Of Katamaris and Revolutions

I came across a link this morning (via Ars) to a forum where Chris Kohler of Wired News does an impromptu Q&A on his exeprience with the Revolution controller at TGS.

Kohler echoes some of the same sentiments that I had when I first read about this.

“The Revolution controller, much like the DS touch screen, takes away a barrier between people and machines. People loved to post that Minority Report screen as a joke, but that’s pretty damn close to at least the thought pattern behind the controller — you just reach out with your hand and start manipulating things on-screen.

For some people, a DualShock controller is just that sort of extension of their person. But it takes a lot — some would say a lifetime — of practice to get there.”

There are some memorable posts in this thread; this one being perhaps one of the top 10 funniest I’ve read all year:

“Let me say this again.

I took the controller and pointed it at the screen. This moved a cursor around wherever I pointed my hand.


Nintendo could have engineered a little tiny hamster that runs inside a ball that tilts around when you spin the thing, for all I know. When you press the A button he gets an electric shock and pees.”

I also like this one from Ars:

“A friend of mine told me a few years ago that he didn’t expect video games to get any better in the future. Everything’s been done, and only the graphics improve now. I told him then that the reason for this was the level of precision in control. You simply cannot control a ninja with 10 buttons and feel like you’re *really* a ninja.

The revolution controller, if it is precise and fast, provides a quantum leap in the level of control you can have over games. In my book, Nintendo will win the next-gen console wars, because the Revolution is the only next-gen console being made.”

On a related note, I just got my copy of We (Love) Katamari last night (via the bestest wife in the whole wide world) and I can’t help but think how awesome this type of controller would be with a game like Katamari. When my wife first started playing it, it was quite humorous watching her shift her whole body around as if it would help her roll the Katamari in a different direction.

While the game doesn’t break any new ground like it’s predecessor, it is, nonetheless, a cute, quirky, and entertaining game.

I only have a few gripes about this version:

  • The new soundtrack isn’t as solid as the one from the first. It seems more electronic…not really my style.
  • There are now, somewhat craftily disguised, loading screens during the middle of a level as a new area is opened up. This was somewhat annoying as this was non-existent in the first version.
  • The “storyline” isn’t quite as quirky and WTF-inducing as the first one. Although it’s cute that you bump into some of the characters from the first one once in a while.
  • Royal Rainbow is not nearly as badass as the original.

On the plus side:

  • You can now select your background music for each level, which is cool.
  • I haven’t tried, but I think you can play as any of the cousins.
  • You can accessorize the Prince with multiple presents now.
  • There’s tons more new stuff to pick up and new environments.
  • The gameplay mechanics are improved slightly, especially the camera.

For $30, it’s not a bad pickup. The original gets a 9.5/10. This one gets an 8/10. This one just doesn’t quite floor you like the first one did, but it’s still a fun and enjoyable way to kick back and unwind at the end of the day.

Katamari only serves to reinforce the point that games need not be graphically/visually extravagent or realistic to be enjoyable. In fact, part of the charm of Katamari is the quirky, colorful, blocky character design. To this end, I think Nintendo has chosen the right path. Of course, the Revolution will offer superior graphics to say Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube, but the point is that this won’t be it’s only selling point.

You may also like...