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Dude, where's my cursor (Wii annoyance #1)

Kyle Orland

For the most part, we've been impressed with the responsiveness and stability of the Wii remote as pointing device. The whole pointer system fails, though, when your remote hand wavers a bit and the pointer goes off the screen. Unlike a computer mouse pointer which stops at the edge of the monitor, the Wii pointer completely disappears if the remote is not pointed directly at the screen area, even if it's still well within the sensor bar's range. What's more, the system doesn't even give any indication of where the missing cursor was last seen or which edge of the monitor it departed through.

It only takes a few seconds to get over the confusion and realign your remote, but it gets a little annoying when it happens multiple times in one play session. The problem is especially apparent when switching from gesture-based to pointer-based functions, such as transferring from sword-swinging to boomerang throwing in Zelda, or from racquet swinging to menu selection in Wii Sports: Tennis.

It doesn't seem to be solely a hardware problem either -- the sensor bar seems perfectly capable of detecting much of the off-screen pointing, but the software and system menus just don't acknowledge it. Even if the pointer is completely out of sensor range, some sort of on-screen indicator of its last known position would be nice. We urge any and all future Wii developers to consider this problem carefully when developing their pointer-based gameplay.

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