7 Big Ways Nintendo Has Innovated Over the Decades

Motion Control

Motion control has technically been around much longer than Nintendo. Arcade cabinets used variations of it, from the boxing glove of Heavyweight Champ to those motion-controlled vehicle games in movie theater lobbies that let us take control of a jet ski or X-Wing. Nintendo and Sega both tried early forms of motion control with home consoles, with the NES' Light Zapper and Sega's Activator, neither of which was really all that successful.

From there, motion control became a gimmick of sorts. Nintendo spin-offs like Kirby Tilt 'N Tumble and Yoshi Topsy Turvy, along with Dreamcast classics Sega Bass Fishing and Samba De Amigo used variations of motion control. But it's telling that these were limited to spin-offs and experimental games. The market wasn't ready for motion control, and neither were developers.

Fast forward to 2005. Nintendo unveils the codename for its newest system, the Nintendo Revolution that would later be dubbed the Wii. Conceived as a way to carve a new place for Nintendo in a market dominated by expensive, powerful consoles, the Revolution was exactly what it sounded like, a huge shake-up for the games industry all thanks to the "revolutionary" input device that relied on motion control.

How the Wii's motion control was revolutionary depends on perspective. It certainly re-invigorated gaming, drawing in hordes of people who'd never before touched a game in their lives while at the same time offering new ways to experience gaming for long-time gamers.

The Wii's brand of motion control inspired Sony and Microsoft versions as well, and though it can't be said for certain, the widespread acceptance of motion control could have had a hand in pushing VR gaming forward as well.

Admittedly, most of these motion control games devolved into gimmicks themselves, with precious few examples that really made good use of motion control. Its real legacy is in bringing people together and pushing gaming further into the mainstream.

Published Dec. 20th 2019

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