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Friday, September 16, 2005
Video Games--- Nintendo Falls Off the Deep End with its Next-Gen Controller
Is Nintendo, now more than ever, the laughing stock of the video game industry? You be the judge. Just take a look at the controller for the company's next-generation video game system (click here for a picture). That sound you hear is Sony and Microsoft laughing hysterically.
It turns out that Game Informer Magazine wasn't that far from the truth when it published a fake news story in its annual April Fool's issue earlier this year, in which the controller for Nintendo's next console just had one big button called the "DO!" button.
When a previous Nintendo flop called the Virtual Boy (may it rest in peace) was introduced as a "virtual reality" successor to the Game Boy in the mid-90's, there was clearly no one at Nintendo who stood up and said something like, "Wait a minute, isn't this going to hurt people's necks, give them headaches, and cause eye damage just from putting their heads into the system and staring at bright red laser images?" That didn't turn out too well, and now in a similar situation, there is clearly nobody at the current-day Nintendo who had the testicular fortitude to stand up and say to their bosses, "Wait a minute, isn't this going to make it extremely difficult just to play the vast majority of game genres?"
In controller-related news that is far more sensible, Sony made sure to plaster the words "Conceptual Design" all over its displays of the butt-ugly PlayStation 3 controller (click here for a picture of it) at the Tokyo Game Show. Those two words were not attached to the controller at E3 in May but have appeared a few months later at the TGS, so we can only hope that Sony is strongly considering a change from the current "boomerang" design.
Let's keep this in perspective, though. The PlayStation 3 controller, as it exists right now, is very ugly and probably a bit uncomfortable, but that's the extent of its downside. Nintendo's controller, on the other hand, is a mixture of 1) The mostly useless, gameplay-hindering novelty of the Nintendo DS handheld system, 2) The non-gaming-friendly shape and design of a tall and skinny DVD remote, and 3) A button lay-out that takes video games back to a pre-Super Nintendo level of basic functionality for the vast majority of game genres. On the other hand, I'm sure it will work wonderfully with Nintendogs, so I guess that makes it all worthwhile...
Labels: Video Games