Think about how rumbly rumble is. Rumblier than my tumbly on a cold winter’s morning grumbling for some breakfast ham– it’s heart-healthy, you know.
To wrench myself back on topic, we’re talking about rumble, here. Now, some arcade games utilized rumble or other types of force feedback before Nintendo pioneered new ground with the Rumble Pak on the Nintendo 64, but no one had seriously attempted doing the same thing at home before.
One of the reasons the confusing N64 controller had an expansion port on its lower portion is so things could be plugged in. Now that my incredibly obvious statement is complete, let’s get to the actual point. The Rumble Pak, more than any other N64 expansion (save the actual Expansion Pak, which went into the system itself), may be the most important hardware peripheral for the system.
Also, let us not forget (NOT forget) how the expansion port has migrated to Wii itself, which is very important as it is the only way I can plug in my Super Famicom replica controllers.
Anyways, sure, there was the Expansion Pak, Jumper Pak, Controller Pak, and Transfer Pak (lot of Paks, that), but the Rumble Pak soared above the all, partially because of its compatibility with Star Fox 64. This game literally blew everyone away with its immersion, and not because of doing a barrel roll or Slippy nearly getting killed 500 times.
And Nintendo’s competitors were quick to follow. Now, I can’t think of a Saturn controller with a rumble feature, but the Dual Shock showed up pretty fast after. Then, by the next generation, every system had rumble included. If you were using a Wavebird the whole time, you might not have noticed, but let’s not forget about the wired GameCube controller and its “powerful rumble.” And even though the DS Rumble Pak didn’t turn out so well, some games still supported it.
Now, this gen, rumble is just as important as ever. Of course the Wii Remote has force feedback, and uses it quite well. I’m hoping the Super Wii will have a rumble-enabled Nunchuk, though. Now, the other guys are still ripping off the idea, though time has dulled the sting somewhat. The Xbox 360 controller has had wireless rumble the whole time, but you’ll note the PS3, which started out with completely rumble-free controllers, eventually felt the need to correct that incredibly serious mistake. BAM.
Handheld rumble doesn’t seem to be the wave of the future as 3D might. That being said, force feedback has become a indelible standard for console games the world over, with no signs of slowing. Sure, you may just turn the rumble feature “off” when you start a new game (if you’re a LAMEWAD, that is), but Nintendo started something big here, something that people may not fully understand, but a very important gameplay enhancement nonetheless.