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4 theoretical games that could take advantage of the Wii Vitality Sensor

Posted on September 13, 2009 by (@NE_Brian) in Features, Wii


Among all of the peripherals that have been released for the Wii, the “Vitality Sensor” is arguably the most obscure one we’ve seen yet. A device that measures your pulse? How could that be fun for serious video gamers? Aside from making sure you’re still alive, the possibilities seem pretty slim. Despite this sarcastic skepticism though, it’d be hard deny that there are options for the device. On one hand, it has significant potential for specific types of titles, but on the other hand, the most likely path Nintendo will take with the device will be one very similar to the Wii Balance Board: A couple of decent casual titles will be made, and then the company will  leave it up to third parties to support a gadget that they created. If Nintendo wants the Wii Vitality Sensor to be anything more than a device to attract sleepless moms, they’re going to have to do something to attract core gamers.

The Game: Eternal Darkness 2
Genre: Survival Horror
Use of the Vitality Sensor: Staying calm

The Premise: Now, I’ve never had the privilege of playing Eternal Darkness, but I’ve read more than enough about the game to know exactly why it’s as loved as it is. It uses fourth-wall shattering techniques to affect the player beyond the confines of the screen, and for that it was considered one of the most revolutionary games to hit the survival horror genre since the original Resident Evil. Combining what the game already had in place with the ability to read your pulse, and the game could, in theory, force you to keep calm or risk punishment. For instance, imagine that as your pulse increased, the screen would distort, causing you to lose focus and suffer the loss of the ability to see your enemies before they seek you out. This would add a whole new level to the game, and intensify the experience that was already so highly praised in the original.

The Game: Call of Duty: Future Warfare

Genre: Action/First Person Shooter
Use of the Vitality Sensor: Staying calm, raising heart rate.
The Premise: Call of Duty might be the last franchise to come to mind when you think of casual peripherals, but it is also the first thing to come to mind when you think of modern action titles. Utilizing the Wii Vitality Sensor, this conceptual game would measure the player’s heart rate to determine the steadiness of the IR and the speed of damage recovery. As players run around the battlefield, the sensor would keep track of your heart rate, which in turn determines the speed at which you heal. The faster your heart rate, the larger adrenaline rush, and the quicker you heal. In addition, a slower heart rate increases your accuracy which forces you to “balance” your heart rate between gaining accuracy and speeding up recovery time.

Chances are that neither of these games, nor anything similar to them, will be released. In terms of concept, however, nobody really knows what third parties, or Nintendo’s non-casual side, have planned for the device. With that said, what Nintendo may have planned is a little easier to guess.

The Game: Wii Fit Beat

Genre: Fitness
Use of the Vitality Sensor: Tracking heart rate
The Premise: When Wii Fit released, it brought a whole new style of gaming to the market, and with “Wii Fit Beat”, the extent to which the game and measure your progress is extended further than it was ever possible. By tracking your resting heart rate, your maximum heart rate, and the time it takes for you to “cool down” from a strenuous heart rate, the game can see how far you’ve come in training your cardio respiratory system to slow down and speed up during and after exercises, which is directly correlated to your level of fitness. The game would still utilize the Balance Board, and would be more of an expansion pack to the original game than a standalone game.

The Game: Wii Sleep

Genre: Health and Body
Use of the Vitality Sensor: Slowing down your heart rate
The Premise: The last game, “Wii Sleep”, is also to most obvious of the four. “Wii Sleep” is the tentative name to the title that Nintendo President Satoru Iwata would like to make with the peripheral. The game would essentially help people calm down by using visual and audio cues to slow down the heart and help players relax. Whether the software could be referred to as a “game” is up for debate, as chances are it would release alongside the peripheral as a pack-in or a downloadable Wii channel, but for better or for worse, this is the style of thing that Wii owners can look forward to alongside the device, come its probable release date in 2010.

Final thoughts

Whether its Nintendo or third parties, someone is going to have to come up with some creative ideas to make sure that the Wii Vitality Sensor doesn’t “suffer” the same fate as the balance board in the eyes of the core gamers, but I personally have a good feeling about the device. With developers like Suda51 showing interest, there’s a much higher chance that a non-casual title will utilize it. Until we hear an official announcement or credible rumor though, all we can do is cross our fingers. Let the record show, however, that Nintendo needs to provide a way for the vitality sensor and the nunchuck to be plugged in at one time, otherwise the ability third parties have to create core titles will be severely limited.

Have any other concept game suggestions? Want to give your 2 cents on the Wii Vitality Sensor? Leave a comment or discuss this in our forums!

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