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Plotting the Revolution's Arc 488

Very few things surprise me about videogames anymore. I won't claim to be all-knowing by any means, but there are very few genuine surprises these days. Release dates are known well in advance, endless features and interviews are conducted with developers during the course of a game's creation, and what few elements that publishers try to keep under wraps get leaked to the media by individuals wanting their moment in the sun. Even the big gaming news stories of this past year (Hot Coffee, the PS3 PreRendered Movie Debate) were more frustrating than surprising. Happily, Nintendo managed to pull a rabbit out of their hat. Today's announcement of exactly what the revolution behind the Revolution will be is nothing short of a showstopper. Read on for my reaction to Nintendo's new bid for the brass ring.
I know it's already been discussed, but I'll go ahead and say it here for the record. The GameCube failed as a console. Despite the excellent first party games that have been released for it, and the occasional exclusive (Resident Evil 4), Nintendo has definitely stumbled it's way through this generation of consoles. The failure of the GameCube makes this the second generation of console systems where Nintendo has been left essentially sitting on the sidelines. Every time I post a story about someone editorializing Nintendo's death, or how Nintendo will never die, it saddens me a great deal. Nintendo is the company that brought a lot of the people of my generation into gaming in the first place. The Christmas morning I sat down for the first time with a NES controller in my hand was a life-changing moment. If not for smashing evil mushroom people and searching for Triforce pieces in my youth, my life would be very different today. Every flashy Xbox commercial, PS2 exclusive, or can of crap with Mario's mug stamped on it has made the little kid inside me become more and more jaded about the possibilities this industry can offer.

Today, that little kid is beaming. The company that introduced me to gaming so long ago has picked itself up off the mat and looks ready to come out swinging this time around. We've already linked to 1up's coverage of the announcement, but if you haven't read it yet there are plenty of other places to get the specifics. Gamespot, Gamespy, IGN, and Game Informer all have photo spreads, video, and first hand impressions from their experiences with Nintendo's next venture. Commentary is available from CNN Money, Wonderland, Jeremy Parish, The Game Chair, Joystiq, and Next Generation. An interview with Nintendo's Senior EU Marketing director is available on Eurogamer, and if you want to see the announcement firsthand a webcast of the presentation is available.

All of these pieces spend at least a paragraph or two wondering about the future, and with good reason. Within half an hour of the story being posted to the internet there were already lamentations about "the end of an era" and blistering condemnations of the controller as a lark that will fail as badly as the Virtual Boy. Specifically, both the professional media and fan commentaries seemed to center around the reaction that third party developers may or may not have to this extremely intriguing idea. The combination of this new controller style and the mentality that "Nintendo is for kids" may cause the company some problems down the line. They're almost certainly right.

That said, if you've read the description of the Metroid Prime demo you can't help but pause. The mental gymnastics required to use a mouse and keyboard in a First Person Shooter have confounded non-gamers since the genre began. As anyone who's played an FPS on a console can tell you, the two joystick approach gets the job done but is far from intuitive. Attempting such a title on the console is basically out of the question unless you can work at the interface, something a non-gamer is rarely willing to do. Nintendo deftly sidesteps this with an interface that has ties directly into what we do in our everyday lives. Turning your head to observe your environment is already an instinct we posses, so not only will it be easy to explain it will be trivial to do. The natural flow of such an interface opens up many horizons. Shooters are well and good, but the immediacy of the first person perspective is a tempting way to just tell a story. Divorced of its more violent aspects and with an interface that doesn't require years of practice to use, who is to say that our mothers won't be playing something built in the Unreal Engine a year from now?

The FPS is just one example of a genre that we traditionally think of as "hardcore" which could be opened up to non-gamers by an interface that allows the user to interact with a gameworld in a less artificial manner . Real Time Strategy games would be a snap, as you wave your hand and the map moves effortlessly along beneath your outstretched hand. Driving games where you could actually apply your real life driving reflexes. Puzzle games where manipulating pieces is second nature. Sports games that require you to actually swing the bat or catch the football. Fighting games where you can feel a guy get punched in the face. At the end of the day, games are about having fun. Say what you will about their business acumen, Nintendo has always understood that. With the Revolution interface, the company is reaching out to the millions of people who have yet to pick up a controller. Why should those of us who have been playing since that first grey box reached our shores be the only ones who have access to the fun?

This is a risky venture, no doubt about it. If third party developers don't catch on to the possibilities here, if the EAs of the world don't take a chance with the new interface, then Nintendo will be looking at a big problem. This may be the last console larger than the DS we see out of the company for quite a while. If that's the way it's going to be, then I say so be it. Finally, at least, Nintendo isn't just going to sit there and try to imitate the other consoles poorly. Sony and Microsoft are very, very good at what they do. Instead of keeping up with the Jonses, Nintendo is striking out on its own. For better or worse, they've taken steps to expand the field of game players and change the nature of game playing.

The number of games at launch, third party commitment to the console, and the commercial reaction to this departure from the norm will be the only way to determine if Nintendo has made the right call. Either way we can look forward to a generation of consoles that will not only be graphically more impressive, but fundamentally different from the gaming systems we've played in the past. For me, at least, when I pick up the remote for the first time it will be like sitting down again on Christmas morning. I can't wait.

I've had my say ... what do you think? The controller announcement was put up early this morning. Now that you've had the chance to look at it more carefully, is your opinion any different? Most importantly, are you planning on buying one?
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Plotting the Revolution's Arc

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  • by Godeke ( 32895 ) * on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:46PM (#13578433)
    I found this interesting because it looks like an idea I threw out there long ago: a light gun with a built in joystick for the thumb of your left hand where it supports the gun. This would have allowed the light gun to be used for natural aim while navigating environments with the thumb in an intuitive manner.

    This takes the idea and makes it more flexible (and more palatable to the anti-toy-gun parents out there). The fundamentals are exactly as I proposed, even if the physical form is quite different. Should have patented that idea I guess :)

    The fact it looks like a "remote control" actually may make it less threatening to non gamers, especially if coupled with games that don't require twitch reflexes. Considering this is the company that came out with Animal Crossings, I can see similar games opening up an interesting market. The idea that it spins ninety degrees and becomes a "classic gaming controller" opens another market. The obvious use in first person style games maintains an opening for the classic market.

    If done correctly, Nintendo may bring a larger audience to the table and really tap into those markets that are not well served by the other big consoles. The big concern is how well it will work in more conventional gaming situations. From the descriptions it works quite well and frankly doesn't sound *that* different from an input viewpoint for portability of games *to* the system: it is a fancy analog stick. If it works better than the dual stick inputs for first person games it might even quell the "hard core and insecure about themselves" group that has traditionally slammed Nintendo for being for kids and rejected the system even when games like RE4 came out. Frankly, nearly anything works better than the dual stick inputs on the consoles (yeah, I have learned to cope, but it sucks compared to mouse and WASD) so there is some hope there.

    I like the big N... it is a company that produces games that are fun for parties and families. They still understand that a game should be fun first and then comes the chrome, but the developers have really left them by the wayside this go around. Hopefully they will couple this kind of innovation with a more aggressive use of third parties to round out the library.

    As an aside, I should point out that I own the Cube, two PS2s and an X-Box, along with my PC game collection: I'm aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and library. Nintendo is a company that I have the most *fondness* for (and anyone who complains about games reaching the point of sameness needs to at least recognize that they are doing there best to avoid that fate), Sony the company I have the most games from and the X-Box is my "co-op gaming Saturday" system. Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike is ready and waiting. My PC is for RTS and other games that elude the console input scheme.
    • "I found this interesting because it looks like an idea I threw out there long ago: a light gun with a built in joystick for the thumb of your left hand where it supports the gun. This would have allowed the light gun to be used for natural aim while navigating environments with the thumb in an intuitive manner." GunCon, anyone?
    • by 6OOOOO ( 600000 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:09PM (#13578668) Homepage
      Nintendo has become the Apple of the gaming industry. Consider:

      1. They have market dominance in a market for small, stylish portable devices that lack the raw power of some other devices, but compete on "the complete package."

      2. They are more or less a niche competitor in the console market, but maintain the edge in innovation and generally exhort their customers to "Think Different," though not quite so explicitly as Apple. Yet.

      Nintendo would do well to emulate Apple's strategies. Increase perceived "style." Appeal to those who consider themselves too "cool" for video games. Nintendo already turns a profit doing what they do, but they can't compete with MS or Sony in volume. This is the only way.
      • Appeal to those who consider themselves too "cool" for video games.

        I've always considered myself to "cheap" for consoles since I'm going to own a couple of PCs anyway, but for the first time in my life I'm considering buying one after reading this article.
    • Very off subject, but I have always wondered, why on earth do people use wasd? It makes no sense. The natural position for your left hand on the keyboard centers your fingers on esdf. Also, there are more usable keys surounding esdf than wasd and esdf easier to find in-the-blind thanks to the nice home key bump on the f key. Am I missing something, or did this become the defactor standard because some game shipped with this as the default key mapping?
    • The fundamentals are exactly as I proposed, even if the physical form is quite different. Should have patented that idea I guess :)

      No, you shouldn't have. Because if you had, we wouldn't be seeing it used by a mainstream company today.

  • by tont0r ( 868535 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:50PM (#13578479)
    they are constantly trying to change the market, which very few companies ever do. they tried the virtual boy (which didnt do so hot) but the DS is doing very well, and i think that with their new control, there is a HUGE amount of potential. just think of sports games alone. you are going to be swinging a 'bat'. throwing a 'ball'. playing golf, etc etc etc. of course it will probably take some getting used to, but i hope this definitely takes off as much as nintendo wants it to.
    fencing games can now be fun :P
    • by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:31PM (#13578950)
      they are constantly trying to change the market, which very few companies ever do. they tried the virtual boy (which didnt do so hot) but the DS is doing very well, and i think that with their new control, there is a HUGE amount of potential.

      There's also a lot of potential risk. My question is, how does that risk affect the decision of game companies to make games for this system? Are game companies going to want to invest resources for a platform that may not sell? And might that create a vicious circle- even if the system is good, if the game companies hold off developing games, then there's a great likelihood of the system failing to sell.

      Great interface just might not be enough. For a long time, Apple had a big advantage in terms of interface, but the machines cost more than PCs, and there was never as much software.

    • you are going to be swinging a 'bat'. throwing a 'ball'. playing golf, etc etc etc.

      Which *really* makes me hope that they ship the production version with a racquetball-style wrist tether! %-)

    • Remember the "zapper gun"? Remember the "power glove"? Great nintendo inventions to make you feel like you were actually hunting ducks or fighting Mike Tyson?

      The problem was in the functionality of these things -- boxing (and all other games) were hopeless with the power glove. I haven't used the new nintendo controller, but will it actually be functional is a prime question here that I haven't seen addressed yet...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:51PM (#13578486)
    If this Revolution does not fundamentally change the modes of production in society, then it cannot really be considered revolutionary. This is just more petty-bourgeois reformism.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:52PM (#13578494)
    To be honest, nothing about the next generation up until now has 'excited' me, because I see it as more of an evolution than something new. With this radically different controller, Nintendo has managed to get me actually excited about a game system. From talking to my coworkers today, I don't think I'm alone in my excitement. Everybody I talk to wants to see how this thing works, because from the 'first impression' articles alone it sounds like it opens up whole new dimensions to how games are played, and furthermore those dimensions are surprisingly intuitive. What is going to make or break this system, I think, is whether or not it can execute -- whether the implementation is as good as our imagination of it.

    And at the very least, making their huge library of older games available for the system will drag a large number of people along even if they are skeptical -- because there's a HUGE market, I think, for nostaligia games, things that link us back to the fun we had as children.

    Good luck, Nintendo. You've got at least one person onboard with your vision (me!).
  • etoychest interview (Score:5, Informative)

    by lotsofno ( 733224 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:53PM (#13578497)
    etoychest has an interesting interview [etoychest.org] with Nintendos Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Perrin Kaplan, regarding the controller. Even if it doesn't have a wealth of new information, it's worth checking out:
    Q: Do you know off hand how, using the new controller, the Revolutions Super Smash Bros. will work?

    PK: Off hand, even if I did, I would rather just let players use their imaginations to think about how it could be played. The controller opens up a number of possibilities to control a game like Super Smash Bros. I know people want to know more, but now isnt the time. There really are just so many ways this controller could be used, and I think itd be just more fun to see how players might imagine a game like that be controlled.
    • Thinking of SSBM with this controller had me drooling earlier. I also want a beachead clone, too, thank you very muhc;-)
      • Quoting [technocrat.net]
        With a Magic Wand like that, all you need to do is add a microphone in addition to the accelerometers; and you've got the perfect game controller for a speech-and-swish controled spellcasting game.

        There is a lot of really neat roleplaying that comes to mind with a microphone attachment, and it would also be a really cool karaoke machine - especially with the download ability. I can't wait!
    • by frikazoyd ( 845667 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:51PM (#13579198)
      This got me thinking about how any fighting game would be controlled. I mean really. Button combinations for the Mortal Kombat-esque will be hard to transfer. What would you do? Hand gestures? Seems like there's a lot of possibilities, but that can be good or bad. I mean, imagine memorizing hundreds of gestures just to master a few characters.

      And suppose they go the Punch-Out route. Fighting games would get downright tiring.

      For all other types of games though, I see the potential. But fighting games with this controller? I remain cautiously skeptical...
  • by psocccer ( 105399 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:53PM (#13578498) Homepage
    I know it's already been discussed, but I'll go ahead and say it here for the record. The GameCube failed as a console.

    Well since last quarter they were the only console company of the big 3 to post a profit, and large even if smaller than hoped at 33 million. But up 33 million is certainly better than in the hole 52 million (sony) or 179 million (xbox). Give me the patented Nintendo brand of failure any day.

    Source of the figures [gamespot.com]

    Patiently awaits his -1 fanboy mod

    • Er ... I agree with your assessment. But, did you read the title of the article?

      "Nintendo profits cool in latest quarterly earnings report - The dynamite DS can't offset a dearth of games and plummeting GameCube and GBA sales; game giant remains in the black."

      Much of their financial success today is based on their dominance in the handheld market, where they continue to have two consoles that garner gangbuster sales.

      Nintendo as a company is very viable. It's my opinion (shared by many other folks) that the
    • by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:11PM (#13578688) Journal
      Seriously. The only way the Gamecube is a failure is if you compare one set of numbers, total consoles sold. If the only way for a company to be successful is to sell the most of whatever it is they make, then the global economy is going to be in trouble. Fortunately, in the real world, you can make some good money without completely dominating your industry.

      How about we judge the consoles by other means? Owning all three consoles, the GameCube gets the most playtime easily, followed by the Xbox. Actually, the PS2 was at a friend's house, and is now under water courtesy of hurricane Katrina, but I'm not shedding any tears for it.

      Granted, that's just my personal opinion, but I know of a good number of my other friends who feel that way. We're all in our early twenties, we've got some disposable income, I'd say we represent a pretty desirable market segment for a video game company.

      I don't see Nintendo ever dominating the industry like they did back in the NES days. I don't see anyone gaining that kind of control over it. In terms of making Nintendo money, and allowing it to continue to exist as a business, the Gamecube did just fine. In terms of providing a platform on which some fun games could be built, I think it did pretty good too. Oh, and it's even managed to be cheaper to buy than the PS2, which is a year older.

      Go Nintendo, Go!
      • by RickHunter ( 103108 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @04:13PM (#13579501)

        And that just marks the Gamecube as a commercial failure. We moved a month ago. So far, the Gamecube's the only console that we've bothered to unpack. Why? Because it's a load of fun to play in a way that the others just aren't. So the Gamecube was a massive success as a console. It was, really, the perfection of the last generation. Now Nintendo's introduced the next generation, and Sony and Microsoft are caught flat-footed, with massive amounts of cash sunk into minor improvements on last-generation consoles.

  • sidelines? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kisrael ( 134664 )
    I wouldn't say N64/GC was Nintendo "sitting on the sidelines". Yes, they were clearly in second place, but based on the huge number of great games and the amount of gamers talking about them, they are still a major damn player. Yes, they had 1/3 to 1/2 the shelfspace as Sony did this generation, but for multiplayer/party gaming, they were untouchable, with franchise power the other companies would drool over.

    I'm still skeptical about these controllers. A LOT will be riding on how well they work...if the
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:54PM (#13578507)
    The day of Revolution will be the day it ships. Until then, this is all a big tease. I gather it is still shipping rather well after XBox and PS3.
  • I guess you know nothing about the "Spore" game (check at http://www.pqhp.com/cmp/gdctv/ [pqhp.com]). A friend of mine sent me the link, and the game seem nothing less than amazing.

    • Woo!

      Actually, we've reported on it a couple times since E3. I am really looking forward to it. I'm not a big fan of RTS (excepting Civ, and Starcraft), but the way that that element integrated with the other gametypes seems very cool.

      Here's hoping the final version can live up to the demo.
  • My Take (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:56PM (#13578539) Homepage
    I have to say, I was TOTALLY surprised when I saw it this morning. At first I thought Slashdot pointed to a joke, then I thought it was the remote for the system (to play DVDs, etc) and looked all over the page for the REAL thing.

    But reading the description and seeing the video, I am "stoked". In many ways, it's like EyeToy taken to the next level. I can't wait to try it.

    I agree that the GC failed (even though I played it more than anything else this generation), but it Nintendo is still here. They took a gamble with the DS and I believe that it payed off. It took a little while to get the first great games, but they are out now with more coming. Nintendo keeps its commitments, and I can't wait to see what they do with this. Even if 3rd parties aren't big on it (sad), I know I can count on Nintendo for hours of fun. If Nintendo consoles turn into what the Atari 2600 was before Activision (only games were made by Atari), that's OK with me.

    But this has a chance of doing two things. First, it could cause big problems for Sony and MS. The other option, is it could split the field into the "Nintendoites" (Have a Nintendo, fun, innovative games) and the "Gamerz" (Great graphics, more of the same, not unlike the PC is becoming, with the occasional great game).

    I've wanted a Revolution the most of the next generation even knowing almost nothing based on Nintendo's reputation. The XBox 360 and PS3 announcements (especially price) have pushed me further. This threw me off the cliff BIG TIME.

    I want my Revolution!

    PS: I LOVED the virtual boy. I think it was mismarketed. It had its problems, and it failed, but I still loved it. Mario Crash, Wario Land, Mario Tennis, and more. Some great games on that platform.

    • I agree that the GC failed (even though I played it more than anything else this generation), but it Nintendo is still here.

      If its goal was to kick Sony's ass, it failed. If it was to provide a lot of good games and keep Nintendo as a major player, I'd say it suceeded.
      • Exactly. It failed to take the market back over. It failed to be number one or two and push the third console into obscurity. It failed in a market share sense.

        The GC has been the most obscure of the three consoles right now. You hear in the (mainstream) media about the PS2 and the XBox, but not much about the GC.

        That said, I agree with you. In the "Was it a good console with good games" respect, it succedded by a long shot. As I said, I have a 'Cube and love it the most of the three current consoles (I o

  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:56PM (#13578540) Homepage Journal
    Graphically and gameplay wise, there is no line between home and arcade systems anymore. They've more than caught up to each other.

    Arcades still have a huge lead when it comes to input devices. A few examples.

    Dance Dance Revolution and it's varients.
    Just about any cockpit driving game.
    Spy Scope (Konami light gun game with a scope)

    I can't really remember all the names off hand, but in the arcade intuitive controls is the game. You got games with replica harley davidsons, jet ski's, hang gliders and even futuristic battle pods from which you do mech battle.

    I don't think nintendo is taking any kind of a gamble with the revolution controller. They know intuitive control is what has kept the arcade alive for so long and they're following suit.

  • The best game interface ever for me was the SuperScope rifle for the SNES. Point and shoot. Intiutive, did exactly what I wanted instead of me fighting the controller, worked every time. I still miss it now.
  • by BitwizeGHC ( 145393 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:58PM (#13578556) Homepage
    Here's four reasons why:

    Mario Sunshine
    Zelda Wind Waker
    Metroid Prime
    Sonic Heroes

    I know that picking these games apart is the thing to do if you are a video game reviewer, especially WW and Heroes, but *I* enjoyed them. And I know that Heroes was a multiplatform release but the PS2 version sucked and the Xbox version was awkward to control because Heroes was designed to be played with the Cube's nonstandard button configuration.

    If Nintendo produces games that people enjoy playing, and they're making money, how is that failing?

    This, of course, only gets me more excited about the Rev. Especially when you consider the possibilities for Katamari Damacy with that movable, tiltable controller. (Hey, it could happen... they're doing a DS port...)
  • by msmercenary ( 837876 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:58PM (#13578557)
    From the GameInformer article:

    Not only is the D-pad used for movement, but the Revolution controller can control movement by raising and lowering, but also by twisting, turning, and moving the controller left, right, up, down or forward and backwards

    Thanks to 20 years of computer programming and gaming (both PC and many of the consoles that made Nintendo a gaming powerhouse), I get to use a trackball and ergonomic keyboard at work, per doctor's orders.

    I try to imagine what I would do with a one-handed controller that required me to twist, turn, and roll my wrist in convoluted ways to play the game, and my wrist starts to hurt just thinking of it.

    My first thought after looking at this new controller is that it's going to be an ergonomic nightmare.
    • Actually, it's a comfortable shape...just think of any major tools and how they're shaped. Also, the wrist problems are caused by repetitive movements which cause strain. If anything, with this kind of controller you have less repetitive movement than even a traditional game controller, and your wrist has flexibility of motion.
    • by Phisbut ( 761268 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:22PM (#13578839)
      Thanks to 20 years of computer programming and gaming (both PC and many of the consoles that made Nintendo a gaming powerhouse), I get to use a trackball and ergonomic keyboard at work, per doctor's orders.

      My first thought after looking at this new controller is that it's going to be an ergonomic nightmare.

      I don't think Nintendo expects people to play with their new controller for 8 hours a day every weekday...

      Very few tool or objects we grab and use in every day life is 100% ergonomic, but it doesn't hurt to grab or use it unless you do it all day long...

    • by sabernet ( 751826 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @04:34PM (#13579752) Homepage
      That's entirely untrue. You have a better chance acquiring RSD or CTS by using a regular controller then this. Regular controllers require repetitive movement with very little variation.

      Like a trackball mouse, this forces the movements to vary greatly during the gameplay, repetitive stress disorders won't apply at all.

      I'm not a dorctor, but I worked for a year helping in the design of iternet and computer kiosks for the physically challenged so I'm familiar with ergonomics.

    • by syle ( 638903 ) <syle@NosPam.waygate.org> on Friday September 16, 2005 @05:05PM (#13580127) Homepage
      No, you've got it exactly backwards. Ergonomics problems happen when you use your hands and wrists for things they weren't made to do, like type at awkward angles on a keyboard.

      Gripping onto a stick is exactly what your hand is made for.

  • Don't forget the ability to play games from all their previous consoles [ign.com]. While the whole pricing part of that is up in the air, it appears at least some games will be free, or should be reasonably priced. And of course the new controller has the "a" and "b" buttons so you can hold it sideways and it's like a classic NES controller. That's an additional source of interest to gamers and revenue to Nintendo. And of course Nintendo has been the only one of the big 3 to post a profit in the previous round. I don
    • And of course Nintendo has been the only one of the big 3 to post a profit in the previous round. I don't know how that's failure.

      As much as I love Nintendo, the only reason they posted a profit is because of the DS (maybe the GBA, not sure). The GameCube *has* failed. I like it very much and I do play it much more than my PS2, but for the general market, it failed.

  • by foldgate ( 888451 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:59PM (#13578576)
    Right on. I don't think it's an overstatement to say that this is the biggest thing Nintendo has done for the industry since the NES.

    I see the Revolution controller as the culmination of a process that began with awkward, lampooned devices such as the Power Glove and Virtual Boy, finally shaping up considerably with the DS. Nintendo's efforts have been focused on bridging the gap between physical and virtual space for a decade and a half, and, at long last, it looks like they've hit the nail on the head. Four (or is it a whole six?) axes controlled without a single finger. Genius.

  • When they said that the DS proved their impressions wrong, so Nintendo has earned themselves a breif respite from unfounded criticism. If the games do suck, I imagine PA will have at them for it.

    Fortunately, I'm under no such obligation =). I seem to recall hearing that the Revolution was backwards compatible; as fascinating as that carpal tunnel syndrome controller may be, if Nintendo provides an "out" for developers via Cube controller compatibility, a lot of them will take it. The Revolution would have
    • Re:PA said it best (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Phisbut ( 761268 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:29PM (#13578926)
      The Revolution would have to sell on unprecedented levels to convince publishers and developers to create a game that has no chance of being portable for a console.

      Not quite *that* much though. Games on the Revolution will be based on gameplay, not graphics. Since the biggest slice of budget in making a game is in the ultra-realistic graphics that use every available feature of the hardware acceleration, games developed for the the Revolution will probably require a much smaller budget, making the risk that much lower, and the sales number required to become profitable also lower.

    • That can only help Nintendo. They get the ports from other consoles using the GCN controllers (or hopefully the WaveBird is compatible without the adaptor), they get all of the first party innovative games, and they get any games that 3rd party developers feel like doing for the Revolution specific control. Plus, now that I am thinking about it, they get to have ports that have a new and improved control scheme grafted onto it. You can bet that pretty much all the EA sports games will have the controls from
  • The new controller opensmany neat arenas that have never been handled well by any controller I have ever used. This could creat a very interesting sword fighting game, going with the novel theme we seem to get with nintendo, a game where you conduct an orchestra.
    The first person shooter set up sounds intersting, and I can hardly wait to try it. And strangly enough I could see a fly fishing game being a huge success.
    Looks like I am buying one.
  • Zonk (Score:5, Funny)

    by RealityMogul ( 663835 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:02PM (#13578608)
    If every game related post Zonk green lights, SOMEBODY has to make a comment about how somegamesite.com is paying him money for the articles.

    Now he posts an article with links to EVERY GAMING SITE. So have at it trolls - explain that one!
    • Actually most people think he works for Nintendo because so far he has been posting so many Xbox 360things that we are tired of hearing about it. These theories apparently were true.
  • by xenocide2 ( 231786 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:02PM (#13578609) Homepage
    Nintendo has created the first controller that can recognize when you throw it at a wall in frustration!
  • I have nothing against Nintendo. I actually think their game titles are welcome relief from the cookie cutter games washing over the industry.
    That being said, I just can't see people using this device very much. Part of the allure of video games is being able to veg out and play with the minimal amount of movement. Having to wildly gesture for every game would just tire people out. It requires too much physical involvement.
    I hope they design a "standard" controller as well...
    • "wildly gesture" is incorrect. The techdemo reviews imply you can hold it on your lap, performing very small wrist movements if you want.
      Also, they have already designed a "standard" controller, 3 years ago. The Rev has ports for GameCube controllers.
    • I don't know if you've read any of the articles, but most people who actually got to sit down and play with it were told to just have it in their lap and move it with very minimal movements (think laser pointer). All of the reporters seemed to say that it was still very responsive even with very tiny movements.

      I don't think a "wildly gesture" will be required for every game.. though probably the option will be there for some (A drumming game for example).
  • nintendo is losing mindshare and marketshare and this is just not helping. who, precisely, are they going after with this console, with this controller? the casual gamer?

    is there such thing as a casual gamer anymore? i'm curious as to how nintendo would define that. to me, it's the kid playing Madden and Halo after school. and these people will happily continue playing these games on PS3 and X360. if they are going after the bejeweled crowd, i think Nintendo is seriously in trouble. i just can't se

  • Gamecube (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:04PM (#13578619) Homepage
    The gamecube was/is not a failure. Despite the fact that it didn't get as much media attention and the fact that nobody seems to like it, it still outsold the XBox on the worldwide level. Also, it was the only console that consistently made money on the hardware. It also has many titles that you can't get on other systems. Games that are truly innovation. There is no other game like animal crossing for any other system. Also, they are still making games for gamecube, and still selling units, so I would say the gamecube was anything but a failure.
  • Well, this is the first of the next gen consoles to make me sit up and actually wonder when it was being released. Any idea when it will actually be out?

    I could imagine some pretty sweet rhythm games with two controllers.

    I only dread the WarioWare that comes out for this. That game would probably result in countless broken controllers from trying to flip it or spin it or whatever.
  • Great analysis. and perfect example of why this system can beat others, I didn't think this could be used to maximize FPSes (which have SUCKED on consoles for years. Sorry fanboys, Halo wasn't a great FPS, Half Life 2 was a great FPS)

    But There's so much potential in this system, all we need to see is how it's used.

    If the FPSes don't come or realize the potential it's all for naught, Nintendo must garner some support and fast, if they do so, they will take the market with a really new system, something I ha
  • I'll still keep my N64 system regardless, just for S-Mario64 and both Zelda's.
  • If they put a halfway decent zoom-n-shooter into the mix. Tie Fighter/X-wing, Red Baron, Asteroids 3-d even? If this new controller is as intuitive as claimed, I'm on it.
  • Controller (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:15PM (#13578734)
    I've always looked at Nintendo as the Apple of gaming companies.

    They come out with neat stuff and sometimes it's just fan-fucking-tastic: Look at your current controller and think for a second about what company brought those out first. Look at your current handheld game: If it isn't a DS or GameBoy variant, it is likely inspired by the GB.

    They come out with neat stuff and sometimes it just tanks: Virtual Boy, power glove, power mat and the like.

    If I'm interested in consoles that take chances and try to do new things, I'll go with a Nintendo. If I just want a console that is just more of the same, but faster then I'll go with a PS or XBox.

    I like Nintendo because I think that, despite not having the most impressive specs, they do more to push *gaming* forward - gaming as an experience - than anyone else. Sony and MSFT might have faster stuff or prettier pictures, but there's nothing really different about their systems.

    Personally, I hope the Revolution lives up to its name. I, for one, will be getting one upon release, while I will almost certainly be waiting at least a year for an XBox 360 or PS3.
  • What excited me the most (as I've commented before [slashdot.org]) is, if news.com report is accurate, the chance for joe blow to start a small team and create a new game on a console with a new interface. If Nintendo provides support and enough push for these small guys, then the chance for out-of-the-box thinking and games would be possible (hard to do with PS and Xbox franchise today).

    If Nintendo would open source their tools and get game developers involved, they may have a unique opportunity which Sony and Microsoft
  • "blistering condemnations of the controller as a lark that will fail as badly as the Virtual Boy"

    could he be talking about me?

    just dont bring back the Virtual Boy. Anymore 2D red wire-frame graphics and i'll have to.... um, not buy it like i didnt the first time. [slashdot.org]

  • I see what Nintendo is trying to do here, I really do. Firstly, they're trying to move video gaming one step closer to its ultimate goal of virtual realities and worlds. You'll get no argument from me against the idea that actually swinging something is more like swinging something than moving an analog stick. No question at all. For that, I applaud them. This truly is innovative, and does push gaming towards it's ultimate goal of accurately simulating reality.

    Secondly, it does indeed present a controller

  • by LordZardoz ( 155141 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:24PM (#13578860)
    In the off chance it matters, I am a game developer.

    As long as it works without being overly glitchy, they at least clinch 2nd place.

    They are promising to deliver the back library of the NES and SNES already. And you have clean backwards compatibility with the Gamecube, and this will keep the owners of gamecubes happy. And while the installed base of the Gamecube may not be as impressive as the Playstation 2, it is not inconsiderable either.

    So you can get the nostalga buyers. And unlike the DS, I can easily imagine games that would use this tech that I would want to play. This has real possibilities.

    Simply looking around in 3d space is now a resolved issue. Its blindingly intuitive to that purpose, and that alone will make many games much more playable.

    Put a cursor on the screen, and you have a very viable mouse replacement. RTS games become much easier to do. You could probably make HomeWorld playable on a consle. Can you imagine doing that on existing consoles?

    And while the video of people playing games with the controller shoes no shots of the actual gameplay, it does serve one important purpose. The fishing, 'conducting music', and other types of gameplay do demonstrate one thing. This controller will permit gameplay types that simply are not possible right now. And even if conducting an orchestra is not likely to appeal to the 16 year old, counterstrike demographic, it will appeal to some people. It will pull in entirely new sorts of gamers.

    Between Nintendo loyalists and the new players, it can probably clinch 2nd place. And if the 3rd party publishers are intrigued enough to make a serious effort to port their games to exploit this controller, it can likely unseat Sony in the number 1 position.


  • I think the key point that this controller offers is the degree of physicality, the amount of actual physical movement you get to do in controlling on screen events. In moves away from thumb twiddling and let's you move and swing your arms. This is fantastic for any sort of game that has real life simulation - sports games, FPS, etc. because as the poster mentions you can swing your golf club or baseball bat, or sword, or gun, rather than relying on wrist and finger twitches acting through a complex interf
  • by 0biter ( 915407 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @03:26PM (#13578879) Homepage
    that "story" was a really boring piece of analysis that used a lot of words to say nothing. so allow me to throw down some analytical building blocks that show how the Revo could be the ultimate 3rd party system.

    fact is that the Revo is going to be cheap compared to the 360 and PS3, and that physics-based gameplay with a natural, "3D" input system is going to be fun as hell to play. not only will canonical genres like sports, FPS and racing games be freed from the abstract stupidity of the "2D" standard controller, but a whole new market for whimsical and amusing physics-based mini-games and puzzlers will be instantly created. we're already seeing this market emerge on the mouse-and-keyboard interface of the PC, so just imagine what could happen if a standardized "3D" controller were at the center of it all. because there is no question that such games are loved by casual gamers and a wider, as yet untapped gaming audience, the only concern is whether or not nintendo will allow this market to flourish by releasing (or allowing downloads) of such $10-25 gems.

    in that regard, the "home" button on the Revo controller is the real story here; if it takes me to a one-time fee per game, download-on-demand dashboard, i'll be sharing a gaming heaven with a lot of other people.

    i think the Revo controller is what companies like EA have been looking for too. their own executives have been noting that their sports games at least are becoming repetative and derivative, and that this is starting to hurt year-over-year sales. merely slapping even fancier graphics on an old product is only going to improve sales so much, if at all, while also increasing development costs. the Revo controller frees companies like EA to innovate gamplay in a way we havn't known since the dawn of 3D graphics in general. you don't think they are going to want to take advantage of that kind of novelty while simultaneously avoiding the graphics arms race defining PS3 and 360 competition? LOLERSKATES.

    finally, let us not forget that the Revo console includes ports for standard gamecube controllers. not only does this ensure backwards compatability, it ensures forwards compatability for ports that use a more "traditional" controller input system.

    frankly, i'm pumped. the Revo has got me excited about the next-gen consoles in a way that PS3 and 360 didnt at all.
  • From TFA:
    Driving games where you could actually apply your real life driving reflexes.
    Right. I drive with two feet, both hands and arms, and move my head. Compare this with a controller that 'drives' using a single hand.
  • Until we see what sort of 3rd party support is forthcoming, and until we see how well the new controller design works on some actual games, it's just too early to tell.

    Some folks are already bemoaning or praising the new controllers. As for me, I will say this new announcement is the first thing to make me really take any interest in the next generation of consoles. It does look like Nintendo could be on to something innovative here, but until I've at least heard some first hand accounts of how the syst

  • come on ninty, i got 3 kids. i'm never gonna beable to find this fricking controller. remotes are like keys and wallets, they just get lost.
  • How long do you think it will take before someone accidentally tosses the controller when swinging at something and their hand is sweaty from a long gaming session?

    Someone could get hurt or you might end up breaking something such as the controller itself.

    I hope they have something in the controller to hold the batteries in place better than regular remotes since with regular remotes, the battery connectors can get jarred out of place just by dropping it about a foot. You would then have to bang the control
  • by c0d3h4x0r ( 604141 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @05:02PM (#13580084) Homepage Journal
    Nintendo is wasting its time with this controller nonsense.

    The most important thing for a console to succeed is to have a plethora of truly outstanding games available for it.

    Whether a game is good or not has relatively little to do with the capabilities of the hardware or the uniqueness of the controls. It has to do with the artistry of the game designers and the ethic of the developers. Developers should not try to push hardware beyond its comfort zone (no slow frame rates or laggy scenes, please), and the designers should focus on fun gameplay and appropriate difficulty.

    Nintendo's own games are nearly always outstanding, but Nintendo seems completely clueless about how to get other companies to make great games for its systems anymore.

    Produce a console with over 200 games at launch and a quality-to-crap ratio of over 70% within that library, and you'll have a winner, period.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"