Controller Evolution

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that is the coolest thing! that could bridge a gap between the hardcore and the newcomers, easy to use because the hand movement skills are already there and more practical than a keyboard, hell if this really takes off, i'd console game with this bad boy. i dont have to flail like with the connect or even stand up, to use Yahtzee's example, i could "read a good book" and still use a motion controller.

Cloud gaming? Like On-Live? Because im not too happy with the idea of using On-Live but I do wish there were digital downloads of my favorite PS2 games for my PS3.

Okay, could we please have a moratorium on the use of the term "the Cloud?" Please, please, pretty please? "Gaming-on-demand" at least makes sense and conveys meaningful information; "the Cloud" is just a God-damn Wired buzzword for people who think that distributed computing runs on pixie dust and leprechauns.

What? You make it sound like there's something wrong with wanting a skip button, Bob. I have to disagree strongly: a skip button is what makes everyone happy.

If the tutorial is mandatory for everyone each time you start a new game, people who already know what they are doing are going to find it annoying.
If the tutorial doesn't exist, no players are going to get frustrated and turn the game off.
If the tutorial is there, but you can choose to skip it, experienced players can skip the tutorial and just play, while new players can take the extra time to pick up the basics.

With a skip button, everyone is happy. Every game tutorial should be skippable. It's just something that should be in every game these days, like an option for subtitles, and an in-game brightness adjuster so we don't have to change our TV's or monitor's settings if one game decides to be too dark or too bright by default.[/quote]

Quoted for truth, Bob. Let's think of it this way: what if there were a new release of the original 8-bit Super Mario Bros., and it had an unskippable tutorial level telling you how to jump? I can't speak for, say, a new gamer who had never played a platformer, but regular gamers would be annoyed.

Holy crap I love this series, it's awesome. James Portnow is an excellent columnist. Great flow, great content.

With the arcade heritage a distant memory games have only gotten easier to play. As extreme examples compare Mega Man 1(or my favorite Contra) with Kirby's Epic Yarn.

Mega Man 1 was MADE to make you lose. In Epic Yarn you can't even die.

The xbox controller looks like crap. The pinnacle of controller perfection is the PS2/3 dual thumbstick controller.

Daveman:
In fact if we take a look at the Xbox controller more closely we can actually see it is designed to near perfection. They fixed the issue with the last controller of requiring huge hands to operate it, they added shoulder buttons because your fingers spend more time looped round the back there and you can easily control more than just two triggers. They stick to the standard layout of 4 buttons on the right which aides those familiar veterans with learning controls and a D-pad thrown in in the corner for easy access though it does not require a great deal of use due to the dual analogue controls. These two sticks are at different angles so in your mind they are much less likely to get mixed up due to the angle at which you hold it. These two thumbsticks have also evolved from dual joysticks as the joystick reuires much greater movement which is slower to respond which leads to frustration.

Basically, modern day controllers are actually pretty damn awesome and user friendly, having evolved from simple controllers, which only allowed simple gameplay, to more complex ones allowing a range of gameplay styles to be accomodated.

I'm glad someone finally mentioned controller design. Though not unexpected, I'm a little disappointed it didn't really get mentioned between the Big 3.

However, I'm going to disagree with you, Daveman. The controller design, particularly for the 360 is not pretty damn awesome, or user friendly -- to someone like me. I've got really small hands, and as much as I enjoy the 360, it's controller is often problematic for me when it comes to games. I can't imagine what it'd be like for me to play on the original XBox, dealing with an even larger controller.

Let's look at Guitar Hero for a second. It was a lot of fun at first, but I got bored after I started mastering songs on medium, but couldn't perform anywhere near as well on hard, let alone expert. No, it has nothing with my ability to play rhythm-based games -- I wouldn't have been able to get into my college's music major program if it were that. I had to pass exercises speaking one rhythm and tapping out another in a completely different meter, Guitar Hero is easy by comparison. However, in Guitar Hero, reaching that dreaded orange button required a physical shift of my entire hand (instead of a couple fingers) in its direction, and that few seconds of disorientation is costly mid-song. In this case, practice mode only gets you so far. There was a dissonant gap between what I could mentally understand the game asking me to do, and what I physically had to perform to do it successfully.

Look at something more recent. (For me and my preferences) Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is the most fun I've had gaming in a while, but I also have it on the 360. Having not played the previous installments, I'm having to learn everything from scratch -- and the challenge is also part of the fun. But it's another case where I lose time on some of the technical executions. Again, not because I'm incapable of "getting it," but when some of the more complicated button patterns involve moving all over the controller, it involves my entire hand moving all over the controller. My hand stretches to curve around the bumpers instead of resting there naturally, which means there's a lot less maneuverability in-between. (And at the moment, I don't have the money to invest in trying a stick.)

Now, before accusations start flying along the lines of why don't I play on a different console, or something with half-formed logic: I don't believe that my console preferences should be completely limited based on someone's size. That, and consoles are expensive -- If I already invested time and money into one console, I'm not keen on dropping a bunch of money I don't have to reinvest in everything because I enjoy one or two games that might be a little extra harder for someone like me to play. That's silly. I still have fun gaming, though it might be something to keep in mind for if there's ever a next-next-generation.

My question is this: is it far out of the technological realm for controller designs to go the line of baseball bats, bowling balls, and stringed instruments and be sized? Controllers, now in S, M, and L!

Fronzel:

EscapingReality:
Motion controls have really revolutionized gaming into making well thought out motion mechanics for people who are used to kinectic experiences. That is people who have most likely never touched a traditional controller. Case in point: My father. He gets dizzy with Tomb Raider and I couldn't get him into Smash Bros, but he is fucking crazy about Wii Sports.

"Revolutionized"? Really?

Maybe it's because my Wii mostly collects dust, but I can't name a game where the motion controls really make it much better.

Yes it did. Motion controls makes games what they used to be in the arcade: You pick up and you play em. Everyone can play them, and only few can really master them. Simple mechanics make for a great gameplay.

I don't see you complaining about how clusterfucked the Xbox 360 controller is, and believe me that can be a hell of a learning curve for someone who hasn't touched a controller forever. Case in point (again) my father: He's a pro on flight simulators with the traditional PC joystick of the medium, stick him with HAWX and a 360 controller and he goes apeshit for around 30 minutes before figuring out the rudder and the thrust engine button.

Aw man, I want James as an uncle!
I liked that Yahtzee said what I've been saying for a while. Just wait a while and all the haters will die off.

EscapingReality:
Motion controls makes games what they used to be in the arcade: You pick up and you play em. Everyone can play them, and only few can really master them. Simple mechanics make for a great gameplay.

Examples, please?

Fronzel:

EscapingReality:
Motion controls makes games what they used to be in the arcade: You pick up and you play em. Everyone can play them, and only few can really master them. Simple mechanics make for a great gameplay.

Examples, please?

Mario, Asteroids, Pacman, Breakout, Donkey Kong, Angry Birds, Solipskier, Canabalt (simplest game ever), Audiosurf... I could go on forever and fill the page. Wii Sports is a prime example of simple mechanics/great game experience because you don't really need to learn to play. You just need to fucking play. In the words of MovieBob in The Game Overthinker: "Hitting a baseball with the bat shouldn't be the challenge because the bat is wrapped in barb wire; hitting the ball IS the challenge."

The gameplay mechanics are simplified by making you move something in par with the character in the screen. The translation of your ego (that is you) to your alter-ego (the character in the game) is seamless in the case of Wii Sports/Wii Sports Resort.

Not so much with third party games because they do not play test the games enough and thus make crappy controls for games that are not sport simulations. I played Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings for the Wii... I regret ever doing that.

Kinect doesn't have that. Since you do not have any physical conection with the videogame as you play it, the control schemes are much more complicated. The Kinect in and of itself is a wonder of hardware engineering (just look at the things people have done with the free libraries for Linux) but as a peripheral and the games it comes attached with it sucks big balls. I have seen the Kinect and tested it myself to see the technology wasn't implemented correctly in the Microsoft Kinect games (which is ironic), and it just feels AWKWARD. It feels awkward to move your body around pretending you are holding a racket to play ping pong, when in the Wii you have a physical object (the Wiimote) that actually maked you feel you're holding the racket and thus you don't have to LEARN HOW TO PLAY you just gotta PLAY.

That is the analogy with ye olde arcades. You just pick up and play.

I personally take the view that games seem to be splitting off into two major categories: Gaming sports and gaming experiences. More conventionally, they would be Multiplayer and single player, but arcade games could also come into the sporty category with high scores.

Sporty games, like CoD online play, are all about you gaming skills, so for these it makes sense to add a controller that replicates a real life experience to prove that your better at it. No one really plays the wii alone, it was marketed as a family console because of this aspect here

Gaming experiences do not need or warrant motion control. These are the type of games Yhatzee compared to a good book. In these games, because you need to coach the player through the experience and require much more concentration on the situation not the activity, having a control method with little to no effort is beneficial.

I like both, which is why I am happy to see motion controls continue to grow, but as with have all heard from Zero Punctuation someone like Yhatzee does not like the competitive side of games, does not want the title as the best gamer around. I personally think this is one where yes we press forward with motion control, but it can never take over from conventional methods.

EscapingReality:

Kinect doesn't have that. Since you do not have any physical conection with the videogame as you play it, the control schemes are much more complicated. The Kinect in and of itself is a wonder of hardware engineering (just look at the things people have done with the free libraries for Linux) but as a peripheral and the games it comes attached with it sucks big balls. I have seen the Kinect and tested it myself to see the technology wasn't implemented correctly in the Microsoft Kinect games (which is ironic), and it just feels AWKWARD. It feels awkward to move your body around pretending you are holding a racket to play ping pong, when in the Wii you have a physical object (the Wiimote) that actually maked you feel you're holding the racket and thus you don't have to LEARN HOW TO PLAY you just gotta PLAY.

That is the analogy with ye olde arcades. You just pick up and play.

I spent the christmas period temping on the games counter in a large highstreet retailer, we had a kinect demo set up. The amount of times I had to go over and handhold people on what is going on an what is expected of them was insane for something that is meant to be intuative.

In fact, the majority of them walked over to the controller to try and use the machine instead, adding further problems. As it is, the implementation isn't spot on... however, I fully expect that to improve as people are increasingly exposed to this tech and it evolves along with them.

We're still gonna miss the predicted timeslot of 2015 when people think of using your hands on something physical as babyish/old hat. <3 BTTF ;)

Notashrimp09:

Daveman:
self-snip

I'm glad someone finally mentioned controller design. Though not unexpected, I'm a little disappointed it didn't really get mentioned between the Big 3.

However, I'm going to disagree with you, Daveman. The controller design, particularly for the 360 is not pretty damn awesome, or user friendly -- to someone like me. I've got really small hands, and as much as I enjoy the 360, it's controller is often problematic for me when it comes to games. I can't imagine what it'd be like for me to play on the original XBox, dealing with an even larger controller.

Let's look at Guitar Hero for a second. It was a lot of fun at first, but I got bored after I started mastering songs on medium, but couldn't perform anywhere near as well on hard, let alone expert. No, it has nothing with my ability to play rhythm-based games -- I wouldn't have been able to get into my college's music major program if it were that. I had to pass exercises speaking one rhythm and tapping out another in a completely different meter, Guitar Hero is easy by comparison. However, in Guitar Hero, reaching that dreaded orange button required a physical shift of my entire hand (instead of a couple fingers) in its direction, and that few seconds of disorientation is costly mid-song. In this case, practice mode only gets you so far. There was a dissonant gap between what I could mentally understand the game asking me to do, and what I physically had to perform to do it successfully.

Look at something more recent. (For me and my preferences) Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is the most fun I've had gaming in a while, but I also have it on the 360. Having not played the previous installments, I'm having to learn everything from scratch -- and the challenge is also part of the fun. But it's another case where I lose time on some of the technical executions. Again, not because I'm incapable of "getting it," but when some of the more complicated button patterns involve moving all over the controller, it involves my entire hand moving all over the controller. My hand stretches to curve around the bumpers instead of resting there naturally, which means there's a lot less maneuverability in-between. (And at the moment, I don't have the money to invest in trying a stick.)

Now, before accusations start flying along the lines of why don't I play on a different console, or something with half-formed logic: I don't believe that my console preferences should be completely limited based on someone's size. That, and consoles are expensive -- If I already invested time and money into one console, I'm not keen on dropping a bunch of money I don't have to reinvest in everything because I enjoy one or two games that might be a little extra harder for someone like me to play. That's silly. I still have fun gaming, though it might be something to keep in mind for if there's ever a next-next-generation.

My question is this: is it far out of the technological realm for controller designs to go the line of baseball bats, bowling balls, and stringed instruments and be sized? Controllers, now in S, M, and L!

I totally agree with you on the size thing. I don't have especially large hands and the old Xbox was indeed unbearable to play on because of it. The PS2 controller is more my kind of thing if I'm honest. The thing is we both exist within the bell curve, for those of us with smaller than average hands there are many more who find it perfectly comfortable, so the big gaming companies don't really care about us all that much. My large handed friends express similar problems, though more often with the PS3 controller. But that said, controllers may not be perfect, but they're a damn sight better than the ones that came before them. This entire point is that relatively small physical changes, unnoticable to the average observer, do make a huge difference in the enjoyment of a game. Motion controls are a HUGE step forward in gaming, when ultimately I would have liked them to take notice of the smaller details. One thing about studying engineering is it really opens your eyes to how much work people put into products. If you look at the controller, every single dimension has been carefully chosen. On a big project like the Xbox they no doubt had at least one person assigned to how big the thumbsticks would be and the exact size of the indent inside them. It's the little things that count... like little hands.

Raiyan 1.0:

Thorvan:
My only answer to this is... so? Just because we get simplified controllers does not mean that A; we lose the more complex ones, or B; it will result in necessarily worse experiences. There are significant markets for both the simplified and the complex input devices, for a smattering of reasons; and if we pressure game developers to provide a conduit for both of these in their games, what exactly is the downside?

Easton Dark:

Start a new gamer onto S.T.A.L.K.E.R SOC and just wait a few hours.

Heck, even I get flustered by the number of hotkeys sometimes. Can't remember what's bandages and what's medkits.

In Dragon Age II, you can either take the whole hack-and-slash route (which is more oriented towards console gamers) or the whole finely-tuned micromanaging tactical route (which is suited better for the K&M setup). Then again, it's Bioware we're talking about, who's not known for shitty ports and actually makes proper multiplatform games. But what's to say that other devs will go through the trouble to cater to two entirely different fighting mechanisms?

Take a look at Tiberium Twilight. The game was trying to cater to both PC and console (though everyone was fired before they could finish a port) through radical changes in gameplay. The result of the more console-oriented gameplay was that it destroyed the C&C series for the PC community.

For all you know, the next Ace Combat iteration might just have QTEs for performing kulbits and pugachevs to make it more 'accessible' and to become the next 'CoD-killer'... '-_-

Well, don't buy the game, send a letter to the developer, encourage others to do the same. Yes, I UNDERSTAND that it's a problem for some, but again, having both simple and complex controls is a good thing, and it's a problem WE can fix either way.

EscapingReality:

Fronzel:

EscapingReality:
Motion controls makes games what they used to be in the arcade: You pick up and you play em. Everyone can play them, and only few can really master them. Simple mechanics make for a great gameplay.

Examples, please?

Sorry, I was unclear with my previous post; I wanted examples of motion controls making "great gameplay" not simple mechanics doing the same.

You happened to address that topic to some degree anyway by mentioning Wii Sports, but while all the Wii Sports mini-games are indeed quite intuitive, I can't honestly call something that shallow a "great game".

Raiyan 1.0:
Oh dear...

Console gamers already see PC games being brought over to their platform being 'dumbed down' because of the constraints of the controllers. If the industry tries to cater to the novice to expand the market, won't they be simplifying the controllers even further if the current ones appear 'daunting' to a rookie?

I think they meant the co-existence of several different control schemes of varying levels complexity.
Although, I agree with Portnow; We already kind of have that in the form of handheld systems, with the simplified (D-pad only) controls that can give you a bsic rundown on how to effectively navigate in a 3D space.

Also, what game are you talking about, that dumbs down it's control scheme for consoles?

More great stuff! Oh, wait, I just noticed the e-mail address for suggestions! I've got quite a few...

Also, Field of Dreams happens to be my dad's all-time favorite movie.

This would officially be the best series ever if Shamus was on it too. As of now it is still really good.

OT: I got my sister to attempt to play a shooter for the first time. She had only played few platformers before. (LPB, Spyro 1,2,3 Crash 1,2,3) She collectively shot all of her own team mates in the back then accidently made her character look at his feet. She then hammered buttons to rectify this which made her character whip grenades at his feet and blow himself up. This all happened in the course of about a minute. So yes, controllers are very unfriendly to newbies.

Extra Consideration:
Extra Consideration: Controller Evolution

This week, MovieBob, Yahtzee, and James Portnow discuss the evolution of the controller and the difficulty in bringing non-gamers up to speed.

Read Full Article

Moviebob:

"Believe me, NO ONE has a lower opinion of the "average joe's" ability to to better himself than I do; "

Me: I really, really hate your elitist attitude Bob. It's pretty much the antithesis of Democracy. Democracy is inherently based on faith in the average person- to see the average person as stupid or wortheless is to inherently see Democracy the same way, because Democracy is rule by the average person. The same is only slightly less true of a true Republic, which represents the people. Your attitude comes off as blatantly autocratic.

You, Bob, have some of the worst tendencies of liberals. Liberals and Conservatives both have horrible flaws, in addition to both being correct on various issues. I try to be open minded and listen to both, and I tend to agree with liberals and conservatives on different things- for example, I support gay marriage, and I also support gun ownership. I support greater regulation/enforcement of regulations for big bussiness, and I also support hunting. But you tend to automatically assume conservatives are wrong about everything, you tend to have a very low opinion of the average person, and you even admit you doubt the average person can better themselves at all. That elitist, autocratic, anti-democratic viewpoint is perhaps the worst flaw that liberals have.

The evidence doesn't support the idea that the average person is stupid. In the 70's, James Holdren advocated forced sterilization because he was bigoted against the average person enough to believe that the average person is too stupid to use contraceptives, and that forced sterilization was necessary to prevent overpopulation. In reality, the average person is smart enough to use contraceptives, and the population of pretty much every first world country including the US is static, except for immigration.

More people are getting college degrees than ever before. The human race's I.Q. is increasing slightly every year.

Throughout Obama's campaign, people claimed that he would not get elected because of bigotry. He got elected.

Sarah Brady believes that the average person is too stupid/paranoid to own guns. The vast majority of gun owners never break serious laws, and letting people carry guns has consistently resulted in less crime.

Basically, the belief that the average person is stupid has not been supported by the evidence. There are some things I dissagree with the majority with, but the majority are the majority for a reason. People like you seem to think that evolution works in reverse, and those who are least intelligent tend to thrive. Not only is that discrimination, it is ridiculously illogical.

Fronzel:
Sorry, I was unclear with my previous post; I wanted examples of motion controls making "great gameplay" not simple mechanics doing the same.

You happened to address that topic to some degree anyway by mentioning Wii Sports, but while all the Wii Sports mini-games are indeed quite intuitive, I can't honestly call something that shallow a "great game".

And I want a magical pony. You're asking for something that doesn't exist. Not from motion controls, not from button controls, not from keyboard controls. Seriously, what game can you point to on the X-box where what made it a great game was the controller?

Until we get to the direct neural net hookup Yahtzee wants, at best what we can hope for is a controller that doesn't get in the way. And for a controller not to get in the way, it needs to be in a game that plays to its strengths, not it's weaknesses. For motion controllers, measurement strengths are in directionality of motion, and force of motion. Their weaknesses are precision timing of actions. Yet most games developed today really depend on precision timing. Make that jump at just the right time. Hop out of cover and shoot the guy at just the right time, etc.

Instead, when you get games that play to the strength of the motion controller, such as golf or frisbee, the controller is much less in the way than when you have to play them via "stop the moving slider bar at the right point."

Yes, I'm new as a poster, but I've been along time lurker on the forums.

Some people have been mentioning about the interactions of first person shooters. As a kid, I loved playing Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. It made me feel powerful, like a whole world had opened up to me, that I could BE the hero against evil. I played with a mouse and keyboard.

In 2003 I played the first Halo game, on the chunky Xbox game pad. It felt comfortable ( and the chunkiness was something I think they should have kept as an optional extra for the 360 controllers) but didn't like the lack of precision with the controls for aiming compared to a mouse, which was still a concern for me when I played through Reach. And yet the Halo series was another stage and influence as I grew up, and I rate the first game as one of the best I've played, even if the pistol was OTT, because of that influence in my childhood. :D

What I'm trying to get at is that, in the long run, the control scheme for a game does not matter in the slightest. JK and Halo, plot wise, are ALMOST IDENTICAL. Become a super soldier to save the Universe as your whole world is destroyed around you (Kyle Katarn being hunted for the Valley of the Jedi by Jerec, going to the Valley of the Jedi, as a Jedi, to save the Universe / Master Chief seeing Reach fall and then attempting the Covenant from activating the rings to save the Universe as an augmented human), and yet they are still both good games!!

This is why I am going to agree with Bob, and say that the next generation of controllers on ANY device (console, PC or mobile) will be an adaptation of what has come before until Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo/Apple*/Google* buckle.

One of them will eventually become insignificant in the gaming market. this will lead them to cause a shift in the gaming paradigm. Look at the rise of Nintendo in popularity once the Wii was released, Apple when they released the iPod touch, or Google's sudden entrenchement into the mobile/tablet space with it's Android operating system).

This ALSO means that motion controllers (not necessarily gesture based motion) are here to stay for the forseeable future due to the appearent demand from the creation of a very casual market in 2005. That said, who knows what will happen in 5 years with the release of the next and possibly final generation of consoles, as James mentioned.

*Apple and Google are included as they compete directly with Nintendo, Sony and MS in the mobile/tablet application business, which will take off in a big way with games during the course of 2011, look at the Honeycomb and iOS presentations of recent times and look at the publication Angry Birds on both platforms if you don't believe me, but that's getting a little off topic.

One thing regarding motion controllers that you have massively overlooked. OK its in the far future. Basically the major complaint with motion controls from yatzee is lack of physical feedback breaking immersion and that gaming tends to be very escapist.

However is it not possible to integrate actual physical activity with games? It has only been hinted at with the Wii and Kinnect. Take for example your typical lasertag arcade; you put on your vest get into teams and walk into an enclosed area with plywood hills and walls to represent a battlefield. This environment looks eerily similar to your typical block environment in pre-alpha shooters doesn't it? Why not put some receiver nodes on the corners of those blocks and give everyone some sort of motion capture equipment. Then instead of relying on cheesy glow in the dark paint just put on glasses with tiny screens in them and let the game engine render the rest. Physical feedback is there because it is actually there. The game just makes it look prettier. No need to calculate physics either because everyone is already limited by what they actually can do. To represent death just disable their ability to shoot and render them as a ghost, since the gun doesn't need a laser anymore and the game controls how everything looks. Environments could be changed easily by moving your real life blocks around. Also no more need for the multi-directional treadmill.

This idea is also useful for non-combat gaming as well. Imagine going to a museum and actually seeing the events they are depicting through virtual renderings.

Is this around the next corner? I doubt it. The tech is already there, but the costs are very high for it. Also with investment in the tank new ideas are simply being deemed too risky. I think we'll only see it if the economy recovers very fast and after that there's another 20-30 year wait as someone of wealth actually decides to make it happen.

daftnoize:

Korne:
Bob brought up that GH might not even work if it didn't have the controller. I disagree with this. Harmonix had made 2 fantastic rhythm games before Guitar Hero using basically the same highway of notes (Frequency and Amplitude). Everyone that I have showed the games to have become immediatly hooked, since they are really fun games (just like Guitar Hero). What the guitar controller did was serve as a hook and took out the foreign nature of a video game controller (people kinda get the guitar motion).

Thank you so much for mentioning those games. I am a massive fan of pre guitar hero harmonix and actually completely disagree with bob. I play all the guitar HERO GAMES WITHOUT THE SILLY GUITAR!!!! Argghh I rage so much (probably cos i don't really like the music in the guitar hero games) but wish they'd make a true sequal to amplitude. I suppose i'll just have to stick with gitaroo man from now on....

That is fair... you aren't going to like a rhythm game unless you like the music in it, and not everyone likes Rock/Country/Rap/Techno/ect. But the sped up Simon Says note highways are exillerating even without the guitar controller. It is like an advanced version of a kids toy, where you press a button and get a sound. Just like when we were 3, it is still as exciting today.

Thorvan:
Well, don't buy the game, send a letter to the developer, encourage others to do the same.

Let me just make this clear - I've no problem whatsoever if developers start broadening their demography of customers. What I fear is a shift in interest to cater to that new demography. Look at Epic. They established themselves on the PC. But when they found the money was on consoles, they simply spat on customer loyalty and started making shitty PC titles like the GoW port (which came out about 2 years after the console version, with the bug issues never fixed) and UT3 (which actually had less features than UT2004). Obviously, PC gamers voted with their wallets and went "WTF?" How did it turn out? With Epic blaming things on piracy, even though it was obviously just a case of MS giving the studio "compelling reasons" to keep their GoW titles XBox exclusive. You know, the platform where all the money is. Hell, they're still being dicks.

And it stings. CliffyB was the guy who made Jazz Jackrabbit, which was basically our cooler version of Sonic the Hedgehog. I was enraged when MS took away Crimson Skies and made it an XBox exclusive. It sucked how Sony took away Wipeout from us. The list goes on and on...

GrizzlerBorno:

Also, what game are you talking about, that dumbs down it's control scheme for consoles?

Well, I put the phrase 'dumbed down' in quotation marks, because it usually isn't the case. Bioshock and Mass Effect were both ported from the Xbox, but I didn't really feel any discomfort using the K&M (except for the item management in ME1, which was clearly optimized for the controller).

But when it comes to RTS and RTT titles, the difference is visible. DA2 on the Xbox, for example, is based more on the hack-and-slash route (which is more oriented towards the controller) instead of the whole finely-tuned micromanaging tactical route (which is suited better for the K&M setup). Hell, the XBox version doesn't even have auto-attack.

Also, take a look at Tiberium Twilight. EA was trying to cater to both PC and console (though everyone was fired before they could finish a port) through radical simplification in gameplay. The result of the console-orientation was that it destroyed the Tiberium series for the PC community.

Along with that a lot of people raised their eyebrows when SupCom2 came out. It was more simplified than SupCom1 (which in turn was the spiritual successor to Total Annihilation, an RTS title arguably more important than StaCraft) to resolve 'accessibility issues' (Gas Powered Games was trying to make a break into the XBox market) that left a large portion of the fanbase cold. Fortunately, they brought forward major updates and changes post-release.

RelexCryo:

Sarah Brady believes that the average person is too stupid/paranoid to own guns. The vast majority of gun owners never break serious laws, and letting people carry guns has consistently resulted in less crime.

I know this has nothing to do with the original topic, but I have to ask...

Has letting people carry guns consistently resulted in less crime? What are we comparing this to? I would compare it to the closest country (culturally) that doesn't allow guns, The United Kingdom. While the UK has slightly more crime per capita, the US has much more violent crime, including murder.

This read was more interesting than the last one, as there was less agreeing and more extraction of points they don't agree on.
I'd like to say that I want to see more involvement of yahtzee, but then again, he is the one who already stated the most opinions in his videos and extra puctuation. Since he covered pretty much all of his stance on controllers I guess there is not really anything new to say from him.

What I am kinda missing is a certain connection to a certain group. It appears to me that James can mostly cover the point of view of the game developpers. Yahtee as the critic should be demanding certain features from the developers side. Bob appears to me as the one who plays games more for the actual fun of it, coupled with a lot of experience on the history of the developpment of a different and older medium: the movies.

So I would more expect something like this:

Y: Games are currently majorly lacking so and so. Game developpers should focus more on that.
J: Well, that sounds reasonable, but you should know that there are these and that problems and the current state is so and so.
B: We should also approach the issue from this or that side. Maybe people like it this or that side. The movie industry has similar problems and their approach to the problem was so and so.

???
Y: And whistled for a baboon.

Ok, scratch that last poart ^^
This is only a crude scenery of what I mean, but I hope you get the point. I might as well be wrong, I don't know.

Well, to reassure James' doubt in the last paragraph, I for one can attest to that happening. My older brother bought a Wii like everyone else, but never grew up with games. That started with me and our younger brother, who are avid gamers. Eventually he got bored of what he had with the Wii and asked us for advice on anything to get on the Virtual Console, for which we insisted he get Secret of Mana, Super Mario World, and Mario RPG. Weeks later when we spoke again he was infatuated with all three, and asked to borrow my old SNES and some games to play in his spare time, having finally finished the three Virtual Console ones.

So I know it's happened at least once, hopefully far more often than this.

GiftoChaos:
Is this around the next corner? I doubt it. The tech is already there, but the costs are very high for it. Also with investment in the tank new ideas are simply being deemed too risky. I think we'll only see it if the economy recovers very fast and after that there's another 20-30 year wait as someone of wealth actually decides to make it happen.

Agreed with most of what you said, but the fact is that technology tends to follow the adaptations of two versions of Moore's Law. Either processing power doubles or cost to manufacture halves over 2 years or so, more frequently 18 months. Kinect wouldn't have been possible tecnically as a consumer product at that price if there hadn't been other significant gains in R&D and the cost to manufacture the refined item at that price. It's the one reason why Microsoft are now more a focused R&D company funded by gaming, because they are trying to find ways to stay alive.

In addition, Windows is losing steam as an operating system because fewer people require a top of the line PC/laptop for their development or work. All they need is a home entertainment system and a device capable of surfing the web intuitively. the only reason that they need a PC is router configuration and syncing of applications and music form their personal collections. Apple recently said that we are in a 'post-PC era'. If you buy an iPad, you can get a keybord for your word processing, or you can get a Bluetooth keyboard and do the same thing, which is also present int eh Android tablets, and you can also present on HDMI out, so there is no need for a convential machine when you're presenting or even making these presentations.

Those two paragraphs are the reasons why your statement is incorrect. In 5 years time, we will have more poeople being more imaginative with fresh ideas game development (see Extra Credits' latest vid), and they will be underground, not in the AAA sector. From that independent sector will come new minds that will try and rethink what has come before in terms of control schemes.

Korne:

RelexCryo:

Sarah Brady believes that the average person is too stupid/paranoid to own guns. The vast majority of gun owners never break serious laws, and letting people carry guns has consistently resulted in less crime.

I know this has nothing to do with the original topic, but I have to ask...

Has letting people carry guns consistently resulted in less crime? What are we comparing this to? I would compare it to the closest country (culturally) that doesn't allow guns, The United Kingdom. While the UK has slightly more crime per capita, the US has much more violent crime, including murder.

UK isn't the closest country to the US in terms of living conditions. The UN did a study, and found that many parts of the US have similar living conditions to a third world country. The fact that are country is derived from the UK doesn't change the fact that we have very different living conditions, the UK offers a great deal of aid to the poor, the United States does not. Most of our murders are related to the drug trade, which is itself largely a result of poverty.

If you want to compare the UK to another country that gives tons of financial aid to the poor, compare it to Switzerland.

After reading the column (very insightful) and breezing through the forum (also very interesting and filled with valid points) I felt like dropping my own two cents, mainly towards the argument of controllers and first-time players.

Mind you, I agree with the idea that anyone who is handed a controller for the first time will probably regard it as a confusing device to understand (much less "master"), and find that their first hour or so of gameplay will be riddled with character deaths and frustration. And this can apply to all controllers: motion and button alike. The first time I played Wii Tennis, I kept missing the ball, because I couldn't time my swing just right, and my character kept randomly launching herself into the air and flailing wildly. Going further back, the controller for the first console I ever owned - a PS1 - had me rather bewildered, what with its R1 and R2 buttons oddly placed on the top of the thing, and the Start button being impossible to reach without breaking gameflow.

But, I enjoyed playing games. Controller frustration didn't win over fun, interactive experience. I've been a Playstation girl since I was about 8 (over ten years ago), and yet, my Sony seasoning didn't necessarily prepare for the updates made to the controllers. I used the D-pad for at least a year despite having a controller with an analog stick, because I couldn't get the analog sticks to listen to me like the D-pad did. I used to think that "Dual Shock" was disruptive and scary, even. And using the current Six-Axis on the PS3 controller still feels wonky to me. But I work at it. No one -- not even the "hardcore" gamers -- just pick up a controller and become "Master of the Game Universe".

What I'm coming down to is mainly addressing MovieBob's point about those people who have been playing games longer will have an inherent skill over those who haven't when it comes to controller control. Everyone, more or less, starts from ground zero when it comes to learning the works of the controller: whether it be clutching the device, or waggling a stick (or even moving in front of a camera and getting it to register you as a player, because I've played Kinect, and its a little blind at times). I think that controllers do not need to be altered in order to appease an audience (i.e motion controls doesn't have to equal casual gamer, because motion controls are "easier"...especially since that isn't necessarily so), because they'll all take a certain amount of time to navigate. And even though I know how to work the controller (and only a PS controller really, since that's what I own), I didn't need "Baby's First Controller" to get the hang of things, or have to be playing since the 80s/birth to get it either. I just worked with it till I could work it. If you're a first time player: yeah, the controller looks odd to you, but that shouldn't be a deal breaker, or make gaming inaccessible to you. It also shouldn't make you think that a motion controller will be "easier" than a handheld, as said before. If you like playing games, or you have an interest, or you just want to try them out, the type of controller shouldn't stop you.

Easton Dark:

Start a new gamer onto S.T.A.L.K.E.R SOC and just wait a few hours.

Heck, even I get flustered by the number of hotkeys sometimes. Can't remember what's bandages and what's medkits.

i made my girlfriend play half life 2 and she got confused by the number of keys she needed to remember... controls that seem intuitive - such as R for reload, have to be learned first, in the end she just gave up with the thing.

But I think they are missing a point (or I missed them making a point) about the power of flash based games. If you start people off on flash or java games, all you are missing is one or two steps of slightly more complex games that can fully transition a farmville player to a fully fledged pc gamer.
and I'm almost sure this happens in f2p mmos.

Here's my question to this: how are new gamers learning proficiency on these controllers? I am old enough that my first games were on a Colecovision with the simple joysticks. After the gaming crashes of the 80s, I didn't get a console again until the PS2. But during all that time, I was still heavily gaming through a pc with it's mouse and keyboard. Is that still what people are using to learn controllers? The keyboard complexities of a pc make a dual shock simple by comparison. But pc gaming has dropped precipitously since I was learning the ropes. How are younger people learning to use a controller competently now?

Ok, sorry to be a nuisance, but if James or anbody in Extra Punctuation sees this; The two people falling in love over a game of "Dance Central"? step back a second and please tell me that story, premise alone makes in sound amazing. The words coming into my head as I read them was pretty fantastic. Mabye fit it into an episode about Love & Relationships in games? one way or the other thats a story that needs told man...

This is more directed at Bob than anyone, but I have two amazing games that debunk the whole "Guitar Hero is not Guitar Hero without the toy guitar" thing. UmJammer Lammy and Paparapa the Rapper were both amazing rhythm games that used the standard Playstation controller.

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