How The Evolution of Controllers Has Determined How Games are Made

By Keza MacDonald on at

A recent entry in the beautifully produced Game Maker's Toolkit video series by Mark Brown is an enlightening overview into how controller conventions – and innovations – have driven game design, from the early custom-made control systems of arcade cabinets to the more universalising twin-stick conventions of modern game controllers.

Bonus points for the Trauma Centre reference. I bloody loved those games.

This video will make you ponder how new control systems have enabled new ways to think about play, and how control conventions can actually hinder creative thinking in this crucial area of game design. Especially interesting is the notion of "abstract" versus "direct" control methods – eg, pressing A to swing a tennis racquet versus swinging a Wii remote to do the same thing.

For a sequel of sorts, the very latest Game Maker's Toolkit video dives into one specific game's controversial controls: Star Fox Zero. It's 14 minutes of deep analysis on how it aims to prove the Wii U's point.

Top image credit: Mark Brown