Telltale: The iPhone is Mightier than the Wii

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Telltale Games, purveyors of all good things Sam and Max, Wallace and Gromit, and Monkey Island, have reportedly suggested that Apple's iPhone is more powerful than the Wii. The claim comes in response to criticism alleging "frame rate issues" with the WiiWare version of Tales of Monkey Island, a series of episodic adventures available for both Windows and Wii.

According to a TellTale programmer on the company's official forums, voices and textures are limited to 40MB for WiiWare games, as opposed to the PC versions, which can access considerably more. "The PC versions of our games are usually 150+ megs, and most modern games range anywhere from one to ten gigabytes or more," said the programmer, deferring responsibility: "Talk to Nintendo about this one."

Regarding the veracity of the comparison, I couldn't say, but Apple's iPhone 3G is clearly stacked, from CPU to GPU to RAM. News flash: Not news.

What is newsworthy: If Tales of Monkey Island has problems running on the Wii, to the point that it interferes with the gameplay, then doesn't TellTale bear at least partial responsibility? The company presumably knew about the Wii's hardware limitations, yet went forward with game development anyway.

When a game fails to meet customer expectations for performance reasons, is it a manufacturer's fault for having prohibitive technical limitations? Or a developer's, for creating a game it knew would bump its head on them?

We're quick to pile scorn on hardware manufacturers for scrimping on texture cache memory or total system RAM or whatever the bottleneck is for a given game. But there's no law mandating a developer write to a given platform. There's only the cold calculus of commercial opportunism. That's it.

On the upside for TellTale, the company says Tales of Monkey Island's first chapter "Launch of the Screaming Narwhal" (of five total) is their "best performing title" to date.

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