If you've followed the Game Developers Conference at all, you probably heard about Maxis programmer Chris Hecker comments that the Wii is nothing more than two GameCubes duct tape together (though, to be fair, that's a 0.5 upgrade from comments that the Wii is "GameCube 1.5"). We're willing to wager that "Product X is just two Product Ys duct tape together" is on track to becoming a popular phrase in gaming circles.
Kim Pallister of Microsoft Casual Games has risen to Hecker's defense, which ultimately led to an apology we feel was somewhat coerced by his overlords at EA and Maxis. The major point in Hecker's argument is that having an innovative control system "should not give them a 'get out of jail free card' on the fact that they have delivered an underpowered machine," according to Pallister's interpretation. And by underpowered, Hecker is referring to computations and not the graphics system, which puts his rant in line with what he said last year that the PS3 and Xbox 360 also underperform in terms of computational power while focusing on a graphics-heavy system.
We're not going to take sides on his point that Nintendo needs to "recognize and push games as a serious art form," though the statement does make for a great discussion. We will say all three companies have pushed for more involvement with independent developers. (Microsoft has Castle Crashers and Roboblitz, Sony has flOw and LittleBigPlanet and Nintendo has Line Rider and possibly Telltale's Sam & Max.)
Don't forget about the heap of praise that the IGDA community gave Hecker just last year after winning the Community Contribution Award. Though, to be fair, that award is just two IGF awards duct taped together.
Another side to Chris Hecker's duct tape rant
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