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Input Devices Entertainment Games

In Defense of the Classic Controller 251

Kotaku has an opinion piece by Leigh Alexander singing the praises of classic, button-rich controllers for the level of precision and complexity they offer. While the Wii Remote and upcoming motion-control offerings from Microsoft and Sony are generating a lot of interest, there will always be games for which more traditional input devices are better suited. Quoting: "With all this talk about new audiences — and the tech designed to serve them — it's easy to get excited. It's also easy to feel a little lost in the shuffle. For gamers who've been there since before anyone cared about making games 'for everyone,' having that object in our hands was more than a way to access the game world — it was half the appeal. Anyone who's ever pulled off a chain of combos in a console fighter can tell you about the joy of expertise and control. ... Gamers may suffer some kind of identity crisis as the familiar markers of their beloved niche evolve — or disappear entirely. The solution to that one's easy: Get over it. Like it or not, it's clear that gaming's not a 'niche' anymore, and its shape will change. The more pressing issue is whether or not controller-less gaming will truly make the medium richer. Making something 'more accessible' doesn't necessarily make it better."
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In Defense of the Classic Controller

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  • by hal2814 ( 725639 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @09:52AM (#28527609)

    Motion control is useful in and of itself but more importantly, it has the potential to be a universal control system. Ideally any sort of control scheme could be emulated through a sufficiently sophisticated motion control system. Analog controllers, steering wheels, fishing poles, even d-pads and buttons. Are we there yet. Hell no. It's even still easier to use an old-fashioned controller than it is to use the steering wheel option in Mario Kart. But it's not exactly an impossible dream. Right now, there are several forms of control that can be successfully emulated by the Wiimote. I don't think the Wiimote will carry us to the end game of motion controls but it's not like the PS3 uses a one-button digital joystick made for left-handed people.

  • Re:No, gamepads suck (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fumus ( 1258966 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @10:35AM (#28528155)
    Try playing a fighting game with a keyboard and mouse. As much as I like that combo for shooters, I cannot imagine playing a game like Devil May Cry 4 or even Prototype without a gamepad. The xbox360 one is rather clumsy and doesn't fit my hands, so maybe try some other ones if that's the only one you tried? My Thrustmaster Dual Trigger 3-in-1 is stunning compared to how the xbox one feels.
  • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @11:26AM (#28528959) Homepage

    Apparently you never played Barbarian or Obliterator (classic games for the Commodore Amiga and certain other 8-bit systems).

    They used a joystick for movement, the mouse for targeting long distance weapons and the keyboard for all other functions.

    Very well done and most importantly a lot of fun and incredibly immersive.


  • by H0NGK0NGPH00EY ( 210370 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:15PM (#28529831) Homepage

    Same thing with 2D sprite-based games. 3D comes along, and people at first thing Great! This 3D stuff is neat, now we can have 3D and 2D games. And good thing, because entire genres of games and styles of art are built around 2D graphics. There's no way people will just stop making 2D games. But the reality is that they do. After a while we only have 3D games after all, and 2D games are not taken seriously anymore.

    Gotta disagree with you on the point of 2D vs. 3D games. Just off the top of my head...

    I could go on and on, but the point is that there are still plenty of great 2D games being made in recent years. 2D games most certainly are "taken seriously" (whatever that means—I mean, we are talking about games here).

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @03:29PM (#28533377) Homepage

    which is why Sony put the stick in the opposite place, I suppose

    No, Sony put the stick there because when they made the Dual Shock for the PSX it was an add-on for a console that had already been out two years and had a huge library of games that assumed only a D-Pad. They didn't know if analog controls would take off, both from the standpoint of popularity and from the standpoint of developers supporting it. So they deliberately placed it in a sub-optimal position, leaving the D-Pad where it is so that it wouldn't hinder playing any existing games. A pretty rational choice given the context, even though with hindsight we know that analog was going to dominate practically overnight.

    However over the years Sony Fanboys and eventually Sony themselves deluded themselves into thinking that this was actually the ideal design for an analog-centric controller. So here they are two generations later still using a controller based around the D-Pad.

    Anyway, yeah, the GC d-pad sucks. So does the Z-button. The face buttons are good, except for in games like Soul Calibur where you need to hit multiple at once. Otherwise it's a good controller.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein