April 25, 2007



Type Writer

I have the Wii for about a week now and it’s going great. I whacked at the air for tennis, and putted my golf balls. It was strange to play that game all by myself. It’s hard to explain the sensation. It was like playing air guitar. I felt silly. Probably like the first person who ran on a tread mill. But it was all fun. I think I would have felt less strange if other people were swinging along with me. What’s different about the conventional control versus the Wii remote? Well one thing is that I’m not accustomed to holding a remote more then an hour. Usually, I use the remote to turn on / off a television or adjust the volume. While I think that is one of the reasons, there are others. You see, at the same time that I got the Wii, my office decided to get rid of a big old electric type writer. I rescued it from the trash and brought it home with me. So I got to experience a leap forward into video technology and at the same time, a leap backwards. (Good examples of how old technology is sometimes better then the new one happen just now, as I was writing along and wanted to save it into this blog. Most of it disappear and fail to be visible. So I’ll try to rewrite what I was thinking about) Ah yes I was saying that I’m in my late thirties and wrote my school papers on a typewriter. As word processing programs became available, I made the switch over and have become accustom to writing in a non linear fashion; skipping around and adding and taking stuff away, editing as I write not after the fact. So after a session of air swing in-front of the television screen, I would go to my new old typewriter. There it was looming in front of me. The white paper looks to be the size of a match book sitting in an over size writing machine. It emitted a low hum. When I started typing, a clatter of keys come a live, as the daisy wheel rotated and the hammer head branded each precise letter into the pale white flesh of the page. I was knocking out words like it was going out of style. Never mind if it was good writing. I got that instant gratification of seeing what I wanted to say appears straight away. There was no going back, no editing. I was mesmerized with the mechanical process, staring at the hammer head that was making the words. I had to commit myself to the page. Everything I wrote was recorded. It was all so permanent.

What’s this got to do with the Wii? Well imagine that you are air typing. What if there was a way to tape ten sensors to your fingers and thumbs and it recorded your typing? That’s what playing with the wireless Wii remote is like. It made me think that it’s possible to create a writing machine without the keyboard. The strange sensation can be compare to typing without a keyboard, though Wii is far away from such an apparatus. (Recently, Wii added Opera Internet search capability. So if you have a big screen, you can surf along in the 42″ plus plasma-tic t.v. screen. There are rumors of a keyboard, but a wired ordinary board. One can save a favorite website for easy access. So next time one doesn’t have to hunt and peck the virtual keyboard one letter at the time with the Wii Remote.)

You get the picture. It’s like swinging a remote instead of a golf club. I had become accustom to conventional controls for video games. This is one leap into the virtual world. Still there are clues to ground the player in the physical world. Built into the Wii remote has a small sensor that vibrates and alerts me that I’ve placed the cursor onto the right spot. So Wii has given us a visual and well as a physical clue. You don’t see this feature built into the mouse. It’s amazingly easy to adapt to this type of intuitive remote.

This post has been linked on ‘how-to-play-the-game’.

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