Game Development Games Geek / Technical

My Thoughts on the Revolution Controller

Nintendo announced their new controller for Project Revolution some time ago. It’s old news, but I thought I would comment on it now that people have had a chance to present their thoughts.

I personally thought it looked like Yet Another Hoax when I first saw it. The idea that the new game system would use a controller that looked like a regular television remote was just too silly to be true. It turned out that it wasn’t a hoax, that Nintendo was doing something way out there, and I just didn’t know what to think at first. I seriously thought I saw the foretelling of the death of Nintendo.

Then I read the articles that went with the pictures, remembered Nintendo’s goal of making innovative games rather than The Same Games with More, and felt a bit better. I saw the video and can see some real potential in this console, even though the people in it were being way more animated than I believe they would have been in reality.

Time will tell whether it will actually be a hit, but I can see that this system will be either be a complete failure or an amazing success. Games tailored for the controller will really only be possible on this system. Talk about exclusivity. Real time strategy games that actually play well will be possible on a console! Non-gamers, a hugely untapped market, might actually play games! And if it will be easier for indie developers to make games for it, all the better. Of course, if game developers would rather save money by making games for the systems that are most like each other, that could be a problem. Darn double-edged swords.

People have expressed concerns about tired arms, carpal tunnel, and game play errors when you talk to someone in the room and inadvertently move your hands an inch to the side. I’m sure they are valid concerns, but I’m also sure that Nintendo has them in mind. Other people note that the failed CD-I controller was also a remote, and if the Revolution controller was just a regular wireless remote control with buttons for input I would agree that it’s been done before, isn’t that impressive, and has failed. Of course, this controller is not just a bunch of buttons on a television remote. It’s sounds more like having a television remote crossed with a computer mouse crossed with an EyeToy. I can see the Revolution being marketed like the old consoles used to be: as family entertainment systems. My mother might actually play a Mario game without freaking out about the controller first.

In the end, I think that Nintendo will do really well. It’s making a profit from games in the first place, unlike some companies, and so can afford to be innovative. They may fail, but I appreciate the willingness to be different, not just better. And the idea of wielding a sword or swinging a bat by actually doing the motions instead of simply pressing buttons just sounds too cool. B-)

I look forward to the Revolution, if only because the older games will be available to play. I’m also interested in seeing what games will be possible with the system. As far as I know, no one is wondering the same with the other consoles. We already know what we can play on the PS3 and XBox 360 (totally 357 more than the PS3), and of course nothing is wrong with wanting to play good games. It’s just really great to see a company respond to “More speed” and “More graphical power” with “More possibilities”.

If you haven’t seen any reports on this controller, having been under the proverbial rock all this time, check out the following links:

2 replies on “My Thoughts on the Revolution Controller”

This is also a subject of interest to myself. I have posted some stuff on my blog about the recent comments from Mark Rein and the “reply” from Jim Merrick (nintendo).

Also I hear that many Japanese developers are very excited about what they are going to achieve with the controller and more are signing up each day. Whether this is just hype will be revealed in the fullness of time, but I have a very good feeling about the revolution. I think it can become a very desirable product by playing a different game than the other “two”, which it may (probably) would have not been had it chosen the same route..

Fingers crossed we will see some amazing titles for it next year 🙂

Good blog post! I find it funny that he would complain about the fact that games will be able to make use of the controller since, well, that IS the point! I mean, when Super NES had eight buttons and a crosspad, did Sega Genesis diehards complain that games would make use of the extra buttons?

I’m also looking forward to the Revolution. At the very least, it will be different, and variety in my video games would be really good.

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