Nintendo and the Windows Mindset

Nintendo and the Windows Mindset

Summary: Games intended for the Nintendo Wii shouldn't show any Windows programming influences at all - but many do. The Tiger Woods PGA golf game, for example, takes five steps to load or shutdown - and four of those are Windows style redundant pop-ups.

I've been playing the Tiger Woods PGA golf game on Nintendo/Wii lately and some things about it strike me as stunningly indicative of what happens to good ideas when they get filtered through the mindsets of people devoted to Windows programming. Thus the game orginator, Steve Cartwright, actually started with a sparse and even elegant product for the Atari - but over time Activision's pursuit of higher volume markets led to what is now EA Sports and a focus on the Microsoft world markets -with the Nintendo and PlayStation ports almost incidental.

A native Nintendo game, like the golf game that comes with the console, starts when you power up the machine and select golf from the menu. Similarly, game shutdown is a one step process followed by power down or the selection of whatever you want to play next.

Not so with the EA Sports product. Here's how you start the Tiger Woods game:

  1. Put the CD in, and power up the Nintendo

  2. Press the "A" key on the Wii to acknowledge Nintendo boot

  3. Use the Wii to locate the Tiger Woods image on screen, click "A"

  4. When the Tiger Woods game screen comes up, use the Wii to choose "Start"

  5. When the EA sports screen comes up, press "+" on the Wii to start

  6. When the golf menu comes up, use the Wii to pick what you want, and press "A" again.

Almost everything in the game suffers from this kind of replicative redundancy. For example, the "Tiger Challenge" games allow your character to build experience points - but only if you save your character after each round. And that takes five steps:

  1. Press "-" on the Wii to back out of the challenge menu

  2. use the Wii to select "yes" on save user, click "A"

  3. use the Wii to select "yes" on save to system memory, click "A"

  4. use the Wii to select "yes" on over ride existing user, click "A"

  5. Click "A" to acknowledge "Save" successful

Since you can have up to four players in a game, simply shutting down and saving player stats can take 17 separate steps - all of which could be bypassed through a single "Save and Quit" choice.

All of this block and prompt nonsense became the one right way to do programming soon after Microsoft Windows 3.0 came out - and has been obsolete pretty much since Windows 2000. What happened then was that Microsoft leveraged a human perceptual bug in its Windows 3.0 design: putting up sharply delineated window frames quickly and in primary colors while taking considerable time to fill those in with pastels and text made people think their computers were much faster than they really were.

As a result programmers quickly learned that popping up small boxes asking for user input made their applications seem "snappy" to reviewers and other deeply committed PC people who wouldn't regularly use them -and so today we have an otherwise fun Nintendo game that takes five steps to start and either four or five to save a character before shutdown.

It's terribly wasteful of the user's time, it's wasteful of system resources, and it's completely alien to the underlying Wii technology -but it's so perfectly consistent with the Windows mindset that most people don't even notice.

And it's that inurement to pointless repetition, or more precisely our collective failure to notice the obvious, that points to the real bottom line impact: because the overwhelming majority of business applications, including many never intended to run on Windows at all, have similar, time wasting, inefficiencies built in at every step.

Topics: Software, Mobility, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • What does it have to do with Windows, retard?

    It amazes me how you managed to get a blog at ZD with constant load of garbage posts like this.
    • Next, next, next, next, next, agree?, next, install, finish

      Remind you of anything? It gets annoying. Even express installs pop up 8 windows just in case you didn't really mean it.

      I would guess you haven't played on (GameCube for me), it's great, for Mario Golf, save and quit, 8 seconds to shutdown with saves. (it autosaves after each level too).

      I probably wouldn't have commented except for your post, classic astroturfing, no facts, call the blogger names, get in early so nobody with a contrarian opinion wants to go against the grain of your obviously immense intelligence and insight into the issue.

      • Then I guess

        you never run into a Windows APP installer giving both express and advanced options? Or perhaps you just pretend it doesn't exist? Some intelligence and insight.

        Sorry to interrupt you guys' daily mud sling over Windows. Oh yeah, I'd like to call you a retard as well.
        • I would like to think that...

          The art of rhetoric requires the use of intellect to put someone in his or her place. Hurling insults negates any valid arguments put forth and just appears to be rude. Then again, I maybe just another "retard".
          Mac Hosehead
          • When he pays my insurance, it would matter.

            Until then, honestly, call me a retard all day, my dogs, my wife, my horses, they like me even if I am "special" :D

            Thing is, I wasn't slamming MS, it is the developers who still over complicate things, and I honestly believe it is to convince the user the program is very very complicated. Imagine the anti-climax, you put a CD in, select "express" and literally, the next thing you see is a timed out window (60 seconds or so) that says "done, enjoy".

            I mean, seriously, during express install, or express anything, why does it prompt to ask you if their default install location is OK every time. :D

        • To be clear, this isn't MS themselves, but yes...

          I use the "Express Install" to install TMobile@Home with their wizbang router config. Not only did the express install ask at least 11 questions, it sets up the router as default NO ENCRYPTION. I sent T-Mobile a problem report.

          The advanced configuration option was actually nicer, you get to specify all at once (not that a newbie could), but it dies trying to put encryption on (any kind, installer exits).

          Finally I took the %$&^&*^$ CD out, threw it in the garbage so the user would never try to use it again, logged into (after finding how on the internet, no documentation, lol) and set it up that way.

          As pointed out, somewhere along the line, pop ups became a thing people do without great reason.

          The express install should have prompted one time for info, and then just used defaults.

        • Yeah who makes fun of that?

          Why would someone make fun of adjusting the settings while installing an app or changing certain parameters? Must be an Apple user that wants Apple to do it all for them and just have them force the default settings right out of the gate? Looks like we have a bunch of zombies to look forward to, no one can think for themselves these days. Entitled.
      • I was about to ask what this had to do with Windows...

        ...but you tied it together nicely. EA is bad about their navigation on almost ALL of their sports games. The menus on Madden and NCAA are almost harder to navigate than it is to play the game. When you try to save your profile depending on where you are in the UI you may get two different save options.

        But at least with Windows you can read and understand what something does. With EA theres a lack of documentation for many features of the game and your first season ends up being trial and error for the management stuff.
      • Still cracks me up

        "Remind you of anything?"

        Apple's 2007 ad

        Vista's UAC: You are coming to a sad realisation, cancel or
        PC: Allow
        Richard Flude
      • Why yes... reminds me of the Ubuntu updater.

        Click icon, click accept, enter password, install, finish.
        Sleeper Service
        • Looka there....

          ....not a next > next in sight.
          • Just like Windows too.

            Sleeper Service
        • Careful! you'll Affront the retarders

          (I'm assuming you're an Excession fan and will get the intended humor - if not, please cancel this transmission... :) )
          • Oh you should be...

            ...Quietly Confident. :)
            Sleeper Service
      • Are You Sure?

        This process will give access that could potentially corrupt your computing experience.

        Are you sure you want to do this?

        Accept or Deny?
  • RE: Nintendo and the Windows Mindset

    Seems as if the only type of article you can write is one in which you find some way to bash Windows.

    Why don't you stick to Linux and maybe you could start reporting something useful for a change.
    • If they took the Linux mindset while programming

      the game you wouldn't be able to play the game. Without a keyboard, how the heck would you type in the commands?
      • And if they took the Apple mindset...

        the game would delete itself the instant you beat Job's score but you wouldn't be able to talk about why the game got deleted because you were forced to sign an NDA before you started playing.
      • I played text adventures

        20 years ago. They were pretty neat at the time. Kinda like an interactive book.
  • Maybe he owns the game?

    What he wrote is simply that this is a direct port from Windows, and the entire experience is cloned. This is unlike (GameCube, I don't have a Wii) any games I have ever played on it, where there is a simple save and exit.

    [B]I?ve been playing the Tiger Woods PGA golf game on Nintendo/Wii lately and some things about it strike me as stunningly indicative of what happens to good ideas when they get filtered through the mindsets of people devoted to Windows programming.[/B]

    By golly, I think he does own it. Amazing that, pointing out a striking difference between normal Nintendo games and direct ported Windows games.

    Also, this is NOT a bash of Windows, it is a slam of people who are so accustomed to Windows programming and the mindset of innumerable prompts. MS doesn't enforce this, it's the Windows programing mindset. As outlined, the reason for this died in W2K, so why does it still go on?