Posted: 16 Sep 2005
Yeah, OK, my pun is very similar to the one on the nintendo.com article's title. Sue me. Actually, in light of the current events between Apple and bloggers, strike that last remark from the record.
Nintendo has released long-awaited pictures of the Revolution's controller. If you read this site or know me at all, you probably know I'm a big Nintendo fanboy. As such, what I'm about to say may come as a shock. What the fuck? I'm just not sure I see it. Believe me, I want to be excited about anything Nintendo puts out, but I feel like my parents just wandered away from me in a crowded shopping mall, and I'm left clutching my ratty stuffed dog and looking around bewildered, trying not to panic. My lower lip is starting to tremble, though.
A quick aside: I bought a DS the day it came out; in doing so I sacrificed time that could've been spent cooking an early Thanksgiving dinner for my SO's parents, but I got one. In the parking lot I tore it out of the box, discarded the manual, and powered it up, hitting PictoChat to find people in my area with whom I could wirelessly communicate and, perhaps, draw pictures of anthropomorphic genitals or somesuch. What did I find? Not a soul. Surely there must be someone in or near the Everett Target parking lot who had just done the same I had. Confused, I flipped through the manual and, later, more carefully read some docs online. The range is upwards of 100', on a clear day, when you can clearly see the person without x-ray vision? What? Normally 30'? Whatever, Nintendo. I had a similar experience when I popped in the new Wario Ware game for the DS and found a glaring lack of multiplayer mode. Surely this is precisely the app for that; I don't care if I have to sit next to the person. Yes, I know, they've since announced WiFi coming this fall, and that Metroid Prime Hunters and Maro Kart DS will by WiFi-enabled out of the box. Does it even need to be said, a full year after the system's launch, that they had damn well better be?
OK, so back to the Revolution and its controller. As you can see from the pics here (lifted from nintendo.com, where there are a few more), at first glance it looks like a remote control for a TV or DVD player. My first impressions? I don't get it. Actually, the immediate thought I had was "man, that's going to become tiresome for your dominant hand," though I suppose that's primarily for when you're playing a game that doesn't use that analog stick attachment. When will I want to play a game without the analog stick attachment, Nintendo? I have no idea. Please show me.
I will take the time to point out that it's supposedly synched up so that motion from the controller will coordinate with motion in the game, a la the Wario Ware Twisted! idea where the game pack has a motion sensor embedded in it. I can't even begin to imagine how that'll become critical to performance, though. That, however, has my benefit of the doubt until I see it in action.
I was skeptical about the N64 controller. I saw it and almost laughed. "What the hell? When will I need so many friggin' buttons? And what's this bizarre trigger button underneath?" Of course, I came to love it after twenty minutes. Who can forget when the Gamecube controller was released? "Jesus, it looks like something recovered from an alien spacecraft" and "Why the hell does it have to look like that?" "Why is my beloved Z button stuck over here as an afterthought?" And so on. Of course, I took to it after twenty minutes and now can't imagine anything else.
I really can't imagine anything else, though. Maybe I just need to see it in action. Maybe I need to see how the controls map to, say, a Madden game or the next Metroid Prime game. The fact remains that I've been playing video games with a two-handed, single-piece controller for over twenty years. Something, with the exception of the Atari 2600, 5200, and 7800 (and don't get me wrong, I was not a fan of the 5200/7800 controllers, though that may have been shoddiness more than anything), that was more wide than deep. Something that made you feel like you were controlling the on-screen events through a series of thumb (and, later, index finger) movements.
I guess I just don't know how this thing is going to work.
Nintendo, I love you, but don't you fuck with me. Again.