Will controllers ever change? They suck :(

Discussion in 'PC Gaming' started by Petros, Oct 21, 2003.

  1. Petros

    Petros Thief IV

    Pacific Northwest
    I haven't played console games in a very long time, and it's only because of the terrible controls. They haven't improved much since the Atari 2600 joystick set the standard. Remember those? Up, down, left, right, and an orange button. Yes, we've added analog controls and more buttons, but it's still not far removed the vanilla design we've labored with since 1979.

    A game can be a very immersive experience, but they key to the immersion it to ensure that the player doesn’t think about the fact that they are just playing a game. People can only retain so many calculations in their short-term memory at once; the more functions that are eaten up needlessly by having your mind on controls—like trying to remember which button did what—the less functions the player can devote to what is happening in the game. When you remove those extra calculations, the game becomes something more than just a disc you picked up at the department store, and grows into something of a mental extension of the person playing it.

    Think about the games that absorbed you the most, the ones you played for days on end, those nonstop weekend binges, the games that made you forget that there was a world outside of your system. It didn’t take long to learn the controls, did it? Playing the game was a delight due to the fact that the only thing you had on your mind was the excellent story, or gut-wrenching action.

    But what is the key to great controls? Why, great controllers, of course!

    You know what I'd like to see on consoles? Keyboards! Or even half-keyboards, or maybe custom designed keypads just feel right, maybe a bendable board that can be locked into place at the user's convenience. The WASD configuration, a half spacebar (basically the left hand of the keyboard) and a five-button mouse with a tilt wheel a la the new Intellimouse Explorer would be nice.

    Alternative controllers exist, too, that utilize other movements than just fingers and thumbs, but they're too costly, and the public just won't be ready for them for a while. Will the next generation of consoles see any new designs? In my heart I hope so, but my mind perceives more shortcomings in the innovation of the major console makers.

    I would put this challenge to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo: It has been nearly twenty-five years, yet the basic premise of console controllers has failed to change. You have improved graphics, sound, and in-game options ten thousand fold or more, yet controllers remain archaic. Show some cojones in the next round! Show them to everyone; flash them all over the place. Make sure everyone can identify your cojones down to the most intricate details, because you’re making sure to keep them in player’s faces all the time. It's not like any competitors can just come in and steal your market share. If they do, you have time to adjust. If innovation in the control of games succedes, your cash crop will be bountiful for years to come, and gamers will thank you.

  2. coathanger007

    coathanger007 Tomorrow Tweaking Today

    Future = voice commands + mind control :)
  3. SPeedY_B

    SPeedY_B I may actually be insane.

    Midlands, England
    Sega Dreamcast controller.. could (and have) use it for hours on end without the slightest discomfort,