There are so many reasons to be a Nintendo fan boy, not least of which is that the company has frequently delivered industry-first innovations in hardware design that are sublimely executed and quickly imitated. Perhaps the most appropriate modern-day parallel is Apple, which has taken existing technology concepts, from digital music players to tablet computers, and made them something appealing and worth copying.
Yet Nintendo’s inciting of industry admiration and imitation started back in the ’80s, with the Nintendo Entertainment System’s controller, featuring its cross-shaped control pad and two buttons on the right. This was an about face from several years of household joysticks that had you navigating with your right hand and pressing buttons with your left… and yet it worked so well. Then there were shoulder buttons, analog sticks, rumbling controllers and motion controllers. Nintendo did it first– or at least did it in a much much improved and cheaper execution than anyone before– and now these novelties are industry standards.
This week we look at Nintendo’s genius in functional hardware designs that proved so popular they were impossible not to standardize upon– and at least one instance that was a fumble before someone else made it better. For me, ruminating on these items makes me hunger even more for Nintendo’s next major hardware reveal– Wii’s successor. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has already said that the company’s next console will be surprising or else it won’t be successful. After all the home runs the company’s already executed (sure, amidst a few fouls), I can’t wait to see what the next new standard will be.
Issue 44: The Stolen Goods
Failure to Connect by Andrew Hsieh
Nintendo was online with gaming first with Satellaview– in Japan. Yet Microsoft was the one to make online console gaming relevant.
Tilt to Win by Andy Hoover
The analog stick has redefined gaming, built genres and is now mandatory for home consoles… or is it?
Nester64x: Ripped Off MY POWER GLOVE! by Nester64x
The SEGA Activator was teh SUxORZ!
Hot Air: Rumbled by Aaron Roberts
Rumbling, bumbling, and stumbling….
I herd u liek motion controls… by James Stank
Wii Remote, meet the Playstation Move.
Additional features in this issue…
- Nightly News Roundup by Andy Hoover
- Poll: The Best Current Control Pad by M. Noah Ward
- Nightly News Roundup by Robert Thompson
- Dojo-Show-Go! Episode 137 by M. Noah Ward
- Nightly News Roundup by Kevin Knezevic
- Nightly News Roundup by Nicolas Vestre
- Nightly News Roundup by M. Noah Ward
Coming Up Next Week…
Issue 45: Revenge of the Sidekicks
These bit players are every bit as important as the big name stars. It’s a week dedicated to the Toads, Midnas, and Slippys of the Nintendo world… well, maybe not the Slippys.