Interface makes quite the difference

So I have gotten a Playstation3, I also have PS2, PS1, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo GameBoy, Windows, and Mac. So to so I have various gaming environments. So there have been some games that are available on multiple platforms and I have had a chance to try a few of them. On the PS2 I enjoy playing the SSX series of games. It is an EA Sports game and fairly fun. So when I saw it available at a reasonable price for the Nintendo Wii I figured I would try SSX Blur.

I was surprised at how different it was compared to the other versions. I realize that part of it is the change in the controller interface. The programmers I think were trying to use the advanced control options of having the accelerometers control the trick interface. For instance rather than use the controller as an analog for the board alignment, rather one has to shake the controller in a pattern to pull a trick. However it is not intuitive.To do a trick, one draws a heart with both controllers; there is one for each hand.A completely different experience than pressing square while using the D-Pad.

There are times that the accelerometers do work wonders, most often when used as an analog for another control. For example I downloaded a demo for the Playstation3 of a golf game. It was abysmal compared to the Wii Sports Golf where one uses the Wii Controller as a golf club. So it proves that it is not the controller that is flawed, but rather the application of the interface and technology.

I also downloaded a demonstration version of Civilization for the PS3. I really enjoy playing it on the computers (both Mac and PC), so I figured it could be cool on the PS3. However I was surprised at how different the experience was between using the computer screen and mouse and using the video game interface and the screen resolution. It was just not as familiar and intuitive to me. Perhaps it was the fact that I am used to something else.

I think it just goes to prove that the interface has to be adjusted to the environment that it is being used within. So the interface for a video game that one has to look at a large area, such as Civilization, having more control over the view is the key. The use of a controller for a sports game, the control use should be analogous to the way the object on screen is moving. This has not always been the case, such as why does pressing the “X” button cause the object to jump, that dissociation is easier to compensate for than drawing a heart in space makes the object flip upside down.

After all that, all that I have to say is don’t assume that the experience will always be the same as the human interface changes.

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