No Motion Sensors Here

When people play video games, they can really get into it. They get engrossed in the game, completely immersed in the alternate reality of the moment. They get warm. They push the buttons real hard. They get frantic with the joystick.

i like it when you push my buttonsI mean, the general mechanics of the game controller are quite simple. There's typically a button for each function -- one to shoot, one to jump, directions for turning / looking, whatever. And sometimes one of things that vibrates when you crash your racecar. But that's about it.

So I get a kick out of watching people play and expect other magical things to happen when they use the controller. Like when they're turning left around a hairpin turn, and their whole bodies lean left, their controllers are way left, and tilted almost sideways.

You know what I'm talking about. Heck, you've probably done it before too. Like when you need your superhero character to leap higher than they've ever leapt before. And with every press of that jump button, you "jump" your controller.

As if the controller could secretly feel that motion you're doing. "Jump. Like this. No, higher, you stupid controller! Like this!" Maybe it's some kind of tension measurement in the wire -- it can feel your controller cord looping and swinging or something. Either way, the magic kicks in.

left, dammit, LEFT"Oh, I see. They want to turn left. I can tell by the angle they're holding the controller at, that they want to turn a little harder. Even harder left turn?? Okay!"

And then some people take their physical involvement to the extremes -- I can't tell you how many times I've seen people turning videogame racetrack corners, only to fall over on their sides ... and still try to recover.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

what an interesting observation.....

Guilty as charged on the whole "turning left thing" LOL.

Susan

Nk said...

Did I inspire this post? :D

I'll help my character jump and turn, but they're on their own for punching and kicking. They're also on their own if they have to prone or squat (army games... Ghost Recon).

But it totally helps them jump and turn. Believe you me.

Anonymous said...

hey man. you don't make fun of michael jordan following through on his shot. what about those guys who, after releasing the ball when bowling shuffle left or right as if to will the ball in a certain direction? c'mon now ... i bet you do some of those things you imply are ridiculous.

Nk said...

Hey, don't knock the bowling telekinetic power. It works.

(And then I realised that the bumpers/gutter-guards were up; couldn't see them in the dim lighting.)

Ben said...

Faceless Anonymous, i never said I wasn't guilty of the same telekinetic powers -- just pointing out that I notice it a lot. And at least I know it's really not working.

Some people cringe when in tense situations, and their muscles tighten up. Like when you're watching a scary movie or something.

Some people are waving their controllers around half the room, hoping Viewtiful Joe will run faster / jump higher / somehow enter a magic state induced by crazy-controller-swinging-motion-and-right-finger-trigger combo move. Haha, that's funny stuff to watch. :-)

Cyrus said...

ahh...i got all nostalgic with this post. reminds me of the endless hours playing Street Fighter on SNES. i've never fallen over, but i've gone through a few layers of skin on my left thumb, and had to ice my right thumb because i thought the harder i press, the more responsive the controller....of course, it was all wasted energy.

Kevin Cheng said...

You do know that some modern controllers DO react to your turning/tilting the controller right?

Kevin Cheng said...

http://www.joy-stick.net/reviews/gamepads/freestyl.htm

Also, since buttons are now pressure sensitive, there also is the "jump HIGHER NNNGGGH (bash bash bash)" factor built in.

Ben said...

Ah, I guess it had to be done sooner or later, eh? Another dimension to gaming, very cool. I suppose this is an effort made by the controller-tilters to convert everyone else to join them! Hahaha ... interesting.