the gamepad continuum


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Talk at Playful10 about game controller evolution

Published in: Design

the gamepad continuum

  1. 1. the gamepad continuum nicolas nova & laurent bolli playful10 - Sep. 24, 2010 hi, i am going to talk about game controllers... more specifcally, about game pads like this one. Beware, this is PURELY NERDISH
  2. 2. Being interested in interaction design and HCI... it’s been a long time that we keep track of video game controllers evolution (from Nikola Tesla’s patent of the remote control)... at first we wanted to make a collection of every controllers....
  3. 3. ... but in the end we focused on gamepads/joypads...
  4. 4. let’s rewind a little bit, it started in flea markets in Europe and Asia
  5. 5. we bought them, brought them back to the office...
  6. 6. ...doing it properly... documenting the artifacts...
  7. 7. vectorization of artifacts... sketching diagrams... what if we made a book?... this will be released in a booklet/iPad app pretty soon
  8. 8. what if we made a game? OK, we’re going to start off with a game... this is supposed to be a Memory game in which you have to match different cards... but it’s too hard to play with Keynote, so... who recognizes the different joypad?
  9. 9. Sega Genesis
  10. 10. Microsoft X-Box
  11. 11. Nintendo Gamecube
  12. 12. Atari Jaguar
  13. 13. Apple Pippin
  14. 14. Gravis then Philips CDI
  15. 15. Since we don’t have much time, I will just focus on the history of the direction-pad
  16. 16. It all started in the subway in Japan when a guy took some inspiration from people who played with their pocket calculator
  17. 17. This guy was called Gunpei Yokoi and he worked at a company called Nintendo... he convinced his boss to develop small game platform using LCD technology (from Sharp)
  18. 18. April 28, 1980 this is where things started
  19. 19. But at some point the CEO of Nintendo wanted more action in the game... he wanted players to do two things are the same time... like moving around and throwing stuff or jumping... which is why Gunpei Yokoi’s team had to thought about interfaces to do this.... they even tried with a mini-joystick or a sort of weird nipple thing...
  20. 20. this is the patent from the solution they came up with... the birth of the direction pad. As you can see, it’s located on the right... but it moved to the left because this is where arcade joystick are located.
  21. 21. 1982: and it lead to this Game and Watch platform
  22. 22. And it remained a direction cross... from the Famicom to the Nintendo Wii, or the Nintendo 3DS
  23. 23. It’s so pervasive that it’s even used as a logo for pharmacies
  24. 24. As usual with evolution, there are always traces from the past and extreme use of a technical solution
  25. 25. The return of the joystick... because of the need to move character more freely in the 3 space directions... with Mario 64
  26. 26. PADS SHAPE EVOLUTION 1994 1996 1998 1987 1988 1990 1991 1993 1994 1995 2001 2005 1986 2001 1990 1983 1983 2003 1986 1991 1995 1997 1998 2000 2005/6 2010 1983 1985 1990 1993 1995 1996 1998 2001 2006 2006 We mapped the evolution and the different types of direction pad on genealogy trees like this (currently being modified to take some variations into account). Nintendo was pretty liberal about the use of its patent... hence a big variety of direction pad designs
  27. 27. We also draw this kind of diagram to map the adaptation of the d-pad from one controller to another.
  28. 28. We are also interested in shapes...
  29. 29. GAME PADS SHAPE EVOLUTION brick mask 1991 1990 the original brick shape 2006 is deformated 1990 1995 1987 1994 1986 1994 1993 the “boomerang” shape leads to prongs affirmation 1985 1993 new geometric shapes 1998 1996 are added to the original brick to form bone-like pad 1983 1988 1983 2 prongs dog-bone 1982 1993 1990 1990 1995 1995 1997 1998 2001 2001 2000 2005 2005/6 1990 1993 the pads become full 3D shaped ergonomics objects 1994 1996 2006 the pads face becomes bigger and the prongs are 1998 integrated in the shape 2010 2001 1 prong 3 prongs round (remote) the brick is rotated 90° 2003 and becomes a one prongs pad, or remote controller and their evolution over time... we developed a typology of game pad shapes
  30. 30. With which we can play Rorschach inkblot test :)
  31. 31. Another Rorschach inkblot test with gamepad images
  32. 32. some hypotheses we are exploring: - controller hardware generally driven by different factors: video game design at Nintendo (d-pad/donkey kong, return of joysticks/Mario 64 in 3D), hardware possibilities at Sony - despite Kinect joypad still around, even the Wii and Sony Move feature gamepad elements, why is that?
  33. 33. Thanks! & @nicolasnova & @lobollo