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A New Era of Motion Control
When the Nintendo Wii was released back in 2006, although it was a huge success, many lamented the lack of true motion control. Three years later, Nintendo looks to have finally conquered that problem with the release of the Wii MotionPlus, a Wii Remote add-on that amplifies the accuracy of the Wii Remote's motion-sensing capabilities. With it, Nintendo claims to have achieved true 1:1 motion capability.
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What does the Wii Motion Plus Remote Do?
The Wii Remote makes use of infrared technology and accelerometers to achieve the motion control that you experience with the Nintendo Wii. The IR sensors detect where the Wii Remote is and where it's pointing. The accelerometers, one for each axis, detect how it's positioned, in which direction it's moving, and how quickly.
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What does the Wii MotionPlus do?
The Wii MotionPlus attachment, which attaches to the rear of the Wii Remote, supplements the Remote and makes it more accurate. It contains an angular rate sensor which can detect rotational motion using vibration. This, when accompanied with the Wii Remote's accelerometers, allows for true 1:1 motion control.
It's important to note that the accessory only works with Wii MotionPlus compatible titles. So far those games include Wii Sports Resort, Tiger Woods 2010, Grand Slam Tennis, and Virtua Tennis 2009. There are plenty more on the way, -including the hotly anticipated Red Steel 2.
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How Does Calibration Work for the Wii Motion Plus Remote?
Those who have played Wii Sports Resort will be familiar with the calibration that takes place before (and during) many of the sports, where you're required to lay the Wii Remote on a flat, even surface for a few seconds. You then must point your Remote at the screen and click within the target box. This is because the Wii doesn't know how your controller is initially orientated. By doing this calibration, you create a starting position in which every motion you make is relative to.
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Wii MotionPlus Problems
Those who have played some intense rounds in Wii Sports Resort's Sword Dueling game can tell you that while the Wii MotionPlus may initially work great, a few powerful sword swings can upset the calibration. When this happens, your Mii will still mimic your movements, but from a different starting position as yourself. You may be holding the sword directly in front of you, but your Mii can be holding it to the far left.
Fortunately, Nintendo remedies this problem with the sensor bar. Whenever the Wii Remote picks up the infrared light coming from the sensor bar, it recalibrates itself. This results in the Wii Remote constantly correcting itself throughout your game.
You can also correct it yourself. In most game modes, you can hit down on the d-pad to force your Mii to re-center what he or she is holding. As long as you're holding the Remote directly in front you as you do it, your actions should sync up and it will be working fine again.
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Sensor Bar Problems
The Sensor Bar and Wii Remote operate using infrared lights. Unfortunately, other things give off infrared light as well - including the sun. This can cause interference while playing. If you are having trouble, the best solution is to limit the amount of light shining towards the televisio, from both the sun and inside sources. If this isn't as easy as turning off a switch or closing some blinds, and you are constantly having problems, you may want to think about rearranging your setup completely.
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Does the Wii MotionPlus really work?
In the end, is the MotionPlus all it's said to be? The consensus seems to be overwhelmingly positive, with some comparing the upgrade to the difference between VHS and Blu-ray. And yes, not DVD, but Blu-Ray! That's quite an improvement. For a more detailed review, you can check out Brighthub's impressions of the Wii MotionPlus.