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Chris Kennedy's picture

Custom Xbox 360 Arcade Controller

Custom 360 Arcade ControllerCustom 360 Arcade ControllerI posted this a couple of years ago on another site, but I recently found myself thinking about creating another controller. I thought I would post my work here just for kicks and encourage those of you that want to try "hardware homebrew." It is really a lot of fun.

Matt Barton's picture

Thinking about the Ultimate Controller

Although Nintendo fanboys like to act like the Wii's new remote controller is only a wee bit short of a revolution (sorry, couldn't resist), the real future seems to lie in something a bit more radical: Say, controlling a game of Space Invaders with nothing but your brain. Some clever spudboys at the Washington University of St. Louis decided that the best way to help them treat a severe case of epilepsy in a 14-year old was to hook his brain up to the game and watch what happened. In no time at all, the kid was clearing whole levels just by thinking about where he wanted the ship to move and fire--as easily as moving a hand! You've got to see this video!

Matt Barton's picture

Casual Gaming and Upcoming Classic Remakes for Wii

There's lots of interesting news in my Google Reader today. Perhaps the best place to start is an article on Gamasutra called Will 'Casual' Games Dominate the Future of the Industry?. This is a question Bill and I have been asking a lot lately on AA, and it's interesting to see how the opinions of the "professional analysts" GS pulled together compare with our own. I also have some news about upcoming Wii remakes, news of another "eye-based" controller, and more funny ads from GameSetWatch.

Matt Barton's picture

Virtual Reality Super Mario

Well, it had to happen sometime: Virtual Reality Super Mario. There's not too much to see here; just a demonstration of the unit with the game playing in the background. I'm sure the appeal of something like this just can't be captured in a YouTube--you'd have to be wearing that headset to appreciate it. Still, that doesn't look too comfortable (or intuitive) having to jerk your arm up to hit those blocks. I'm surprised they don't have him jumping on a DDR-type pad, but I suppose the logistics for that might be difficult. I think it'd be easier just to use the default NES controller, or perhaps something with dual analogs. At any rate, it's neat and definitely looks better than that clunky, Dire Straits -video type VR we're so used to seeing. YouTube below the fold.

Matt Barton's picture

More "Control Issues" and PC vs. Console Gaming

Nintendo Wii Controller: Wait until you see the foot pedals.Nintendo Wii Controller: Wait until you see the foot pedals.There's been a great deal of buzz this week about controllers, probably (methinks) inspired by Nintendo's innovations with the Wii. Retroblast has a piece up about Roberto Duran, a maker of awesome custom controllers for very serious gamers. $500 "stikz", anyone? If Duran's work is artistic and highly prized, check out this crap from Elecom. Is this supposed to be an NES-style controller for nostalgia's sake, or a gag gift for Christmas? You'd probably be better off recycling your soon-to-be-worthless dual-shocks for PC play for only $11.

Matt Barton's picture

"Out of Control": Chris Kohler's History of Wacky Controllers

Chris Kohler, author of Retrogaming Hacks and PowerUP, has a fantastic feature at 1-UP called Out of Control: The Craziest Game Controllers Ever. This article is definitely a must-visit for all retrogaming fans, particularly those with an interest in novel input devices. Where else are you going to read about Boong-Ga Boong-Ga, the Korean arcade fisting simulator? I thought I had seen some quirky controllers before, but Pom Poms? An accordion? There are also lots of comparisons here between Atari and Nintendo, as well as a look into modern arcades.

Matt Barton's picture

Games and Metaphors: Deep Thoughts by Eric-Jon Rossel Waugh

Every now and then I find a true gem on the net--more than just some tidbit about a new piece of hardware or some developer ranting about the lack of innovation in modern gaming. When I find something like Culture: Games and Metaphor, I like to slow down and really see what the author is trying to get across. Waugh's point in this essay is to get us to think about metaphors--specifically, metaphors in games and how they relate to the real world as well as the game world. He also talks about how the videogame industry has essentially been inbreeding for a few decades, rehashing and making questionable "progress" as it attempted to "revolutionize" the previous generations' hardware and games: Ever since Super Mario Bros. came out, basically all we've done is build on it. Waugh would like to see a revolution in game metaphors--rather than merely point back to earlier games, it's time to start thinking sensisbly about a new kind of metaphor, one that functions like great metaphors in books and films. Waugh uses a number of great examples to illustrate his points, including several from classics like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy.

Matt Barton's picture

The Gamer's Pad: What's your choice for optimum mousing?

XT-R Pad: The Maximum Pad for Your MouseXT-R Pad: The Maximum Pad for Your MouseI was reading this review on QPAD's XT-R "gamer's mousepad" and got to wondering about mouse pads in general. What's your preferred mousing surface? I know plenty of folks with high-end mice who seem quite content to go padless (geez, that sounds funny!), or at best the cheapest aquarium printed one they can find at Wal-Mart. Others insist on pads with gel wrist rests, whereas I own a FlexiGlow just because my wife thought it matched my Saitek gamer's keyboard. However, there does seem to be a niche market for innovative mouse pads. Some of the most popular ones are the aforementioned QPAD line, but there are also sleek models from Steel Pad and Ice Mat. Some of these pads ($40, anyone?) are as much as a mouse!

Matt Barton's picture

Fun PC Gaming Devices

XForce 3D: My b-day is coming up...XForce 3D: My b-day is coming up...Twitch Gaming has published a feature about Peculiar PC Gaming Devices that's sure to get your heart rate up this morning. There are some fantastic looking devices here that I'd dearly love to own, such as these awesome 3D glasses. I checked out the homepage and am now even more curious. Does anyone know anything about these glasses? I also liked this racing setup. I'm not really into racing games, but if I had this setup, I probably would be. There are also a couple guns here for your PC--though these look a bit silly to me--but not nearly as stupid as this scarf for portable gaming and computing devices.

Matt Barton's picture

The Power Glove Lives!

Author: Matt Barton and David Torre
Editing: Bill Loguidice
Online Layout: Matt Barton and Bill Loguidice

The history of videogame controllers is a pretty dull affair. We truly haven’t come very far since the first videogame controller—a simple device rigged up by the Spacewar! team to spare them elbow pain while playing the first videogame, which ran on a giant mainframe computer. Though many early games used paddles or trackball controllers, the winning majority of pre-NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) games favored joysticks, while the majority of post-NES games favored game pads. Modern joysticks and game pads offer various degrees of analog and digital circuitry with very precise control. Still, one wonders about the future of videogame controllers. Have we reached a plateau, or are more intriguing possibilities on the horizon? What we are concerned with here is a peculiar strain of what seems to be a very promising type of controller: An electronic glove that detects hand movements. Conceivably, such a device would allow players a stunning degree of control over their avatars.

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