(I know, I know, I owe like three book reports and a final write-up on the latest furniture project, but but but…)
The Nintendo Revolution controller has been demoed.
One thing about Nintendo — they give Shigeru Miyamoto the space he needs to break new ground in video gaming. Who is Miyamoto? Just some industrial designer that happened to create Donkey Kong, the Mario franchise, the Zelda franchise, and Pimkin.
So why the big fuss? Doesn’t every new console have a new controller?
Well, yes, but the Revolution controller is a one-handed device. It’s closer to the remote controls the average non-gaming person is used to using to navigate menus on everything from TVs to DVRs and a big step away from the button-fest that is the X-Box controller.
Go back and read that again — a one-handed device that looks like a remote control. Pretty much every game controller since the Wico Command joystick or Pong has required you to use both hands. Some controllers assume the off-hand is a stabilizing device, others require you to grip with each hand while using fingers on each hand to manipulate the controller. The Revolution lets you play games with one hand with an optional second controller for more complex games like Metroid Prime.
Miyamoto is going for a bigger audience here. It’s not the cutting-edge gamers looking for the next thing that will make Bungie cry like little girls, but your average person that might like to play a video game if it were fun and not too difficult to deal with. I can imagine using this new controller with everything from a bridge or poker simulator to Jingle Cats or a modified version of a Katamari game. Something like Space Channel 5 or Rez would be trivial to reimplement with this sort of controller. On the other hand, Soul Calibur * would be impossible, but it’s also impossible with a regular controller unless you’re a 15 year old twitch fiend.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the direction controllers are headed, and I was not thinking this in the slightest. Like so many others in so many ages, I’ve been tricked into fighting the last battle instead of planning to win the next battle with a new and innovative strategy.
Miyamoto is no longer one of my heroes. He is now a final boss that I can only defeat with my superior design skills.
Update: Gizmodo has a round-up of news articles on the Revolution controller.