The Nintendo launch for the Revolution, its next generation console, was disappointing to say the least. So many details were missing we wondered whether we were actually watching an announcement or a twisted game of charades? There were no specifications, no demonstrations and weirdest of all: no controllers. Well, at least one oddity has been answered… with an oddity.
To be honest, when I first saw this late last week I thought it was a wind up or at best some sort of multimedia add-on, but no. Nintendo is serious, darn serious. You see the logic behind the new controller I discovered is to appeal to non-gamers. Now what kind of crazy logic is this? Does BMW go after non-drivers or Angus Steak House try to tempt Vegans?
To be fair, there is some sense to this. Nintendo, like the rest of the world, knows the Revolution isn’t going to compete with the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Consequently, it has decided to give up on the hardcore element altogether and try and tempt those of us who’ve never once shown any interest in the market to give it a go. This group, it believes, is too alienated to pick up a gamepad, but knows its way around a TV remote. Bigwigs muttered, marketing men agreed and here we are. Yes, when I said “some” sense that's all I meant.
Anyway, button count has been reduced, control is going to be largely based on motion detection (Watch out for flying controllers during wrestling games, Granny!) and it is supposed to be used in one hand. Certainly, it is brave and I really don’t want to bash something so radical without seeing it in action first hand, but simple ergonomics tells me that the shape of a TV remote not designed to be comfortable for the number of hours you’d wrestle with a gamepad. Shouldn’t it at least have curves?
Incidentally, an optional analogue controller will also be available (above) to plug into it to give the feel of a more traditional joypad, but isn't that starting to look unnecessarily complicated for "non-gamers?"?!
Of course, I – and the vast majority of the world’s IT press – could be wrong. The Revolution controller may well be the future. If so, however, wouldn’t it be ironic after all the millions spent by Microsoft, Sony, Sega et al, that the perfect form factor for 21st century gaming has been staring us in the face for 30 years?