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I've never really understood the hype behind motion controllers. I'll admit to owning a Wii, but it's gotten less play than iPhone Scrabble has the last year. Sure, I did some Wii Sports with Dad. That was at least until he kicked me out of his league for bowling like a European - whatever that means. When I was asked to go to the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco last week, maybe I should have told my editor, Greg Tito, that I probably wasn't the right guy for the job. I even thought about emailing him about it, but got distracted by a marathon session of Scrubs. Constant visual non-sequiturs? Hilarious!
Even at GDC the opportunity didn't really present itself. Every time I tried to broach the subject, Greg was busy telling someone about his new manuscript for a book about mythical animal mating habits. It wasn't so much that he was ignoring me as he was probably avoiding the effects of the mini-cheesedogs I'd been eating all day - It's not my fault that I'm lactose intolerant.
My first stop was at Sony's "Move" booth. Move is Sony's new motion controller which, in my opinion, resembles one-half Pez dispenser and one half painful sex toy. Every time some confused participant shook the glowing ball trying to elicit some sort of response from the game, I imagined the following conversation between Sony fanboys figuring out how to use it:
"Hey bro, how do I use this thing?"
"Here, let me show you."
"Are you sure about this? What are you doing - wait don't... Ow!"
"Want a Pez, man?"
While standing around waiting to get a chance to mess about with Sony's motion controller, I got a history lesson from one of the onlookers. He told me that Sony's motion controller had been first called Gem. I guess that they changed the name to Move because Gem was a little too fruity. But to be honest, there's something about the word "move" that makes me think of an interpretive dance troupe. Or my last bowel movement. Maybe that was the mini-cheesedogs talking. Still, it'll be fun to hear stories of people confusing their friends with phrases like "Let's play move!"
Move's games were somewhat boring, and after watching people do the Sony equivalent of Microsoft paint, I grew bored and wandered off to complete my duties as a journalist.
At the Natal booth, they were running the same game they were running at last year. Perhaps that is why the queue was so short. I decided to stand in line for the Breakout game. Not because I wanted to play, but because I wondered where Milo had gone. Maybe the PR guy would have some answers. My curiosity was piqued when something about Peter Molyneux, Natal and his new son Milo was first announced on twitter. At first, I suspected that my theories about Molyneux's vagina were true. But later, as the hype around Natal grew, I became increasingly skeptical about the existence of Milo at all. My uncertainty about whether Milo was a real boy was realized when, at a recent conference, Milo failed to recognize an audience member because he was wearing a black jacket. Ever since that incident, we've seen neither hide nor hair of Molyneux's quasi-racist Pinocchio.