Editorial: Give Me Back My Controller!

Between the release of the Wii Motion Plus and the recent announcements from Sony and Microsoft about their camera based motion controls, I feel as if the three console makers believe that innovation means getting rid of the traditional handheld controller. This thought was spurned on the other day, when I opened my web browser only to see a headline that basically stated that controllers were obsolete relics of a Neolithic video game world. Well I am here to proudly say that the only way they are taking my controller from me is if they pry it from my cold, dead hands!

Billy Blanks says "Touch the controller; Get the PAIN!"

Billy Blanks says "Touch the controller; Get the PAIN!"

There are many illusions that exist about motion controls but I want to focus on the idea that motion controls increase the level of immersion that a player experiences during a game. I have heard time and again from motion control proponents that their preferred control system makes the game seem so much more real. Maybe it’s just me, but when a game requires me to start shaking the Wiimote around like I’m trying to invent a new form of interpretive dance, the last word I would use to describe myself would be immersed.

“But Wait! Wait until Natal! Wait until Sony releases their camera controller! Then the immersion will really kick in!” says the motion control crowd. I, however, think that this will make it even worse. At least with the Wii there is a certain expectation that you will look like a moron at times while playing it but that is part of the fun. With both Natal and Sony’s device, all you are is a jerk flailing around in front of the TV like you’re trying to keep up with a Billy Blanks TaeBo workout video.

The only good part about this push for a future void of controllers is the money we will all be able to save by not having to buy a bunch of different types of peripherals for our games. I can just see it now: Guitar Hero 7: Air Guitar. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have officially come full circle.


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