Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Revolutionary

Below is a link.

But first, here is a bunch of boring junk I wrote originally to comment on Simon and/or Steve's posts on the Revolution controller. It's all self-evident stuff you'll read a million other places. The trouble is that after I wrote it I went around and realized how many other people have already said all this and then was embarrassed to post it. Anyway, this is what I said:

Kenny's Uninspired Thoughts on the Nintendo Revolution Controller

At this point it would be more surprising if a Nintendo controller design didn't break the mold.

Consider: The last two, arguably three generations of Nintendo controllers were bizarre at first glance. No one knew what the fuck to make of the Nintendo 64 controller, but without it we wouldn't have the now-universal analog stick. Same wiht the rumble pak, which I never cared for, but nevertheless, it's caught on. With the GameCube controller, it happened all over again. It looked like something not made for human hands, yet once you held it it made more sense intuitively than any other system (except for fighting games). Even the Super Nintendo brought us shoulder buttons for the first time, and had more buttons on its controller than anything we'd seen up to that point. Yet it was still way better than the dumbassed three-in-a-row Genesis configuration. The SNES controller remains the model for the Playstation and the XBox.

Nintendo has a point, though--controlling video games has gotten complicated. I used to be able to play NES with my dad. A jumps, B throws fireballs. Now when I play something like True Crime, I have to check the manual myself every few minutes. Does triangle mean pull my gun, or search a guy, or throw a punch, or do a grab, or shoot at the guy, or fire a warning shot, or kick? Right now I couldn't tell you, but the most likely answer is yes, all of the above, it just depends when you press it. My dad gave up at the SNES level (with the exception of Mario Kart). Making games more intuitive is a worthwhile goal.

The big difference here is that now there are two major competitors with an essentially standard number of required buttons. Cross-platform games will play more or less the same on the PS3 and XBox 360 (what a retarded name). Apparently they are going to offer an alternate controller for old games and cross-platform titles. Although it would be cool if some developers made the effort to create Revolution ports that were really good. Something like SSX would be awesome with a control scheme like this.

Okay, that's over.

I wouldn't have bothered putting this up, but I figured I might as well since I also wanted to link to this rather lengthy piece theorizing about Nintendo's strategy and place in the video game industry. I found it an interesting read.

3 comments:

Zack said...

It's hard for us to appreciate it, but the NES controller was ultra-bizarre at first glance. It was the first controller that didn't look like a chunk ripped off of an arcade cabinet.

Yes, Nintendo's pads from N64 on have sucked for fighting games. Fighting purists would tell you that the PS2 controller also sucks for fighting games, and that either you have an arcade-style fighting joystick or you're a wanker. I am not such a purist, although you are a wanker.

Zack said...

Sorry to post again, but...

"[The SNES pad] had more buttons on its controller than anything we'd seen up to that point"

is only true for people who had never seen an Intellivision, Atari 5200, or ColecoVision.

The Atari 2600 had its own family tree of controller design, which also tended towards complexity over time. The Revolution school of controller design will probably do the same.

Kenny said...

Good point. I actually had used an Intellivision, but not the other two. I guess I'm referring to the generation that started on the NES, whose basis of comparison was Genesis, Neo-Geo, and TurboGrafx 16.