Something to Hold Onto

Innovative controllers and input devices are the key to a mass market of gaming

In “Designing New Kinds of Games for the Masses,” representatives from developers of popular music based games talked about the importance of controllers that feel natural to non-game-playing consumers.

Sony's Pauline Bozek talked about the importance of an appropriate input device for the PS2 hit Singstar. "The controller is foreign to most people. They don't understand where X is or R1. With Singstar, it was important to use a more natural device. We looked at the PS2 headset but it made people feel more like a telemarketer than a singing star. It didn't enhance the experience; it took something away. Going for the two mics was a hard sell but I am glad Sony believed in it. It would not have been where it is without that."

Rob Kay with Harmonix said the design of the guitar for Guitar Hero was as important as the gameplay mechanics. He explained that the whammy bar and tilt sensor (check) were decided upon "before we even knew what they would do in the game." He added, "We just knew they would add to the rockstar feel of the game."

Relentless' David Amor talked about the buzzers in music quiz game Buzz. "I never even wanted to ship the game with a single player mode. It's all about what happens off screen. The players reactions are what makes the game fun."