Nintendo. These are the thing we live for.
Oh, and about the Wiimote and its doppler effect: I WANT ONE, NOW!