Saturday, 13 July 2013

Interactive Design

As i type, tea and giant bag of Doritos in tow, I've taken a quick look around my room to see what gaming peripherals i have lying in my room. Keyboard, mouse, xbox controller and headset. I play a lot of games, probably over 50 hours a week, yet i have no need for any kind of gun peripheral or 3d magic specs to be able to play my games and have fun, so then why have games developers of the past generation decided that gaming peripherals are the way to go? "They're trying to make the experience more realistic!" Well ok but if i wanted to realistically blow someones brains out I would go and join the army or if i wanted Mario kart to feel more weighty I'd go driving like a mad man in my badass 1.2 Clio. I use my gaming more as a tool to escape from this crazy world, because for a few hours everyday i can be a sword wielding maniac or maybe a poshly dressed genius detective or something, rather than being called a "lazy student" or walking to the corner shop just to see that Freddos are now 50 pence (i mean seriously wtf) so in this case "trying to be realistic" doesn't work ."They're trying something new!" i hear you shout. That's all well and good but please make sure your ideas work properly before selling them all over the world. Playing tennis with the Wii was super fun until i realised i could play better slouching on the sofa with a burger in the other hand. Trauma Centre: Second Opinion being almost impossible to play due to how shitly accurate the Wiimote actually was. But then in the corner of my eye i see my sticker covered Guitar Hero controller resting against my wall and i start to remember all the fun i had with it.
such a fun game

Maybe I've become cynical in my old age but I never remember seeing a Powerglove or dance mats and thinking "OH BOY I NEED ME ONE OF THOSE", maybe it's because my first gaming experiences came from the computer and the super Nintendo but i think instead of helping immerse myself most peripherals have been really under par and often taken me out of immersion or made me stop playing altogether. Most are expensive, highly gimmicky and don't work as well as a conventional controller.

The 2 unique controllers that i have found actually enhanced games would be the Guitar Hero controller and the new Wii U gamepad. I am going to help developers here and break down why these have worked so if they decide to make their own "unique" controller, if they read this little list, it will be a hit with all the kids. So here we go:

  1. Accuracy

    Both of the controllers are highly accurate. The guitar controller uses simple switch mechanism for the plectrum which is reliable and feels authentic. i never felt that i failed on a song (a rare occurrence of course) due to the controller not responding. The Wii U gamepad is a much more accurate machine than its predecessor's, with much better accelerometers and gyroscopes that pick up all slight movements accurately. All with a large lovely high res touch screen that is just as reliable as the rest of the remote.
  2. Cheap

    You might be thinking, "but its like £40 for a Wii U gamepad and I'm sure the guitars were similar too" but you're wrong because they both came with the game/console. They also don't need you to buy any add-ons to play a different game mode or game unlike the Wii motion plus which required people to spend extra money to make the Wiimote as accurate as it should have been on release.
    stupid motionplus

  3. Ergonomic

    I mean i know its not hard for the guitar controller to have gone wrong but some peripherals are just outrageously idiotic in their design. Virtual boy being the best example i can think of. What designer thought, lets make our "portable" 3D console a pair of goggles so heavy you can only play them on a table with a stand or by ducktaping the thing to your head. Why not move all the weight to a small bag and just have the screens at the top with a wire connecting them i mean seriously.
Nice and "portable"

So to sum up this post, i don't really like peripherals please stop making them.

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