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