Game consoles as visualist tools? Sign me up! Nintendo doesn’t make it easy, as usual, but it looks possible to turn the Wii and perhaps even the GameCube into homebrew gaming, interactive visual, and video devices. My Wii is now on its way, so I look forward to giving Flash a try. Best resource so far: the incomparable Mario Klingeman aka Quasimondo has a promising technique for getting control data out of the Wii controllers, which, really, is the whole point. A number of Flash developers are now making homebrew games for the Wii and Opera browser.

What about Processing and Java? The Wii Opera browser lacks a Java runtime, but many new Wii owners will have a basically useless GameCube console sitting around. That brings us to Gamecube Linux. So far, any embedded Java runtime must have been fully experimental, but there is some promise to make GameCubes into powerful video/multimedia machines on the cheap.

Anyone have other resources? (I’ll keep you posted.)

  • Andrew Swihart

    Is the whole fascination with Wii and Gamecubes all centered around the controllers? If that's the case, why doesn't someone focus on making a USB adapter that translates the code into MIDI so you can just use a computer?

    Seems like tying the controllers into a laptop they are already toting would be easier for musicians playing at many different venues.

    Or did I miss the article where you reported about this from a year ago?

  • Jaymis

    The controllers are only part of it. You can of course buy the wii remotes seperately and use them with your bluetooth capable computer, as previously mentioned on CDMusic.

    The consoles themselves are extremely interesting though for general VJing and especially for installation work, how many $400 off-the-shelf laptops or even desktop machines can you name? Obviously they're not general use machines, but if you're putting together some custom visual patches in flash anyway, you could run them on a Wii alongside your laptop, give the wiimote to a (trusted) crowd member and mix their input into your set!

  • Andrew Swihart

    Thanks for the reply, Jaymis.

    There are a ton of articles on the web about using consoles to do things their makers never intended, but a lot of them are seem to be more like geeky exercises than practical uses. Then there's the whole things about actually getting the console set up to do what you want, which may negate the extra couple hundred bucks you would spend if you opted for a laptop.

    But in the end, is someone really going to go out and buy a console just for this? Again, I think I'd rather hook up a laptop, or whichever of the two I already own, but that's just me.

    This is all really interesting stuff! Thanks again for the explanation.

  • Peter Kirn

    Oh, absolutely … the idea is to use stuff you already own. In my case that happens to be now a GameCube and Wii. The other opportunity here is to develop for these consoles and share with other people who own them.

    I can see buying the controllers, however; we've talked about that in the past. And yes, that's the main focus. Laptops still generally win out when available.

  • b2kn

    Well, i think it also has to do with videogames as cultural artifacts, and the interface potential of ordinary appliances like consoles. It's always fun to push it to extremes.

    BTW, here is a live images gig using a SuperNES emulator and a hacked SFII rom. It's an institutional video, but I think you can get the idea:

  • wii_girl

    they HAVE to get java on wii! yahoo IM on wii!