The evolution of the game console's controller
I can remember when we bought an Atari. It was a used machine, and had a number of games, including the very great Berserker. That's actually the only game I can really remember, other than the impossible E.T. After that, at some point, came a NES. Unlike the Atari, we had one game to start with - Mario and Duck Hunt.
Unlike those Atari games, however, you could jump in Mario (and in Duck Hunt you could put the gun real close to the TV, making the gun pretty useless after a year, but the game extremely easy). Of course, even though Mario didn't use the light gun, you could still move something around with the hope that moving your controller from your stomach to above your head would save Mario from those pits of wonder; but it never did.
Move ahead to the present day, 2006, and now we're seeing what we were hoping for way back then - a controller that responded to how you treated it. Of course, as the light gun showed, there's been some of that since the very beginning; moving a controller around to move your "sights" certainly isn't new. But, now that we've finally grown out of trying to hope that moving our controller up will really move the character on screen, they've started to change the rules on us, finally doing what we wanted years ago.
With Nintendo's Wii, and talks of the Playstation 3 controllers responding in a similar manner, we're moving to yet another stage of controller development.
I'm no longer a Nintendo person - Playstation had Final Fantasy VII, the hit game when I was in high school, and Tony Hawk, the hit game in college - but Red Steel for Wii had me amazed. I'll never end up playing it, unless I can play a bit in a Best Buy or WalMart, but it's truly showing the future. Why not let me swing the controller to swing my sword - move the gun by moving the controller - it's what I've been wanting to do since I had a NES well over a decade ago.
But, is this really any different than that old light gun, or the SNES super scope, or the various other light guns that have been made for one console or another? Even if you'll only agree that this controller is likely to see more use, I think you'll agree that it is different. (Which is to say, most other guns saw limited use, while the Wii controller will be useable in every game - hopefully.)
The future in video games has always been seen as being more virtual, with the movement of your body relational to the movement of the 'character' on screen. While we still may have a way to go, we're getting closer every console generation or so.
I wonder what the next step will be ...
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