Tuesday, October 04, 2005


(images copyright Nintendo Inc.)

A TV remote? A freaking TV remote? Shigeru Miyamoto, you are an undeniable genius but even given the impressive true space technology hidden in your controller, it's still a TV REMOTE! Let me iterate why this control design causes me so much angst.

First, I already have a table full of TV remotes. They are all clumsy, uncomfortable and ergonomically backward in design. It is THIS ergonomic design that I detest and fear in the Revolution's wireless controller. When I'm flying my Devastator in Crimson Sky's - when I'm maneuvering the Master Chief around Covenant ambush - hell, when I'm locking onto Metroid Targets in an abandoned space platform I don't want to feel like I'm flipping channels. I want to feel like I'm gripping alien hardware. I like the Cube, Xbox and PS2 controllers because they don't feel like the other clumsy, ugly and blunt human interfaces I'm forced to deal with in my day to day life. Even the much maligned 'canned ham' of the Xbox helps put me in the mood by feeling like a hefty control interface one might find inside of a Mech. I'm sure the Revolution controller is an intuitive marvel to hold and operate. I just don't want my game experience to feel like I'm using an electric tooth brush.

(images copyright Nintendo Inc.)

Second, Why go to all the trouble of making a wireless controller if you then design such a remedial interface for accessories? Look, I get it. Japan won't produce anything unless they can also devise bizarre attachments, accessories and add-ons to sell me later. Fine. But given that the controller is wireless (an issue in itself) why are the add-ons WIRED and CLUMSY? Make everything blue tooth and be done with it!

As for wireless controllers, the issue lies with battery life. Wireless controllers work fine till the batteries die then you get your ass fragged while you scrounge the house looking for another remote from which to rob a set of double-A or triple-A batteries. Wireless controllers should recharge either on the console itself or in a charger base JUST LIKE A HANDS FREE TELEPHONE. Batteries just DO NOT WORK . EVER . PERIOD .

Look, I love the Nintendo Revolution as a platform. I'll buy one. I just don't like the fact that I'll have to wait for a decent after-market controller before I do. When I play games, I play games. A TV remote is not for having fun. It's a necessary inconvenience I endure to operate my home electronics. We all know that Sony had the right idea when they opted NOT to require a wireless remote to operate their DVD functionality. The Xbox remote is one of the worst ideas in gaming history. Hell, I'd LOVE to use my Xbox controller with ALL my electronics. The joystick and trigger are just more effective than stabbing semi-responsive rubber bumps on a stick.

(images copyright Nintendo Inc.)

So now look at the Nintendo Revolution. Think about all the time spent screaming at your DVD menu because you couldn't select the right audio track on your House Of Flying Daggers DVD. Do you want to be reminded of that feeling every time you pick up the Nintendo Revolution remote? I sure don't. When I slide my fingers around the grip of a game controller, I want to instantly be reminded of the speed, power and exhilaration these new systems provide. Flying an X-Wing should never feel like pausing Star Wars Episode IV to go to the bathroom.

Nice try Shigeru Miyamoto but give me something FUN!

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