Shigeru Miyamoto's known for game industry blasphemy, such as, "We want a system that takes advantage of new technology for something that anyone, regardless of age or gender, can pick up and play. [Something with a] gameplay style that people who have never played games can pick up and not be intimidated by. We wanted a controller that somebody's mother will look at and not be afraid of." And I think they've done it this time.
The closest analogy I can make is a simpler time, back when it was possible to pick up a controller and figure out how to play in 10 seconds, because the buttons actually did stuff that made sense. We've pushed forward in console input design since 1986, but it seems to be common developer sense that having 16 buttons means every single one of them needs to be used in the game, or you lose (or something). The problem we're running into lately is human-based: Nobody has the octopus-like hands required to operate further iterations of the More Buttons and Thumbsticks school of design, though that doesn't stop anyone from trying.
The Revolution controller hearkens back to those halcyon days of yore, by being so intuitive you instantly know what to do with it. Oh, to look up, I point the controller up? Simple, but at the same time, completely outside the state of the gaming industry today. For my Mac-using compadres in the audience, I'll make a comparison. It's like using OS X after using Windows. Suddenly, you're in a world where you have to think like a normal person, rather than an insane computer engineer from the moon. It's jarring, but I think ultimately, it will push the industry into a new phase of game design, when it'll be possible for anyone - Mom, Grandma, the dog - to interact with a game, because we're back to the controls making sense, rather than "Ye gods, buttons!"
Or if you want another... you know, gaming-type comparison, consider Guitar Hero. Pick up the guitar-shaped controller, eye the five colored buttons, and how you play is instantly apparent without having to sit through 30-minute tutorials where they pretend you're in a future guitar science lab to explain why hitting Y controls the strum function. A friend of mine picked up the guitar, put it on, strummed and pressed the fret buttons, and instantly knew how to play without even turning on the PlayStation 2.
The Revolution controller drinks from the same well of intuitive design and new ways to interact mean new styles of game play, the same way I can shout into my DS to convey to the judge that I object in Phoenix Wright or draw out a spell in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow or cuddle my e-puppy in Nintendogs. The PSP promised a bigger, brighter screen and overpriced movies, but the DS keeps on selling. The PS3 and 360 promise hi-def support and new iterations of the same games you've played a million times. Nintendo's platform offers incredible possibilities for new ways to play.
Millionaire playboy Shannon Drake lives a life on the run surrounded by Japanese schoolgirls and videogames. He also writes about anime and games for WarCry.