It's a little-know fact that the Wii controller was invented in the SPOnG office some five years ago. As we greedily unpacked our Japanese GameCube and rushed to boot up Super Monkey Ball, we had no idea that such brilliance was just around the corner.
Working out the original Monkey Ball took about three seconds. It took us years to master it, but the basic principal was immediate. The stick is like a big table. You tilt the stick in the same direction you would tilt a table, if you held the Monkey Ball level on a flat surface in your hands. It was at this point, a few seconds in, that the idea of a flat motion-sensing controller for Super Monkey Ball was born. But did we run to the patent office with our brilliant new discovery? No, of course not, preferring instead to try and land 500 Monkey Targets before we understood how the wind worked...
So jumping forward a few years, you will find it understandable that the first collective thought of SPOnG when the Revolution controller was shown was of delicately maneuvering Toshihiro Nagoshi's simian trio in an as-yet unannounced update.
Since that time we've spent a great deal of time with Amusement Vision's Wii update of Super Monkey Ball, time we very much enjoyed. Now the thing is, we get to do all this cool stuff because we promise to tell you all about it. It's a blight on an otherwise highly-rewarding set-up, but fair is fair so open your retinas and set your expectations high.
In the wake of E3, there was much ado about which game most naturally suited the Wii's very unique, very fantastic controller. Some argued it was WarioWare, others Super Mario, others Zelda, though in our opinion Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz tore the arse out of everything else we played and still does to this day.
The demo Sega has made available to us is a compact affair, though is more expansive than much of the Wii software doing the rounds of late. As well as running in 16X9 at 60 FPS, complete with progressive scan, it looks to us as though the final game is all but complete, with this version a mere sample of what to expect.
As you might expect, two main modes are in effect, the classic story mode is as good a place to start as any, if not the best. What you want to know is how the game controls, right? If the WiiMote translates the game you know into a more absorbing, entirely more cerebral experience. It's good news. Playing Banana Blitz (an unfortunate subtitle but hey-hum) is exactly how you imagine it to be.
Now we need yo to do something you've probably not done since last year's Tokyo Games Show. Grab any remote lying near you. Got it? Good. Now push your chair away away from the screen, close your eyes and imagine tilting the controller in your hand and it controlling Super Monkey Ball on the Wii. Back? Right, you felt how that would work? That's exactly how it does work. Playing the game is like a three-way car smash at 100MPH with genius, innovation and basic simplicity being violently deconstructed in a collision that forms a very beautiful new whole, the wreckage of convention being reformed and held in place by Amusement Vision's all-knowing brain.
And you can jump, surely a game-expanding and well-needed feature that could only be a good thing? Click on...