Sunday, September 6, 2009

Question of the week: How important are controls to a game?

This week's question is most inspired by yesterday's "review debacle". You can check out the first post here and the second post here if you haven't already.

Aside from the stupid crap they did (namely, breaking a review embargo while reviewing an incomplete preview build!), the Reviews on the Run guys felt the controls of Scribblenauts was its one and only flaw, but it must have been a bad one. So bad that one of the reviewers dropped the score 30% for that one complaint. It lead me to wondering just how important controls are to people.

Can you forgive a good game with bad controls? Do controls matter more to a certain genre than others? Can controls actually ruin what would otherwise be a great game? In the grand scheme of ratings (Graphics, Gameplay, Longevity, Controls, Presentation, etc. etc.), where would you rank controls?

As always, feel free to leave your comment below. No need for registration or anything silly like that.

29 comments:

  1. Well, I think controls are sorta important. I don't think controls could realy ruin a game,unless they are just that bad.Scribblenauts controls don't really look that bad.(although I can't say for sure,because I haven't played the game yet)All in all,for controls to really ruin a game,they'd have to be pretty terrible.Scribblenaut's controls don't look like they are anywhere near terrible.(Although like I said before,I'd have to really play the game to truly test the controls)

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  2. (Sorry if my spelling stinks I just woke up!) Controls to me are not a necsissity, as long as I can get done what I need done in a game. As systems like the N64 had an awkward control sceme,and systems like the PS3/PS2, Xbox 360, and DS, have a much more natural way to hold it, I think it's weird for gamers like myself when controls ARN'T what we expect. But, controls can't ruin a game for me, unless they are slow, clunky, or don't respond correctly.

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  3. Dear guy above: If Scribblenauts sucks why are you on this website? Another thing, unless you were at PAX which for some reason I am doubting, you do not know that controls are bad. Besides, its almost all used by the stylus and you can't call having to press the start button at the beginning bad.

    Controls are important, but you get used to them. For example, Fallout 3 for the Xbox 360. They made the "Y" button (the upper most button) the jump button when almost everyone is used to the "A" button (the lowermost). But after playing for a little while you get used to them.

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  4. Such is the nature of gaming. You'll always get a few people who think trolling is cool.

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  5. Controls aren't important as long as you can get from point A to point B without too much hassle.

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  6. most of the time controls dont affect the game ppl moan at them but its the player sucking not the controls i havnt played scribblenauts i can see them working well till things get messy

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  7. The controls are frustrating people because of what they think the game genre is. They think it is a puzzle platformer. No. It is purely a puzzle game, with some side-scrolling elements. Think of it like Professor Layton. It is similar to that genre, solving puzzles, the controls suck to some people because they think the game is purely a platformer.

    @ the anonymous posting at 11:19 AM:
    Just GTFO then. You are just another brain-dead Xbox fanboy who only cares about FPS. If you don't like Scribblenauts, how the hell did you stumble across this blog then. I think you Xbox/PS3 zombies should just go work at McDonalds or something, instead of playing Call of Doody. (Do you get it? "doody"? It was a pun. :) )

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  8. Oops, sorry dud that posted at 11:19. I meant to talk to the troll that you corrected.

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  9. Controls controls controls, sure we can say they dont matter, they cant ruin a game...ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Im not trying to troll here but obvioulsy controls are important and CAN be a dealbreaker. Do you really think if you were playing a 3d adventure and you try to go one way and you went the other because controls are that bad but the game is otherwise well put together that you would continue to play it just continue walking the way you didnt wanna go? NO..controls matter. However when you hear about the control issues with scribblenauts it is more about choppyness with the stylus interaction, which has been an issue in games before. There is a simple fix for it which I believe scribblenautics already described. Use your stylus more efficiently, with more direct interaction and not having the stylus hitting the screen where you dont want to. This game is 100% touch control so theres bound to be alot that the stylus needs to register.

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  10. Controls do matter to me. But from what I've seen of Scribblenauts, it doesn't look too bad. I think that it's more of something you hafta get used to, much like a lot of games. And yes, sometimes things can get messed up by accidently doing something you didn't mean to do, but what's great about Scribblenauts is that you can go back and try again!

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  11. The controls in Scribblenauts look OK. At least the character does what you want him to do, and that's all that's important.

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  12. I really don't think the controls are THAT bad, but they may be sluggish. Also, they put in control tutorials if i am not mistaken.

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  13. Victor Lucas' response:

    http://bb.elecplay.com/viewtopic.php?t=11541

    Basically he admits that they screwed up.

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  14. @ Anonymous posting at 2:34:
    We're retards? How about you go back to playing Halo and Call of Retards ya n00b. I think Joshua is cool, seeing he has things in common with me and the rest of the members. So I think you better shut your bloody mouth, which will be bloody if you post here again. And a friendly tip: DON'T.

    So like I said earlier, controls don't matter, especially since this is a puzzle game.

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  15. Controls can definitely be a deal breaker for me.
    The Prince of Persia game on DS that had stylus only control was annoying to play that I abandoned it after about a level and a half.

    Okami on the Wii is another example of bad controls.
    I played it through once on the PS2 and then I tried it when it came out on the Wii, but the controls were just too bad. That sort of thing seems to happen a lot on the Wii.

    Just because you've got a touchscreen or motion sensing available to you as a developer doesn't mean you absolutely have to find a way of cramming it in. Often it's better just to go with traditional control methods.

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  16. I would be very very dissappointed if the controls are messed up :| it takes away all the fun if the controls ain't functioning like they should and makes the game just ... annoying to play. From what I have seen the controls at scribblenauts look pretty normal :) i don't see why they made such a big deal in the review from it, but ofcourse I have to play before i can judge it myself :)

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  17. Poor controls are unforgivable. Video games are designed to be interactive fun, and if the interaction is flawed, the game has failed.

    That being said, I love the idea of Scribblenauts, I do sincerely hope this review was overly critical.

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  18. lol,yall are so funny. Youll have a bloddy mouth here of u post here again.Wich u shouldent!

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  19. Of course controlls mater...

    How much they matter is a matter of opinion.

    With a game like scribblenauts, its understandable that you won't always get the results you want, but as long as I am able to move my character to a said point, and have my stylus be accurate, then there won't be a problem.

    Of course, there are certain games where control is more important than others. For example, if you are playing said sport game, and you want to pass it to person B, and you input the command and it goes to person C, then there is a problem. Also, if the controlling is inconsistant (like if you are playing pong, and you notice your stick is moving at x3 its speed), then there is a problem.

    Another example is Wii Sports (Golf) compared to Tiger Wood's game with motion plus. In Wii Sports, the only game I played was Bowling, Boxing, and Tennis because the controls were simple and usable. In Golf, a small swing could have gone long. In Tiger Woods game, the swing is more accurate and enjoyable.

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  20. I wish you could use d-pad controls but i can deal.


    (P.S) i love scribblenauts and per-ordered it 1.5 months ago.

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  21. control scheme importance varies from game to game, genre to genre. typically i feel controls can make a great game good, and a so so game bad. conrols should be effort-less and the second you are frustrated with the controls, you start disconnecting from the game. in scribblenauts a great thing is that you won't be blaming the game for losing, as much as yourself, so will push yourself. if the controls begin to mess up you begin to blame the game which makes the experience worse. the people who played it haven't mentioned controls, and when people from 5th Cell play it they preform greatly so i think it will just take getting used to, and for scribblenauts its worth getting used to

    to the troll(i haven't read your messages but i get the picture): i like and play halo/mw and i'm looking forward to ODST and MW2 but im also looking forward to Scribblenauts, how? i keep an open mind to games. games like professor layton and most games on the Wii(which i own) do not intrest me too much but i don't go insult them, im reasonable... but then again your not here to reason. i always like how people neglect thefact its just a game, who cares! if people are mindless and just like a game where colors flash by who cares! why do you feel the need to say " hey i like this GAME, and since you doin't play this GAME you are dumb" its just a game that you take way to seriously
    he's prob just one of the millions of 14 year olds on xbox live who everyone comnplains about

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  22. Actually, Mr. Anon Comment Troll, I left that undeleted because it was so damn nonsensical that it was hilarious. The response of "e-thuggin'" was perfect as well.

    I imagine these comments must sound very strange to people who don't know I've been deleting the same guy's comments these past few days!

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  23. Great article, Penguin, per usual. I can't really say anything that hasn't been said already, so I'll just say that AHomelessHomie and the last Anon summed it up best.

    Everybody stop worrying about the controls. The only people who have complained in the least are the editorial sites and those people get PAID to NITPICK! At the very least, we might have a bit of a learning curve, and I imagine that the others who've complained need to just slow it down. Take your time and remember; this isn't Phantom Hourglass or Ninja Gaiden, it's a puzzle game.

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  24. well,thanks for leaving my comment here josh,it makes me feel welcome here after all.the reason it looked so bad is because i only had 5 seconds to type it.

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  25. No problem, Anon troll, you should feel welcome. After all, you're here for our entertainment!

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  26. I actually got to play Scribblenauts at PAX yesterday, and the controls were a bit tricky. However, I think controlling the game with the touch screen just needs some getting used to. Overall, I don't think the controls will affect Scribblenaut's fun factor too much.

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  27. The controls are important depending on the game. For this game though, I do not think it would be that important. Would still be a great game even with crappy contols.

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  28. Of course the controls are important. In EVERY game they're important, there is no dependent situation in this. You're living in the clouds if you believe otherwise.

    If they're sticky, unresponsive or don't do what you want them to, it's going to cause helluva lot of a struggling and most people will become annoyed at the game. It doesn't look like it would be a problem in earlier levels of Scribblenauts, but the later, more complex levels look like they could be a pain if the controls are left unchecked. I'd say that it's definitely worth 30% off the final score if they really are awkward when there is a lot of action on-screen.

    Also, the person who complained about Okami's controls on the Wii not working, obviously didn't put the effort into learning the controls. It takes time to get used to a new control style when you're used to the PS2 version. They work perfectly, the secret is to not rush.

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