Posts Tagged ‘Nintendo’

Wario Land

Friday, September 26th, 2008

This is totally amazing — a really clever marketing campaign from Nintendo on YouTube.

You have to check it out

via AjaxBlog

Sensory Feedback

Friday, August 29th, 2008

It’s interesting how much we take for granted when it comes to the design of the objects we interact with on a daily basis.

After jailbreaking my iPhone yesterday (!!!) I installed the Nintendo original NES emulator.  Which is awesome in theory — it’s nice to see my old friends Elevator Action, Super Mario Brothers, Metroid, Rad Racer, etc. again.  But there’s a problem: the games are almost impossible to play.

NES Emulator for iPhone

NES Emulator for iPhone

When we were using the original NES controllers I, for one, took for granted the fact that you get (and need) tactile feedback when you’re playing those games.  When you’re playing Spy Hunter you’re getting contstant feedback from your left thumb — as to when you’re pushing ‘left’ vs when you’re pushing ‘up’.  On the iPhone you don’t get that feedback — it’s just a flat surface.

The designers of the emulator tried to compensate for this by giving you visual feedback (there’s a little readout that tells you explicitly when you’re pushing up vs pushing left).  But this doesn’t solve the problem becaue it’s giving you cues that are a) not in the most relevant medium (visual instead of tactile — which slows down your reaction time) and b) not in a relevant part of the screen (you’re looking where the action is — not where your fingers are.  If you’re looking at your fingers to see where they’re pushing you’re in danger of having a Metroid suck off your face).

Old School NES

Old School NES

All of this, in my ‘I took Psychology of Perception 10 years ago so I totally know what I’m talking about’ kind of way, is to say that Nintendo did something right when they made those controllers.  We needed the little raised + of the directional pad (the edges, the clear spatially mapped directions, etc) to input directional data and get the kind of relevant feedback we need to play the game.

The things we take for granted…

Maybe next time we’ll talk about Nintendo Synesthesia (although maybe Rad Racer’s pseudo-3D is as close as most of us come to that… ).