16 September 2005. 9 comments. Inspired by a great piece of interface design.
For months, years even, we've been hearing Nintendo reiterate that it does not want to be part of the same battle that Sony and Microsoft are deeply entrenched in. However, with a system like GameCube, the comparisons are inevitable. With Revolution and its one-of-a-kind approach to the controller, drawing these parallels just became a lot more difficult. This was an important message from Nintendo in our meeting. It wants to explore uncharted waters, be a blue ocean company, and not find itself sailing the bloody waters where the competition resides.
The new wireless 'wave it around' controller for the Revolution is really, really lovely. The *genius* part for me is the design - if you want to do something genuinely new, dress it up as something familiar. And if you want to make my parents not feel intimidated about picking up a games controller, make it look like a TV remote control. There's a video of people playing with it here. Further plaudits by Mr Jones and Alice (who's jammily in Japan to see the launch). If they're this excited, I'm giddy as a weebl in a spin dryer.
In the next issue of Grafik, I spout forth about the differences in creative thinking between the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP. Without wanting to give too much away (although they will be giving away the PSP I enjoyed for a few weeks, damn them), today's announcement confirms what I said about packaging and design. As this month's Edge put it, with one of those lines that made me feel sick that I hadn't come up with it myself, "The PSP is for people who know what they want; the DS is for people who want what they don't know."
There's a market for both, of course. But, when it comes to the new consoles, I know where I want to be - round a mate's playing the X-Box 360 and saying 'ooo' to the graphics until I get bored, and go home to slash, swing and generally bounce around. If you can't find where you put the controller, I wonder if the machine will be able to locate what direction it's sitting in? And, if it's that depth sensitive, if you'll be able to use it to draw outlines around things in the room? Or people?
Suggested first additions to the peripheral basket: a mic (it's already a good shape to sing into), a sensor that lets me play a game Theremin style, a game that you can play blind (the rumble combined with the sensor opens up all kinds of possibilities), a game that works with multiple controllers a little like Magician's Power, a trap for when we've successfully caught a ghost between the streams, a ribbon to put on the end for gymnastic games, a device that stores the kinetic energy from my play and replaces the need for controller batteries, a large furry stress ball for stroking my Nintendog, a simple colour projector for turning off the lights and playing an amazing game of Rez, something playable made by Mathmos, wave-messaging capabilities, chopsticks/knitting needles.
Marks gave us the theory, and (Le)nintendo is trying to make it real. The XBox 360 isn't round. But the Revolution might just be that.