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Shadowstew avatar 2:32 PM on 07.25.2011  (server time)
Motion Control: It Was Always Here

Let's point the obvious here: motion control is here to stay. Considering it played a vital role in this video game generation and has continue to make money, it's not really surprising. However, there are a huge number of detractors who refuses to celebrate this type of gaming. People who refuse to acknowledge that motion control games can be enjoyable as their "superior" traditional video games. It is understandable if someone like non-motion controlled games more in their opinion. But, it is pretty disappointing to find that some gamers want motion controlled gaming to disappear. They state that motion control is harming our industry. They state reasons such as motion control games are shovelware, casual gaming sucks, game developers are wasting their time with it, etc. The main issue here is people do not realize that motion control has always been a part of video games.

Brief History in Motion Control

Light Guns!

Le Stick!


Sega Activator!

Rhythm gaming!

Motion Control Arcade Cabinets!

Motion Control Cartridges!


The Average Video Game Controller!

Wait... WHAT? Here in lies why I don't understand all the hate for motion control. My crazy idea is that a traditional controller is not all that different from a motion controller. Why? Can anyone give an exact definition of a motion controller? It's apparent that there's no exact shape or form of a motion controller since it can look like anything. There's no specific body part that a motion controller have to sense since some controllers sense legs, arms, or the whole human body. Most gamers would agree that a motion controller is vaguely described as a "non-traditional way to interact with games where the player uses specific body motions."

That definition is too general. The only thing that separates a non-motion controller and a motion controller is the idea that traditional controllers should look like this.

Anyone see an issue here? Well all these "traditional" controllers are different from each other. Some have more buttons. Some have less joysticks. Clearly, they are all different. (Obviously, due to different manufacturers). Nevertheless, they are considered "normal" compared to motion controller.

The problem with declaring these controllers are "traditional" is similar to finding a clear definition of a motion controller. There is no clear mindset of what a video game controller should look like. People cannot say that traditional controllers should have dual joysticks because dual joysticks recently became popular last generation. The same with shoulder/trigger buttons. The same with deciding how many buttons a controller should have or what shape it should look like. The only thing that all gamers agree that a controller should do is it needs to help them interact with whatever is on the screen.

Look at the video game Pong. The controller for this game is basically a dial which is called the "paddle" Reminds anyone of anything? Yes, it is a metaphor for a ping pong paddle. But, there's more to that. Players uses their wrist when using the paddle in Pong to control their hits. The same way a ping pong player uses their wrists to control their hits. Does that make the Pong paddle a motion controller? The same idea could be applied to joystick. It makes sense to use it to control a plane.

Or even a professional wrestler.

Or even a skateboard. (Probably not)

The idea here is emulation. Emulation is an essential idea in video games. As previously stated, a controller should help users interact with whatever is on the screen. This goes along with the concept of human-computer interaction. Basically, the video game controller needs to be receptive to whatever the gamer wants. The main goal of the video game controller is to seamlessly make players become engulfed in a virtual world. The more a controller satisfy this need, the more gamers become satisfied.
This is what motion control improves upon.

It's common for users to mimic real world actions on a motion controller. As primitive this idea may be, it works. Motion control helps increase usability in video games by making it easier to understand how to interact with the game. This may sound unusual, but the general public did not know how a video game controller works.

Common idea what the mainstream sees when people play games

That is until motion controlled gaming happened. Motion controllers exploit this idea. Yes, motion control had played a role increasing casual gaming audience. Yes, video game developers are still experimenting in motion control because it makes money. Yes, some developers make crappy games to cash in on this craze. But, a huge number of gamers are happy with simple motion controls for their video games. Just think for every unhappy "hardcore" gamer who despises motion control, there's a huge group of "casual" gamers who are happy that they can enjoy a video game. Motion controls had made tons of people satisfied.

As the video game industry evolves, so does the concept of emulation. While graphics become more and more realistic, the next logical step on improving emulation is how real the controls can be. Motion controls plays a key role in improving emulation. It is not an exact solution. It will not replace the so-called "traditional" controller. However, it will become a norm that a "traditional" controller meets. Since motion control is appearing in more video games, it will not be surprising that one day motion control will become a traditional aspect of video games. It should be considering the industry been playing with this idea since video games were created. People need to accept that motion controls will always be a part of video games.

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