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Friday, September 16, 2005

Revolution Rant (UPDATED)

Photos courtesy of IGN Cube

Today at the Tokyo Game Show, Nintendo finally unveiled to long-awaited controller to their upcoming console tentatively titled the Nintendo Revolution.

Yeah. It's crazy.

When you look at this, your first instinct is to laugh. That's what my instinct was. In fact, even after you hear what it does you'll keep laughing just imagining people using it. The controller, in effect, looks like a TV remote designed by Apple. The controller has all sorts of buttons on it, but that's not what anybody cares about. The big thing is the motion sensor located on the front of the object. The sensor can detect which direction you're moving the remote in, how far away from the system you are, and at what angle you're tilting it.

Like I said, imagining somebody sitting in front of a TV waving their arms around to play a video game seems ridiculous. But it's not until you see the people actually using it; when you really think about the possibilities a controller like this allows, that you stop laughing and realize the potential for greatness.

The controller has a port at one end that expands its potential a hundredfold. Any number of accompanying controllers can be designed to plug into this port. Pictured above is a joystick that will come bundled with the system. This joystick allows you to move around while using the remote-like controller for additional controls.

Imagine playing a Resident Evil-type game where you move with the joystick and shine a flashlight around a dark house with the remote. Imagine controlling Link's movements with the joystick while striking at foes with the remote. Imagine combining the two for a first-person shooter or a fighting game. The possibilities are endless.

In addition, the Nintendo Revolution comes with built-in WiFi internet connection out of the box, as well as the ability to download classic Nintendo games from the NES, SNES, and N64 eras to your Revolution. Traditional-style controllers can be designed to plug into the remote's port, so you can play them the way they were meant to be played. The Revolution is also backwards-compatible, so you can use all your GameCube games in it as well. This system boldly goes where no Nintendo console has ever gone before in terms of both internet play and backwards compatibility.

What Nintendo may have succeeded in doing is changing the face of video gaming as we know it. Perhaps I'm overexaggerating a little, but if this does catch on, this new console really could live up to its codename. What you have to remember is, Nintendo designed the modern controller with the original NES. These people know what they're doing. If I'm wrong and developers don't take advantage of this and the consumers don't buy it, this could go the way of the Virtual Boy or the Sega Dreamcast. Perhaps our culture is so deeply involved in traditional games that we will never see a "revolution," if you will, in the video game industry.

In a world where graphics reign supreme, is game innovation really important anymore? I think so, but then again, I'm a bonafide Nintendo fanboy, something that I am unashamed to admit. Nintendo makes the kind of games I want to play. Why should I get a PSP for gorgeous games that I've played a dozen times before when I can have a DS for its incredibly original game design? Why get a PS3 for its realistic graphics when I can play games an entirely different way on the Nintendo Revolution? I don't want to play the endless supply of sports and FPS games that plague the Playstation and XBox, I want things like WarioWare Touched! or Nintendogs or Donkey Konga.

Nintendo is the only company that takes risks in the video game business. They are the only people who try to break the mold of traditional video game playing. The argument could be made, "If it ain't broke, why fix it?" Sony and Microsoft have been consistently successful in the games they design so why should they take a step in a completely different direction? Maybe they shouldn't. Maybe they're smart to play it safe and just up the hardware every few years. But when there's potential to make the industry better than it is currently? To take gaming to an entirely new level? Thanks, I'll take that over Madden 2564 any day.


This is IGN's rendition of what the second announced extension to the remote might be. This combo could be used if you (a.) want to play Revolution games in a more traditional way, or (b.) want to play your Gamecube (and presumably N64, SNES, and NES) games. That is hardcore.

For continued coverage of the Revolution, as well as video of the unveiling and its possible uses, check out IGN Cube.


Blogger The Ravenous Pedestrian said...

Hey man don't be knocking Madden!


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