'Super Mario Galaxy' Was Brilliant, But Motion Controls Ruined It

Ten years ago, Nintendo released Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii. It was a brilliantly designed game: a platformer that had revolutionary ideas about gravity, scale, and pace. It was colorful, and introduced the world to bee Mario!

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/zmzkej/super-mario-galaxy-no-motion-controls

It is an interesting thought, that the Wii opened for millions of new players to gaming with motion controls and simultaneously closed it’s games with the same motion control for another group.


@danielle, did you tried Steam Controller yet (it’s not for Wii, obviously)?

At the end of the article…

“With the Switch, and with Mario Odyssey, I’m doing ok. There’s a way to map everything to a button, so I don’t need to worry about aggravating my bad wrist with unnecessary flicking and flapping.”

Is this true? I thought Odyssey didn’t support button mapping either.

It doesn’t to my knowledge. You basically lose the homing attack in handheld mode.

1 Like

Luckily, the motion control moves are optional. I never once in my entire time playing through the game had to use that homing attack, for example.

1 Like

To each their own, but I found the game to be more difficult without the homing attack correcting my hat throws that were off the mark.


I struggled with the motion control on the Wii as well, you had to line up that strip just right, then stand just the right distance away from the tv. Even then it wouldn’t pick up the signal right sometimes. Ruined skyward sword for me. Bought a pro controller for no more heroes (doing the training mini game without one was maddening.
Not a bad concept, but terrible technology.

My first reaction to this was embarassing! :o The title of ye piece made me think, “The motion controls in Galaxy were gimmicky - but could they really have ruined the game for someone?”

But, yeah, they obviously could have - & Nintendo along with other developers should try to make their games more accessible so they can be played by even more people! My suggestion for one of the trickier motion-control elements in Galaxy is to bring up the pointer if the player holds down a button (Assuming that this would be on Switch - preferably a shoulder button like ZL or ZR!), which would disappear if that button is released. Then the pointer could be moved with the right stick - & ye could still move Mario with the left stick - maintaining the multi-tasking that was possible through motion control, hopefully!

I’m not sure if that’d work perfectly, but there wasn’t direct camera control in Galaxy - ye mostly changed its angle with the D-pad & recentered it with a Zelda-like shoulder-button press if I’m remembering right - so maybe it’d work?

Anyway, yeah, I hope that ye & others will be able to play video games ye enjoy without hurting yeselves being a possibility! <3

Side note: Is it possible that most controllers themselves are un-ergonomic in some way? I remember hearing/reading somewhere that arcade sticks or especially hitboxes are better for one’s hands than a controller, but is that accurate & are there ways to make traditional-looking controllers that are way more hand/wrist-healthy - even over long stretches of playtime that typically aren’t recommended?

In some way? Sure. Especially if you consider that nothing is for everyone.

There is a sizable market of different and custom controllers (gamepads, mice, keyboards, etc.) out there because of that. Annoyingly, most of them are really expansive.

This is one of the things I love about the Dolphin Wii/GameCube emulator. While it supports ordinary Wii controllers over Bluetooth, it also has a powerful controller configuration system for mapping traditional controllers to Wii inputs. You can move the Wii cursor with the right stick and shake the virtual Wiimote with the press of a button. It’s not perfect for every game (I never found a setup I liked for MadWorld even after a lot of tweaks), but it’s the best way to play a lot of the Wii’s library.


As far as I’ve found, some moons need the motion controls in the postgame, usually frog jumping.

Not all or even that many though.

I’m glad to see an article like this-- as someone who also has pretty serious wrist issues motion controls are my bane-- I despised Twilight princess until I managed to track down the GameCube version. It’s also why I never play multiplayer games on PC. Controllers put far less strain on my wrists than mouse+keyboard but there’s absolutely no way to be competitive using them.

1 Like

The title feels a bit sensationalized. I can understand how motion controls ruined the game for some people, including the author, But the title kind of implies that motion controls ruined the game for everyone.

And to be a downer, I think the Galaxy games and Skyward Sword are basically unportable. With the Galaxy games you could map the spin attack to a button, but the games still expect you to constantly use a pointer to collect starbits. You probably can’t have a pointer in a Switch game because it wouldn’t work in portable mode. Skyward Sword would be on another level. To even begin they would have to come up with some sort of Revengance like system to allow for the 8-directional slashing normally done by motion. Or completely rework the combat system to be more like a traditional 3D zelda. It would basically end up a completely different game.

1 Like

I second this. I just finished the first and am in the middle of the second using a DS4. No need for motion controls, no need for wrist movement at all more than the minimum needed for a regular controller.
My setup has the shake on R2 and the pointer on the right stick.