Many people dislike the Nintendo’s controllers, and many are clouded by nostalgia. But for the most part if you were playing Nintendo games you shut your mouth, learned the controller, and played. But what if these odd controllers make for more immersive games?
When you grab an Xbox One or 360 controller it feels immediately comfortable and intuitive. There is no separation between you and the game. We can draw the conclusion that it makes it easier to play games. Now think about your first time using an N64 or Gamecube controllers. It was bizarre and your friends kept beating you in Super Smash Brothers and 007 Golden Eye. It was challenging but you came to understand the controller and to enjoy the games.
Many first party Nintendo games are not about leveling up and getting new weapons but are about skill and awareness. When you get a new item it solves a puzzle and you think “Ah, so when I see that again I’ll use this.” This kind of design makes you learn the rules of the game. In the same way I think we have to learn the rules of Nintendo controllers. I think this system of learning challenges us and can be very rewarding. In some ways the controller itself is a game not just the peripheral.
I don’t think all controllers should be clunky and confusing. I love the Xbox controllers (and I have big hands so “the Brick” was never a hassle for me). Some of my favorite memories of gaming is Halo with my friends. Similarly, my mouse and keyboard have offered me great versatility is gaming and many great games (I’m just sitting down to play through Half-Life 2 and it really does a great job at in-game storytelling–future post?). However, I leave you with this question: I believe Nintendo controllers, and their game design, make games that are purely Nintendo. Do you think there are any other companies and platforms that have combined the interface with the experience to create games that are as purely them as a Nintendo game is Nintendo?