By Jared Newman | Monday, August 3, 2009 at 3:43 pm
A game programmer is getting mouthy about the Wii, saying that an iPhone is more powerful for gaming.
This argument transpired at the forums (via GameZine) for TellTale, which developed Tales of Monkey Island as a downloadable title from the WiiWare online store. A programmer with the handle “Yare” explained that the Wii is just not meaty enough to address all of the issues players are having, including blurry textures and choppy framerates.
“Frame rate issues will probably get sorted out eventually, but keep in mind that the Wii is just not a powerful console,” Yare wrote. “An iPhone is much more powerful than a Wii, even.”
A boisterous claim, no doubt, but does it hold water? It’s hard to say given that neither Apple nor Nintendo freely discusses hardware specs. You can take a look at the leaked specs for both the Wii and the iPhone and be the judge, but even then you’d have a hard time making a direct comparison.
In any case, I don’t think it really matters. One of the things I like about WiiWare is how it forces simplicity. The console space is so otherwise littered with face-melting graphics that a space for constraint in game design and visual aesthetics is welcome. To that end, a couple of my favorite games for this generation of consoles — World of Goo and Bit.Trip Beat — are downloadable WiiWare titles. Both games have simple foundations, but they manage to create complex challenges without relying on technical muscle.
I understand some of Yare’s concerns, particularly that WiiWare titles can be no larger than 40 MB in size (Nintendo has not explicitly confirmed this, but has said the company encourages smaller games). With Nintendo now allowing access to games directly from an SD card, there’s room to relax those constraints, but that doesn’t mean the floodgates should open for games of all sizes. I don’t want WiiWare to become musclebound.