Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Extra Consideration: Controllers

Here we go again...


Chris Cesarano said...

I actually wrote a paper for my Human-Computer Interaction class in College comparing controllers starting with the NES, and then jumping to the GameCube, PS2 and Xbox S controllers to see which was more user friendly.

Oddly enough, taking away all prior knowledge of gaming, the GameCube controller was the best for newbie players. While experienced players felt it was shaped oddly and horribly, the size and color of certain buttons would suggest to new players what sort of actions to expect. A button was huge and green, and thus would register as "confirm/affirm/positive/primary" actions. The B button was smaller and red, registering "cancel" or secondary actions. So on and so forth.

The Xbox controller was next best as its buttons were similarly color-coded, but it was still an incomprehensible mess of inputs. I was more than happy to tear apart the Playstation controller, however, whose colors and shape designations for buttons were anything but user-friendly, not to mention the D-pad.

I also find it interesting how you bring up the games being built and designed for the same audience, just growing up. Peter Molyneux stated a couple years ago that we're celebrating the same unit sales today as when he made Populous, and that's a problem. Unfortunately, the industry seems hardly interested in moving forward.

Man, reading this piece makes me just want to jump in on the e-mails.

Adam said...

I do enjoy reading these, so I hope they will continue.

I can definitely see your point about controllers and their accessibility to gamers and newbies. Some of us more seasoned gamers can have trouble as well. I began gaming with the NES and have played in each new generation since then. Despite this I suck at the majority of First Person Shooters, and the main reason is I just can't wrap my head around the console control scheme. Twitching two analog sticks and pressing multiple buttons at the same time just never clicks for me. I suppose if I sat down and practiced eventually I could become competent, but if that's what I'd have to do to start having fun I'd rather go learn piano or something if I need to put in that much effort.

Some would say I should play PC shooters then. I wouldn't disagree, except I'm just not a PC gamer. But I found that if designed right I didn't have to be shut out of First Person console games. The original Metroid Prime's control scheme came to me as easy as pie. It was by no means perfect but it was fairly simple and worked. Then I played Metroid Prime 3 and the Wii's pointer controls took it to a whole new level. It was so intuitive and fun that now I WANTED to get into fights so I can blow enemies away.

Robert said...

Wait, the last Extra consideration was supposed to be about consoles but for the sake of argument everyone became sidetracked into talking about which controller was best.

Hopefully this wont be more of the same stuff.

Ankhwatcher said...

The Gamecube controller was my favourite controller ever.

It was perfect.

Anubis Soundwave said...

@ Ankhwatcher:

Naturally. The GC controller--and most other controllers--are basically SNES controllers w/more buttons and two analog sticks.

Smashmatt202 said...

OH BOY! This is gonna be great! I'm going to read it right now!

Also, this doesn't really have anything to do with this topic, but I just felt like mentioning it sooner rather than later. Do you know about, or care about, this: