“Con­trol sys­tems, graph­ics and even story take a back seat to playa­bil­ity”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Gamingreviews -

up a world of new play­ing styles, with more gamers us­ing their limbs in­stead of just their fin­gers. Let’s not for­get 3D gam­ing, which is just around the next corner.

Based on gam­ing ses­sions with both Move and Kinect, the con­trols are ex­cit­ing, but these tech­nolo­gies are en­tic­ing not be­cause of what they cur­rently of­fer, but what they prom­ise.

We’ve seen game con­trol sys­tems come and go be­fore, and their suc­cess is de­pen­dent as much on the con­trollers them­selves as on the ac­com­pa­ny­ing games. The Power Glove, pi­o­neered and mar­keted heav­ily by Nintendo, was a glove with con­troller ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Atari’s Track Ball (a spher­i­cal con­troller sit­ting in a cube) was good for Cen­tipede and lit­tle else.

De­spite mon­strous mar­ket­ing cam­paigns, both are con­signed to his­tory.

Even the once mighty joy­stick is mostly ab­sent from homes, while the hum­ble joy­pad is both ubiq­ui­tous and (com­pared to other gam­ing tech­nolo­gies) rel­a­tively un­changed since the 1990s.

Of­ten, in breath­less de­scrip­tions of new gam­ing tech­nolo­gies, peo­ple for­get that game­play is para­mount and ev­ery­thing else is trim­mings. Con­trol sys­tems, graph­ics, sound, act­ing, even story and moral com­plex­ity, take a back seat to playa­bil­ity. It’s the rea­son why low-fi games such as Tetris can be­come a phe­nom­e­non.

Four years ago, Wii Sports and its con­troller sys­tem helped cat­a­pult Wii ahead of its com­peti­tors. De­spite not be­ing much more pow­er­ful than Nintendo’s un­der-rated Gamecube from half a decade ago, the Wii is a strong pres­ence in house­holds across the planet. Move and Kinect are both en­tic­ing, but this writer humbly rec­om­mends that you keep a closer eye on games than con­trols re­leased in com­ing months. More than price, more than mar­ket­ing, pos­si­bly more than the con­soles them­selves, Move or Kinect will de­pend on the games.

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