Nintendo Revolution : A New Way

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posted 9/28/2005 by Sean Colleli
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First let’s take a look at simplicity in general, because that’s what Nintendo’s PR people are pushing.  Simplicity is a new trend in consumer electronics, as companies reach out to customers who aren’t part of the geek hardcore.  The Ipod is a prime example.  It’s small, sleek, and simply shaped.  It isn’t covered with buttons and dials like CD players of old.  The new controller follows the same line of thought; it looks like a remote control because that’s what the majority of people have been using for decades to control their entertainment.  Only the gamer demographic has been able to adapt to the highly complex controllers in current-gen consoles, because they cared enough to adapt.  The rest of the consumers have been left behind, and so have their wads of cash.

Shigeru Miyamoto said it best:
“We want a system that takes advantage of new technology for something that anyone, regardless of age or gender, can pick up and play.  Gameplay style that people who have never played games can pick up and not be intimidated by. We wanted a controller that somebody's mother will look at and not be afraid of.”

There you have it.  Playing the next Zelda with dear old Mom (or Dad) will finally be a possibility.  Instead of holding the Z-trigger to lock onto an enemy, positioning Link with the analog stick, and slashing his Master Sword with the B-button, all people will have to do is swing the controller LIKE a sword.  Simple as that.  Granted, some finer control might be necessary for character movement, but that’s where the other half of this new device comes into play: the Nunchuk controller.

Like the N64 controller before it, the Revolution’s controller will have a handy expansion port on the back of its slim casing.  An add-on has already been developed and will be packaged with the console.  This peripheral is a stand-alone analog stick, very similar in appearance to the central “prong” on the N64 controller.  On the back are two Z-triggers for more traditional targeting and other such functions.  However this peripheral is an option, not a necessity for playing more advanced games.  So, the newcomers will have easy pick-up-and-play control, and the veteran gamers will have their joysticks for deeper games.

Another peripheral that has not been shown yet will make traditional gaming even easier.  It is widely known that the Revolution will be a “virtual console,” with the ability to download twenty years worth of games for the NES, SNES and N64.  To make playing these classic titles possible, Nintendo designed a conventional controller “shell” that the remote-style controller fits into.  This shell has a port in the top that will accept the new style controller, but still allow for its motion-control abilities.  This opens the door for tantalizing new possibilities, such as playing some of our old favorites with the revolutionary new movement-sensing system.

Also, looking at the remote-controller, it is clear that turned sideways, it resembles an NES controller.  The D-pad at the top and smaller “a” and “b” buttons will make playing old-school Mario and Metroid a snap.  This backwards and forwards compatibility is exactly what we saw with the DS.  Sure, it has the touch screen and microphone, but it also has a D-pad, shoulder triggers and four face buttons.  Developers don’t have to use the new features, but they can do some amazing things with them if they stretch their minds a bit.  The Revolution controller will be the same story.   

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