Announced at E3 so recently the booth babes' fake tan hasn't yet worn off, today we got our uncoordinated hands on Nintendo's Wii MotionPlus. It's a small adaptor that clips on to the bottom end of the Wii's Wiimote, and increases the controller's sense of spatial awareness. Theoretically at least, it should allow players to feel more immersed in the game they're playing by allowing your character to mirror your arm's position more accurately.
Some people, by which we mean CNET UK's chief sub-editor Nick Hide, believe the extra accuracy the clip-on adaptor provides should've been built-in from the start. But it wasn't, so now you'll need about 20 British pounds to buy the adaptor on its own, or else buy one of the new games that include it for free.
It pairs a type of gyroscope with the Wiimote's accelerometer, and one such game that takes advantage of the two silicon siblings is EA's forthcoming Grand Slam Tennis.
In the game, the MotionPlus allowed our little tennis guy to mirror whether we were holding our racket up in the air, or any position between the sky and the ground. Without the adaptor, the racket just stayed at waist height. We truly suck at most forms of sport, so we didn't find it made much difference to how well we played. But the technology certainly worked, and it did add a definite -- if thin, for us -- coating of realism to the game.
Grand Slam Tennis can be played with or without the MotionPlus, and we expect later titles will take even better advantage of the additional spacial-awareness jiggery-pokery it can conjure -- Red Steel 2, for example, actually requires you use it.
So don't rush out and buy just yet. Instead, hold off until you want one of the games that it comes free with -- Grand Slam Tennis, Wii Sports Resort and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 being just some examples.
Some pictures of the little fella in action are over the next few pages.