Defective Design

Since the 3DS is getting a different control scheme, should Wii U as well?

By James Stank. Posted 10/21/2011 13:00 5 Comments     ShareThis

Wii U Controller (Zelda HD inventory screen)
With the control scheme of 3DS being changed so soon after release, could Nintendo actually be having second thoughts about Wii U’s controller? It’s anyone’s guess, but if Nintendo was going to change anything about it, I hope it would change the following things.

Yes, it’s true that the touch screen can be used for extra buttons, but you’re not going to want to tap the screen for a button if you’re playing a whole game without a TV. Analog sticks have been clicking since last gen, and Nintendo seems to be the only company that doesn’t like them. Would it be so hard to have clicking circle pads? I don’t think so. If Wii U is going to be able to adequately play Xbox 360 and PS3 games, then it needs to be able to mirror their control scheme.

The placement of both circle pads, too, is rather curious. While Nintendo stuck with the “one up, one down” placement on their GameCube controller, it switched to “both down” with their Classic Controller and Classic Controller Pro, mirroring a PlayStation controller. Yet, with the Wii U controller, Nintendo is shifting for “both up,” which seems to be a terrible decision. Reaching the buttons will now be more difficult since they will be under the right circle pad. The buttons and right circle pad should be switched to make the controller more comfortable and easier to use.

Plus, I know from firsthand experience how uncomfortable the 3DS control scheme is, with the Control Pad directly beneath the circle pad. Again with Wii U, Nintendo is not indenting the buttons in any way, as with practically every controller. Instead, Nintendo is going for a more 3DS-style approach, with the buttons directly beneath the circle pads. Not only should the buttons and right circle pad be switched, but the control pad and then the lower right circle pad should be indented.

Finally, the shoulder buttons need to be analog buttons. Again, Sony and Microsoft are doing it, but not Nintendo. This is needed as many games, especially driving games, use the shoulder buttons for precision acceleration control. With both of the Classic Controllers, Nintendo has decided to use regular buttons instead of analog ones. As I said earlier, for Wii U to adequately play 360 and PS3 games, it needs to have an adequate control scheme. At this point in time, I would say that is not the case.

5 Responses to “Defective Design”

  • 150 points
    Lewis Hampson says...

    I hope they do have a redesign of sorts too James. The WiiU controller seems very similar to Vita (but with sticks above buttons) an I agree that it it looks (at best) awkward to hold. I really, truly hope they offer alternatives to this!

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  • 165 points
    Zeer0id says...

    To be honest, I’m not too concerned about the right circle pad’s placement. At worst, it might be a minor inconvenience that can be quickly adapted to. It took me a long while to get used to the fact that the DualShock controllers have both sticks placed below, so I don’t imagine it would be any worse — possibly better, even — with both above. A little time to get used to it might be all we need.

    Additionally, I can’t say I’ve ever really felt the need to have analogue shoulder buttons. In theory I can see how they might be useful, but I’ve personally never once played a game that used them effectively. Now, to be fair, returning to your example, I don’t play driving games like Forza and GT. If you’ll recall, the original Wii Classic Controller had analogue L and R buttons, but they were thrown out with the Classic Controller Pro — probably because Nintendo realized how unnecessary it was.

    Regarding clicking sticks, though… yes. I get the feeling that the only reason Nintendo isn’t doing it now is a matter of pride. They don’t like to give the “appearance” that they’re copying others; sometimes they innovate in subtle ways while still borrowing ideas, but they probably feel like adding clicking sticks now would be taking the idea wholesale from their competitors. They really need to get over that and just do it. It’s now an industry standard and games require those control inputs.

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  • 162 points
    LadyMushroom says...

    Luigi’s Mansion and Mario Sunshine made use of the analog shoulder buttons – though they weren’t super-necessary I guess.

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    • 165 points
      Zeer0id says...

      Ah, you’re right about Sunshine; forgot about that one. Still, it’s a rare example, and doesn’t contribute to the argument that the Wii U needs them to play Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games.

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  • 381 points
    Hyawatta says...

    Nintendo Wii U 3DS Controller

    There are a few upgrades that should be made to the Wii U controller before it is released and to the Nintendo 3DS for its next iteration. The Wii U controller should have a multi-touch capable screen, the ZL and ZR triggers should be analog with a click when pressed all the way down like on the Gamecube controller, and the circle pads should be clickable when you press down on them. Four Wii U controllers should be usable for simultaneous play on a single Wii U console so that games such a Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and The Legend of Zelda Four Swords can be played. For example, Pac man Vs. only needed one player to have a screen, but these two games require all four players to each have their own screen. Also, if two players are playing Madden and they are picking their plays, they should both be able to choose from the display on their respective controllers; currently, they would likely have to take turns picking their plays from the same controller.

    The Nintendo 3DS should have a second circle pad. Already, games such as Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater and Splinter Cell 3D are suffering because of the lack of a second circle pad, and they a resorting to using the buttons for camera control. The Nintendo 3DS needs a second circle pad in order to properly substitute as a Wii U controller. Games such as Battle Mii and Killer Freaks from Outer Space use both circle pads and the motion controls together at the same time as their control method. A Nintendo 3DS would not be able to replicate this in its current state. For better functionality as a Wii U controller, the Nintendo 3DS should have a wide screen, 16:9, aspect ratio for its bottom touch screen. Also, just as the Wii U controller should have clickable circle pads, ZL/ZR triggers, and a multi-touch capable screen, so should the Nintendo 3DS. For a new iteration of the Nintendo 3DS, it would be worth losing the backwards compatibility with the DS in order to have complete functionality with the Wii U through the inclusion of a second, clickable circle pad, ZL/ ZR triggers, and a widescreen, multi-touch capable bottom screen. Although it’s not as critical, I would also like to have rumble capability for the 3DS. A setting to turn it on or off would be sufficient. It should not be too much to ask for since smartphones have rumble and implement it pretty well in their games already.

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