Evolution of game controllers
Recently, I've been involved in a research project about game controllers, comparing different peripheral (gestural or not). This led me to investigate the evolution of game controller over time, a topic already addressed by others. For instance, Damien Lopez made this insightful mapping (.pdf) for both consoles and portable systems:
Lopez describes this map as a "a collection of small multiples of game controllers of the main gaming systems from the past 25 years (..,) normalized, and the hands are all approximately the same size as each other, and thus the controllers all to scale". His point was "to show the progression of controller design throughout the last quarter-century. With the introduction of the Nintendo Entertainment System, no more number pads were used on game controllers from that point on".
On Sock Master, there is also a tree-based representation that tries to connect all the current console controllers with their predecessors. What is interesting here is the notion of diachronic evolution as well as the connection between different "families".
Why do I blog this? working on the user experience of game controller for different research projects, this kind of representation are important as they map the existing peripherals as well as show how the possibilities evolved over time. It's overall interesting to note the relative stability in both portable and console shapes but the increasing complexity of controllers. Although sticks remains stable, the number of buttons increases. It would interesting to see how the user experience evolved over time too and see how it's related with the interface. I need to dig more these graphics and draw some implications about what that means.