Revolution Controller: Touch It

Source: IGN

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IGN Staff said:
December 7, 2005 - In a videogame industry focused on the latest and greatest graphics, Nintendo's new console is something of an enigma. Revolution represents a bold new direction for the company. The device does not have the horsepower of competing platforms. Rather, the Big N has focused its energy and resources on creating a unique new input mechanic -- a controller -- that could very well change the way people play games. It is the Revolution's controller and not the console that is the most important ingredient to Nintendo's next-generation success. And that is an industry first.

The Revolution's officially nicknamed "free-hand style" controller has been designed to look like a stylish television remote so that it is immediately attractive to non-gamers. The Big N hopes that people normally put off by conventional videogame controllers will in contrast find the Revolution's pointer unthreatening and intuitive.

The peripheral communicates wirelessly using Bluetooth technology with a motion sensor bar placed on or near a television to provide gamers with full control freedom within a virtual 3D box. The controller interprets movements in the X, Y and Z axes, which means that it reads and translates horizontal and vertical motion, as well as depth. It, in essence, becomes an extension of the player, reading their movements and applying them to any given game situation. For example, thrusting the controller forward might cause legendary hero Link to do the same with his sword in a new Revolution Zelda title. Or, the peripheral could stand in for a mouse on a computer, effectively providing unparalleled precision aiming in a first-person shooter. The applications are practically limitless.

Get up close and personal with the Revolution's free-hand-style pointer. Simply use your mouse to manipulate the 3D controller in the window below.

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The Revolution controller can power the system on or off via a button located in its left-hand corner. A D-Pad directly beneath it can be used for a variety of menu navigation or gameplay functions. It might, for instance, enable players to switch between weapons in Metroid Prime 3. Directly below is the device's primary action key, the A button. Select and start keys located in the middle of the pointer are self explanatory. However, a "home" button between them has yet to be fully explained by Nintendo. It is possible that pressing this button will bring up Revolution's dashboard, where gamers may be able to connect online and download demos, among other things. X and Y buttons round out the face of the peripheral and will likely provide additional action functionality. The remote can likely be rotated on its side to simulate a NES controller, where X and Y will be more intuitively placed and in turn useful. On the underbelly of the controller is a single button, which is the B trigger. This key will be just as, if not more important than the A button during gameplay and menu navigation. For example, gamers could point to a creature in a "god game," and pick them up simply by pressing and holding the B trigger.

The device has a slot underneath to store batteries. Nintendo has not specified whether it will use standard or rechargeable batteries, but the latter is much more likely, particularly since the free-hand-style pointer rumbles and will also power any add-ons, such as Nintendo's officially announced "nunchuck unit." A slot located at the bottom of the peripheral allows extensions to be added to the controller. The nunchuck unit is merely an analog stick with two triggers. Simple yes, but coupled with the free-hand-style unit, it is poised to transform the way first-person shooters are played on consoles. Further additions are planned. For instance, company executives have said that they would like to make a bongo-style add-on for some music games. Meanwhile, the pointer can slide snugly into a more traditional controller shell modeled to look like a Wave Bird, which means that playing conventional games will not be difficult.

There is a secret about the pointer, according to Nintendo producer Shigeru Miyamoto, but said feature will remain a mystery until some time next year. Some have speculated that it also includes a microphone option, which seems not only possible, but probable given Nintendo's affinity for mic-enhanced software. But we believe there will be more to it than that.

Nintendo has previewed the free-hand-style pointer in five colors, including white, black, silver, red and green. As a result, all of these colors are selectable in our in our 3D model. Readers should note, however, that black and white are the two most popular color choices and as a result Nintendo will likely ship Revolution in one or both of these colors, initially ignoring the others.