Miyamoto Also Wanted Motion Control In A Nintendo DS

Illustration for article titled Miyamoto Also Wanted Motion Control In A Nintendo DS

Earlier today, we reported that Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata told a Japanese newspaper that a motion sensor in the successor to the DS would be "necessary." That reminded me of something Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto told me in 2004.

Just days before the official start of the E3 gaming trade show that year, Nintendo's chief game designer provided me a private demonstration of the then unreleased Nintendo DS. He introduced me to the system's dual screens, touch screen and microphone. And he told me the feature that Nintendo omitted.

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As I wrote in The New York Times back then:

To keep costs down, Mr. Miyamoto said, some features were left out of the DS. Maybe next time, he said, he will be able to include a tilt sensor for gyroscopic control. For now, he is focused on double screens.

Nintendo had experimented with tilt controls previously, including a motion sensor in the cartridge for the Game Boy's 2000 game Kirby Tilt 'N Tumble. In 2004 Nintendo would release Wario Ware Twisted, a Game Boy Advance game with a cartridge containing a rotation sensor.

Iwata told the Asahi Shinbun this week that a DS successor would need motion detection: "[It will have] highly detailed graphics, and it will be necessary to have a sensor with the ability to read the movements of people playing."

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Current Sony and Nintendo handhelds do not detect motion. The Apple iPhone does.

Just as some other long-discussed Nintendo projects such as Miis have come to fruition in recent years, now it seems that a motion-controlled Nintendo handheld may be upon us.

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Kotaku has requested clarification on plans for a new motion-sensitive handheld and will update you if we find out more.

[PIC: Cropped photo of the DS, as it looked when it debuted at E3 2004 via Wired... The DS was redesigned prior to release]

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DISCUSSION

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WhiteMåge is in fact a boy, damnit

I overreacted last night when it was posted that Iwata said the DS Successor would definitely have something to detect motion. Gyroscopic didn't click.

While still more sensible than whatever I was thinking, it's still...unecessary. Why can't they just focus on the gaming experience?

I am a big subscriber to the idea that motion controls do not immerse you into a game. If anything, they destroy the immersion. The feeling of smoothness is lost, the direct simple connection between your mind and your actions on screen feels lost, and it's just not all that immersive.

Tilting controls are nice for some games- but it's very, very few. A microphone was the same with the DS. Hell, this applies to touch controls, too.

But what happened with the DS? Nintendo decided "Two screens, one touch" and of course, every single game they put out relied ont his concept. Zelda PH did not need touch controls. It did not. They ruined it for me, as the way I hold the stylus doesn't allow for easy viewing of the bottom screen while doing some things, as well as because I just couldn't stop wondering- "Why do I have to do this to move instead of just pressing the buttons?"

The mic and touch screen controls were shoehorned into lots of games. They had to be. Nintendo would look like idiots making a console based around some new control scheme and not applying it to everything they could.

And that is what I predict here. This thing will come out, it will have tilt controls, and every single game will have them thrown in. Be it for mandatory mid-game minigames or for the game as a whole, it will be there.

And it will be unresponsive. It will be difficult to manage in certain lighting conditions. And it will further push nintendo handhelds in a direction that makes it impossible to play anywhere but in the home, where you won't look like an idiot and where you can assure yourself that lighting won't be a problem.

I'm not looking forward to it. I would look forward to nothing more than a new, high-quality, powerful nintendo handheld. But telling us it will definitely have movement controls? That is like stabbing the idea in the back and slicing it down the spine, to me. It makes me go from imagining a handheld windwaker port to imagining a top-down zelda where Link's legs have been transformed into a beach ball. It's not a promising idea, mostly because, like I said, Nintendo will undoubtedly be shoehorning the concept into everything they put on the thing.

Just like with the DS.

Just like with the Wii.