Nintendo has finally released details about their new controller (complete with pics). The feedback on the linked page seems mostly negative, but I for one am pretty excited about the possibility for innovative new game control paradigms.
The new controller is shaped like a remote, and the unit’s tilt and physical position in space are used as input. To me, this is incredibly natural in concept. I mean, if you can think back to the first time you used a game controller, can you remember what you looked like? If you’re like most people, you looked like a total dork, waving the controller about, as if moving the controller was going to help mario jump a little higher. It’s very intuitive and natural that we would think that the control interface would react to our movements in that way. Unfortunately, due to the very low-resolution capabilities of controllers designed at the time, technical and cost limitations, we were only able to interface via button presses. Of course there was the Nintendo PowerGlove, but that is best forgotten (anyone remember that horrible movie, where the “bad guy” kid was pimpin’ the PowerGlove?).
One of the things that the detractors state is that it looks like a remote control. Well, this makes sense. According to the article, Nintendo are targetting the non-traditional games market, i.e. older adults and females. Now, if you were to present one of these folks with a typical game controller, what’s the first reaction? “Wow, there are too many buttons!”. The new controller looks like something very familiar to anyone who has used consumer electronics in say, the last 20 years or so. It has a lot fewer buttons than the typical remote as well.
Personally, I think Nintendo have a winner here. Of course, I’m going to save final judgement for when I can actually play one in person.