Nintendo Revolution : A New Way


posted 9/28/2005 by Sean Colleli
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Controversy.  Confusion.  Trepidation.  Even Anger.  All of these things have arisen since Nintendo unveiled its newest piece of technology.  Ironically, “revolution” is the term most seldom used, even though it is the codename of Nintendo’s next generation console.  It is only natural to become frightened or angry at something new, unfamiliar, unknown, and the Revolution’s controller is all three of those things.  Still, amid the chorus of “Nintendo has lost it” and “WTF?!!” I’d like to be the voice of reason.  I’m not here to build the Big N up or tear them down, I’m just looking at the possibilities.  And, chances are, if people slow down and think about it, they’ll be excited just as I am.

I will admit, the first thing I thought when I saw the thing was “Intellivision.”  Similar thoughts of “remote control,” “back massager” and “hospital buzzer” probably ran through the minds of countless other gamers.  Being a cynic at heart, I immediately crossed my arms and scoffed.  I’d expected gyroscopic tilt sensors, temperature pads, hell even holograms, but never in my wildest dreams (or nightmares) had I envisioned a remote control.  How could this thing possibly change the way we game?

After a few minutes of angered confusion, I read about the controller, and why it looked the way it did, and how it could be changed and modified in any number of creative new ways.  That’s when I got excited.  Hopefully, you’ll share my excitement when I give some explanation on how this thing will work.

 “Ok, enough preamble already!” you’re saying.  I agree.  Down to bare bones.  The Revolution controller’s big feature is motion tracking technology.  It is, in essence, a 3D mouse, or laser pointer.  Imagine the gloves from the film Minority Report, but in a rectangular shape.  That should give you the basic idea.  But that’s only half of the story. 

The Revolution’s controller looks like a TV remote for one big reason: simplicity.  Game controllers are getting more and more complex, with 15-plus buttons, dual analog sticks, multiple triggers and shoulder keys...Nintendo has said “enough.”  This new controller compresses the myriad functions of sticks and triggers into one application: basic hand movement.  Simplicity branches off into a number of other cohesive purposes, that all lead back to the main reason.  I’ll try to wrangle them all into one package that makes sense.

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