Friday, September 16, 2005

Revolutionary or ridiculous?

What the…?! That's really the only response to Nintendo's new controller. Well, that or: "Wait a minute, that's a remote control. How do you play the games?"

Well, the main controller is motion sensitive. Tilt it, and your movement will be replicated on-screen. It's got the usual array of buttons on the face, and a trigger at the back. The analogue stick, called a "nunchuck" is an add-on, which should provide mouse-style movement for shooting games.

Unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show yesterday, its got to be a massive risk for Nintendo. The company famously wants to expand gaming beyond the traditional geeky boundaries -- see the stylus-controlled DS for proof. But will non-gamers be seduced by the new controller simply because it looks familiar? And will current gaming freaks give up the stunning graphics (but questionable gameplay) of the new Xbox and Playstation in favour of something new?

Certainly, peripherals like Eyetoy and Donkey Konga show that you can persuade gamers and non-gamers to get together and play if you offer them something new and innovative. Imagine using this controller as a virtual golf-club, or a conductor's baton. That’s the sort of thing that can get the entire family to gather round the TV, making Nintendo's "Revolution" a lifestyle purchase, rather than a boy's toy.

Ultimately, however, Nintendo will live or die by this console. They've already lost their predominant place in the games market to Sony and Microsoft. If no-one buys into the concepts behind the Revolution it could spell disaster for the company. Luckily, gaming magazines who've had the chance to try out the new console seem to love it. The much-respected Edge has already branded the controller "one of the most streamlined, classic and neatly designed... seen so far in videogaming."

Consider my Xbox pre-order cancelled.

Had I ever pre-ordered one.

And I didn't.

  • Nintendo official site
  • Edge online

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