Identifying gamers

I once had a good idea. Yes, in all of my twenty-five years I’ve had at least one; that much I’m sure of. And really, even it was a gimme. But maybe Nintendo will end up using something like it.

Nintendo had already announced that each Wii controller will contain a separate profile, so that instead of having to assort your relevant game saves on a single memory card and take the card and a controller to your friends house, you can just pick up your controller. (This may not seem like a big deal, but for many it’s the small things like this that matter.) Now Nintendo announces that the “Wiimote” will have a customizable caricature of the player attached with it, but what info will be included in the profile has not yet been finalized. I’d like to suggest some information to be included as a profile. It started as something I called ID-Gamer, (herein .IDG,) but I never finished. I thought it would be a fun tool for Interactive Fiction at least, if not typical games, (easily supportable in arcades with SD cards or USB drives,) but like any good project I started to set my scope too large to keep my attention for that particular task and lost interest. This may make me interested in it again, though. What basic info could developers use to incorporate a properly similar-yet-just-generic-enough avatar for every gamer?

First, middle, last, and sur-names.
Preferred title (Mr., Ms., etc. Player picks from a field.)
Email address (arguably could get ugly, but I trust most devs.)
Date of birth (Date, month, and year.)
Skin tone.
Eye color.
Height and weight (proportion and body tone would be easy enough for Nintendo to program, though I never touched it.)
Strength (derivative from height, weight, proportion, and body tone.)
Speed (derivative from height, weight, proportion, and body tone.)
Reflex speed (easily measurable with a Wii minigame.)
Hair color, length, and style (choice from a field.)
Favorite color.
Favorite number.
(Of course as a programmer you’d also want a ‘version number’ of this information in case this was ever extended.)

Sure this adds up to lots of info housed for a single player, I think it entirely reasonable given the possible uses of the data and how I think it would help in the interactive experience from which games derive their exclusive artistic approach. Players are starting to get over the idea of graphics being the driving force of a game. Let’s woo them with the amount of non-physics/graphics game data that can be juggled.

I’d love to open a new game and instantly be able to be myself. Sure this is an obvious choice for sports games where you already spend a lot of time creating a character, but how great would Guitar Hero 2 be if you could choose someone who already looked like you to rock? In the first one I wanted to be the other hippie guitarist like everyone else, but even more I’d like to be Harmonix’s version of me! Or to be the space marine Jeff “Jeffool” Bridges who shares lots of my features in some FPS! (Developers could choose to have me a little thinner… I don’t want to be too easy a target.)

And how about including information from other Wiimotes on my games? Want to add a friend as a supporting character in your game? Have them bring over their Wiimote and go to a Wii system menu and choose ‘import->ally’ and have your friend point/click at the screen. Done. Then in games you could simply toggle a “.IDG support” option which replaces in-game characters with your friends. I could even add my brother, and have him used for any game in which the main character has a brother. (Could you imagine Bad Dudes with you and a brother/close friend?)

But, I’ve probably just got my hopes too high. I’ve already written negative articles about Sony and Microsoft. Sadly I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until Nintendo messes up… But here’s hoping they don’t.