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Where do Wii Start? D-pad replaces Joystick.

That's funny, get it.  Well, Wii start with Nintendo, why, because of the NES.  The original NES controller was the first game controller that made a multi-button game pad make real sense.  Sure, it had the pause button, an a and b if I recall correctly, but more importantly, the joystick replacing D-pad, sweet!  The D-pad is that little plus sign looking thing on the NES controller that allowed you to controll the direction of your player by using your thumb instead of holding a joystick in your hand.  It was ingenious, because with a joystick (like the one on an Atari 2600) the player would need to use his entire left of right hand manipulating the player, which would leave very limited use of that hand for any button controll whatsoever.  Yeah, I know, the NES contoller didn't have any buttons on the D-pad side, but, it paved the way for them to exist at least.  There were some joysticks out there that had multi button capabiltiy, but the problem was, you had to stick the controller to a flat surface like a desk or something to even use them (remember the little suction cups on the bottom of the Atari 2600 joystick, who ever used those?).  

Touche, 2 joysticks replace D-pad

It's ironic that the D-pad gets replaced by two joysticks.  Difference is, they're not called joysticks anymore, they're called thumbsticks.  The thumbsticks sit on the left and right side of your modern day console controller and made they're first popular debut on the Playstation controller.  This setup, although not utilized to it's fullest on the original PS1 would lay the foundation for the integration of them into more sophisticated gameplay, and ultimately to their use in the revolutionary twin stick controlls you see on tons of todays hits.  My personal favorite, NHL 2009 by EA Sports.  But tons of games take advantage of this setup, and if you play any first person shooters, you already know what I mean.  So the PS1 controllers gotta rank up there.

 

Commadore 64 and early PC games joystick.

 

This is old school, but I'll throw it in there.  Some of you younger gamers are probably like,, dude, what?  Anyway, you had to use the Commadore one to understand (the early Radio Shack contollers were similar).  Basically it was a joystick with a base like the 2600 joystick, but the stick was a steel rod with a little plastic knob on the end and it didn't return back to it's original postition when you let it go.  So basically it was like playing with a wet noodle attached to a lead base with a little rectagular fire button somewhere on the side.  Perfect!  Click on the paragraph title or here to go to the wooden joystick link, daaaannnnggg.  How sweet is that?

 

Full circle.

 

That brings me full circle to the Wii.  The Wii controller(s) makes the list, because like the ones mentioned above they are groundbreakers and pioneers of what's to come, basically the next step in the evolution of game controllers.  Pretty soon, you'll be able to head down to your local GameStop and they'll have a certified nuero-surgeon on hand to tap right into your brain stem.  Then all you have to do is plug your head into your consol.  Bingo, no more worrying about sweaty controller paws or burning out your plasma screen!!  Awesome!!!

 

Until then, keep your hands off your pants and on your controller.

 


Atari 2600, the beginning 

What the!?  Slam, Atari 2600 controller goes flying across the room.  Then it's off to find a screwdriver to take the thing apart, again, and clean the contacts, especially on the lone "Little Red Fire Button".  If you know anything about old school Atari games, you know that that red button got pounded on more than,,, well, let's just say ALOT!  I don't know about you, but the thing always seemed to hit the picket lines when I was playing Moon Patrol, Dig Dug, or Star Wars (the Empire Strikes Back). 

 

Cool kid on the block

Right in the middle of jumping a crater, facing a flame throwing Fygar (the little green dragon dudes), or trying to get my snowspeeder to hit the little flashing square (said to be an open bomb hatch, put a round here, and you destroy the Walker in one shot) on a Walker.  I don't remember how old I was at the time I would beg my mom to go to the kids apartment that had a 2600, I just remember that that guy was the most popular dude on the block.  Kids would offer him all sorts of perks for some game time, anything from straight out sweaty stinky wet nickels, dimes, and quarters, to cold hard Hot Wheels and Go-Bots (we all knew the value of Transformers back then, come on man, what kind of fool would offer up a Transformer to play an Atari?).  I remember playing Pac-Man so much, I'd wake up in the middle of the night to the sounds of the beginning of the game, it was something like,,, doo-nah-ooh-naah.  Who can forget Combat on the 2600, it was like, so many options and layouts, it was crazy and seemed realistic at the time.  

 

Gaming is big time

So now your probably asking yourself, what's the point here?  Video games have been the focus of millions and millions around the world, from the average citizen to being a key issue of political campaigns and government.  So where's the harm?  Looking back on my experiences being a Gamer, starting with the 2600, there are tons of valuable abilities gained.  Gaming isn't a passive event, like watching a movie, it's an active mental and physical challenge.  It requires analytical thinking, strategy, pattern recognition, and bartering skills for those unfortunate enough to not have a machine (these guys sometimes turn out to be very successful in business, having aquired negotion skills at such an early age).  However, that's not the real purpose of this first little blog here, the real purpose is to introduce myself, let you know where I'm coming from.  I have a long history of Gaming, we're talking grass roots (from a consumer's POV, I'm not a programmer, although, I did make a few games in the Basic programming language on my Commadore 64).  This doesn't mean I pretend to know all there is about gaming, or that I'm an authority at all on gaming, because I believe I share a similar background in gaming to a TON of people out there. Gaming transcends alot of things. 

 

My Atari 2600 may be your X-box 360 or PS3

To read or participate in this blog, you don't even have to be my age (you can judge that with the Atari references, Google it if you have too) or even close to it.  My 2600 was your Sega Genesis (or Playstation, or X-Box, etc...), besides half the Mortal Kombat population out there would probably rip my skeleton out and I'm not even gonna talk about Madden or Fight Night.  I would say I'm a slightly above average gamer when it comes to skill, but I have a passion for gaming.  That's basically it, and, oh, one more thing, to all of the younger gamers making fun of us old dudes on X-Box Live or any other online gaming service, save it, and to all you older people thinking gaming is below you, there's nothing like an online multi-player head shot to take your mind off the BS office politics you went through a few hours earlier.  Either way, it's great gaming with people of various origins, race, age, whatever, that's part of the experience.  Gaming brings us all together and allows us to talk smack at the same time.  OUT!!


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.



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