Evolution of gaming console controllers
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  • Borrowed knowledge Play Value @ onnetworks.com Peppered with my experiences
  • Mainstream gaming started with arcades History of video games predates them What are arcades? - watering holes for alternate experiences
  • 1971 first arcade game – computer space
  • Fly around shooting UFOs
  • Fail 4 buttons; too many Unnatural placement Poor coordination between action and effect Wide gulf of evaluation
  • Year later (1972) – Pong One of the most popular games of all times Still being cloned
  • Essentially oversimplified 2D tennis
  • 1 control! Instant hit Very intuitive Not alien, not computer Just another device
  • 1979 Asteroids Essentially computer space clone Just that you shoot asteroids instead of flying saucers
  • Almost exact same controls as computer space But a big hit! Why? - People were ready
  • People had developed necessary hand eye coordination learned to associate strange actions with seemingly unrelated outcomes
  • Pong interface wasn’t natural Slider vs dial But dial more familiar than slider Smaller norman gulfs And outcome immediately associatble Limited actions and outcomesa
  • Around the same time (1977) Atari 2600 comes out Took gaming to home No longer have to go to arcade
  • Single platform for 100s of games Problem with having that many games Each game can’t have custom controls
  • One controller to rule them all! Stick And Button Return to natural, physical actions Not having to relate strange actions with crazy outcomes Ubiquity of actions Extension of body
  • Lessons learned from aviation Keep it real Pilots have to react fast and instinctively/naturally WW II Spitfire
  • Up until now every game had its own controller Trackball Wheel Gun Foot pads
  • Japanese invasion 1985, NES Reinvent consoles - stand apart Reinvent controller
  • D-pad and 2 buttons Still minimalist – still zen! But actually, …
  • … they stole it! Game & Watch handhelds Donkey Kong Mario -> Super Mario Bros But gamers still skeptical
  • But very popular People got used to it quickly So popular Spawned a whole line of controllers as games got complicated Required more interactions More subtle interactions … we add more buttons On pad shoulder Way of the future Displaced joysticks Displaced Atari And then…
  • Explosion of console market Sega Genesis Sega Dreamcast Nintendo Gamecube Analog triggers- continuous functions Analog controls- return of the joystick More nuanced control In 3D worlds More than discreet up-down-left-right 360 buttons
  • Those Japs just don’t stop! PS2 (1997) 2 sticks More free movement Triggers, shoulders Best of all
  • MS Xbox Xbox 360 Wireless Sony’s answer…
  • … was nothing short of a revolution!!! DS3 wireless 6 axis accel Games that played back Dual independent force feed back Old ideas combined well Meanwhile, Nintendo has been sidelined But, finally, in 2006 the veteran samurai awakens…
  • … to usher in a new age in interaction
  • Wii and …
  • Wiimote No more translation Direct physical actions Closer to total immersion Simplicity More zen