Back in April I lashed out at Nintendo DS games that require frantic huffing and puffing into the microphone in order to produce some required in-game maneuver. I'm still not a fan of the technique (the last time I encountered it was in Wario: Master of Disguise in which blowing into the mic flaps Wario's wings) and I'm still not convinced that huffing gameplay can be done right. MTV's Stephen Totilo might be on to something, however. He is also tired of this gameplay gimmick and he's made it a personal mission to question developers who tout the air flow madness.
Pity the Electronic Arts Sims 2: Castaway developer who had been expecting me to cheer a feature in the DS version that requires the player to blow into the microphone to start a kindling fire. I scoffed. Ache for the Ubisoft pitchman who had done such a good job demo-ing the vocabulary-building My Word Coach on DS but then showed me a mode that didn’t just involve the Tetris-like descent of word-balloons but allowed me to huff, puff and blow those words back up to the top screen. I objected. I hear The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass has blowing controls, but, frankly, I’m afraid to investigate.
Fight the good fight, Stephen, and bring our message of anti-breathing to those who would have us bust a lung in the name of unlocking a door. He does speak highly of Nervous Brickdown, a Breakout clone that allows players to blow into the microphone in order to keep the game ball in the air. From the sound of things, this is an optional maneuver. That doesn't sound so bad, mostly because it's not a required technique. If I'm not in the mood to hyperventilate then I can skip blowing into the microphone. I'm not ready to joyously accept huff 'n' puff gaming into my life, but if more games followed this path of optional blowing then I might be convinced to keep an open mind about the whole thing.