How Complex Controllers Ruined Everything

From Kotaku:

"Guest writing at N'Gai Croal's Level Up, Bill Harris offers a brief history of the game controller and its evolution. Harris argues that it's the fault of Street Fighter II that arcade games, and later console games, changed from pick up and play to complex. The Wii is the counter example, but before you start thinking, "I've heard this all before," Harris continues to argue that game reviews haven't figured out what to do with the Wii. Games like Carnival Games have sold well despite terrible reviews because, well, they're just easy and fun to play."

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neogeo4930d ago

My wife wont touch the PS3 but loves the Wii

THE_JUDGE4930d ago

Are you serious? I hate the Wii for many reasons the controller being the highest. Who wants to buy a game and have to come home and figure out how to swing the controller to play it? Thats nothing that I want to do.

ry-guy4930d ago

Swinging your arm/hand is much more intuitive to the human than figuring out where the A button is and when to press it without looking down at it so you can accurately execute whatever move it was.

For the longest time I hated the PS2 controllers because they introduced the extra set of trigger buttons. Instead of L and R you had L1, L2, R1, & R2. I had the hardest time because all four were the same size and shape and made it difficult to get accustomed to it. Xbox 360 did a bit better by making a left and right trigger button and then a left and right bumper button.

ItsDubC4930d ago

Ya my gf will only play the Wii also. I think for non-gamers, d-pads are either too intimidating or unnecessarily complicated (ie a waste of time to learn what each button does).

Kholinar4930d ago

"Who wants to buy a game and have to come home and figure out how to swing the controller to play it? Thats nothing that I want to do."

So, let me guess, you hated learning baseball as a kid?

THE_JUDGE4930d ago

a video game and thats a ridiculous comparison. If I wanted to play baseball and swing my arms I'd play baseball. I however don't want to play Madden and act like I'm throwing a pass. Thats too much to do when all I have to do is hit a button. Besides the Wii sensor is inaccurate as hell so it takes the fun out of whatever they were trying to put into the game.

Kholinar4930d ago

"Baseball isn't
a video game and thats a ridiculous comparison."

Ah, that's where companies get into trouble.

Entertainment is entertainment. Doesn't matter if it's a pickup softball game, a broadway show or hunting. There are only so many entertainment dollars to go around. Fun is fun and people will vote with their dollars. If "looking stupid" like you think you do when you pick up a wiimote was so unpopular, then karaoke would have never taken off.

Fun is fun. Bodily movement generally makes it more so. Unless you're just lazy or care more about what people think of you than having fun.

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okcomputer4930d ago (Edited 4930d ago )

It might be a little off topic, but the the "complicated controller" issue kind of ticks me off and the argument has never made any sense to me. Whenever you read an article about the success of the wii, they almost always have some crap line about controllers "getting more and more complex over the years" and thats absolute bs. The ps3 and 360 controllers are just slight variations of the four face button snes controller thats been out since 1992. The only additions are analog sticks (which are actually easier and more intuitive than a d pad) and an extra set of shoulder buttons. Other than that console controllers have been largely unchanged for over 15 years and have a pretty simple layout.

Kholinar4930d ago

Perceived complexity is just as damaging.

For example, I run sound sometimes at events and I've trained people to do it. The thing about mixers is that they look like they have several hundred buttons/sliders which is daunting, but really it's just 7 or 8 buttons/sliders repeated 16-40 times depending on your mixer and a group of other main controls/effects. One person can easily get a grasp if they understand those first 7 or 8. The problem is that, with every game, (besides fps's) the control scheme is a moving target. It's hard enough training people once when you're there and able to break it down simply without having to retrain with every game they play.

It's not that getting used to it is hard. It's that people have a perception that it is. That perception can continue past the third or fourth game/app that they learn (look at older windows users), which can make them just give up.

Like it or not those analog controllers that just replace the d-pad with greater functionality add an order of magnitude of intimidation to a potential player.

It's arbitrary and we've gotten used to it/comfortable with it. That doesn't mean it's not broken (or that it hasn't been since '92).

TOM4930d ago

Me personally,I've been clamoring for the keyboard mouse combo on consoles.

Danja4930d ago

he should be talking about those Horrible N64 and Gamecube controllers...and the original obox controllers also...

evyrew4930d ago (Edited 4930d ago )

This is a very well written article, and i have to agree with the author. I mean really, do we really need to have that many buttons. Certain games use them intuitively, but others... "is this the grenade button or the reload button?... D'oh!!"

Timed button press events can compound the problem further. There's not enough time to remember which is which... especially if you're new to the controller. At least sony and microsoft have almost identical controllers.

Edit: well, wouldn't say that the new controllers "ruined everything". But i would say that it does add to the learning curve. Which might turn some people off.

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