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Comic for: September 16th, 2005
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Gaming News: "Revolution-ary"
Posted: Friday September 16th, 2005 by

I appreciate that Nintendo likes to think outside the box. And I find it wholely admirable that they want to revolutionize, or at the very least get us to reconsider, the way we play games.

But, I've been playing with Nintendo products for a long time now. And I have seen plenty of Nintendo peripherals come out that were supposed to "change" the way we game. Thus far, non of them have lived up to the hype.

In 1985 Nintendo released the R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy). Granted the robot boosted North American sales of the Nintendo gaming consoles. But this thing was your buddy about as much as a rubber vomit is. It was a novelty. Best part is, support for the R.O.B. was already dead in Japan when it was released in the states.

In 1989 the Powerglove was supposed to let us interact with games in something resembling a 3D fashion. We were told we'd be able to punch out Mike Tyson by actually moving our newly gloved hands. What we got was nothing more than a specialty controller that didn't live up to the hype. You tricked to us 80's cheesy gaming movie "The Wizard". You told us the Powerglove was "bad" and at the time we were using the opposite meanings of our adjectives... so we actually thought you meant "good". I guess we should have taken your proclamation at face value. Ahh to be young and illiterate again.

In 1995 Nintendo sold us eye strain in a box and called it "the VirtualBoy". This thing capitalized on our dreams of virtual reality gaming. But all it really delivereded was bright red games, broken depth perception, and "oh my god I've got to lay down"-level headaches.

And now, we've been promised a "Revolution" but given a remote control with an analog stick on a tether? Forgive me if I sound a little skeptical.

Gamespot has a writeup of the Revolution-ary controller from the floor of the Tokyo Game Show. And everything I read, though interesting and, on some levels, appealing is tempered by the idea that the demoers had to be standing in a very specific spot in relation to the TV/game unit. Maybe I'm getting old, but haven't controllers gotten complex enough without us having to worry about where the controller is in relational space?

I'll wrap this thing up, and climb down off my soap box by assuring you guys that, if you dig this controller... cool! There's nothing wrong with that; more power to you. But, at the same time, I'd like to remind you of the rich history of Nintendo's "cutting-edge" peripherals. They were gimmicks; ineffective, broken, and little else.

So, when this thing hits the shelves, I emplore you... try it before you buy it and filter out the blathering of the sales person hovering over your shoulder. Don't be sold by the games that you demo on; the cartridges that came with R.O.B and the Powerglove did actually manage convince us that the technology worked. There's nothing wrong with being a die hard fan. But, there's nothing wrong with being a skeptic either.

I give these controllers about 3 months after release before gamers start issuing demands for a more reasonable, commonplace, overly-complex but ultimately more useful... 18 hundred button controller.

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