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Old school gaming features we'd love to see return

It's been confirmed that the PS3 exclusive, ModNation Racers is to receive a split-screen mode for up to four players.

Above: Not pictured - four-player split-screen

OK, so this isn't exactly groundbreaking news but it does make us think of the good old days of gaming. When devs were more concerned about delivering a fun affair than how many realistic chickens they could crowbar into a game. Especially when you consider that most racing games like Dirt 2 and Burnout Paradise don't have one, you could say that split-screen is deemed an archaic feature by current developers. Still, that doesn't stop folk demanding the return of old shit.

Remember the furore over SixAxis not having rumble? One minute rumble was being labelled as a last-gen function only for Sony to stick it into DualShock 3. If there's enough demand then things can change mighty quickly. So here's a list of old-school features that we'd love to see the return of on next-gen consoles...


Pressure sensitive buttons


DualShock 2 on PS2 has this. Lightly press X as you drive a car in GTA: San Andreas and you'd crawl through traffic slowly. Slam your fat digit down and you'd be bolt forward at pace. Perfect. We understand that the triggers are supposed to replace the need for this but the simplicity and immediate effect of 'the harder you push, the faster you go' is a great alternative to the sloppy triggers. Especially on PS3.


Above: A genius idea cruelly left out of current hardware 

Wired controllers

Before you start getting all uppity about this one, consider this: With wired controllers you never have to recharge them. We've had numerous occasions where we've been halfway through a level only for the low battery to flash up on PS3 or controller dies completely with only a hint of a warning on 360. OK, so wireless pads free you up and mean kids/pets/old people don't trip over the cable but at least wired ones keep you connected for as long as you want. We just want the option - especially on PS3 - we're not asking for devolution here.

Above: A controller with a trip-wire? Or a constant connection to you gaming?

Cartridges


Advantages of disc-based games: Better graphics, crisper sound quality and bags of room to cram even more into your latest game of choice. Advantage of cartridges: Almost zero load times. Whaddya mean we're mad? You weren't there man. You didn't see the things we did on SNES and Megadrive.


Above: Instant access gaming FTW!

So what have we missed? Is there an obvious old-school feature that you'd like to see brought back from the dead? Or are you completely happy with the way that current games are panning out?  Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter. 

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24 comments

  • JDonahue79 - April 3, 2010 1:05 a.m.

    (WIRED CONTROLLERS) Well, who needs wired controllers, since I'm sick of them cause they tangle up and cause a mess. Sure, some people complain about the battery issues, but I just recharge mine after I'm done playing games. (Cartridges) Well, they are still expensive right now, but in the future, flash memory could bring cartridges back to the playing board. (Pressure Sensitive buttons) There are presure sensitive buttons on the PS3 controllers, as I actually played Mad Mastero on the PS3 (My 60-gig is fully hardware-based backwards compatible) and that game actually worked. But Yea, one feature that I really missed is backwards compatible. That should be mandatory, since people like to play their old games again without having to buy it again.
  • TheBoz - March 24, 2010 9:29 p.m.

    @pin316 - Suppose you are right, one view I never thought of. BUT here is a notion, get rid of CDs and DVDs, and sell games on storage devices like memory sticks. Packaging becomes smaller, consoles can become smaller more compact and is in a way an evolution of the cartridge which can be sold as next generation.
  • Lurkero - March 23, 2010 11:01 p.m.

    I don't want cartridges, but I still have an extra 360 controller that is wired. I see the appeal of wireless, but that is not something I want exclusively.
  • pin316 - March 23, 2010 3:35 p.m.

    'TheBoz' - totally right on the piracy comment, but I think that's once of the sharpest double-edged swords in the history of gaming...more than once i heard people say they chose playstation over n64 primarily because they could get copied games, and that loss of console sales hit Nintendo right in the super-monkeys!
  • 8akiho8 - March 23, 2010 2:50 p.m.

    if your controller goes dead very quickly, and you keep it plugged up all the time, your battery on the controller will have a shorter life. It is the same as the batteries on your phone, laptop and camera. I think wired controller works better, that's why people are still using wired mouse, rather than wireless ones.
  • philipshaw - March 23, 2010 1:44 p.m.

    Great article and have to agree with the split screen, please bring it back devs
  • pin316 - March 23, 2010 12:57 p.m.

    i'd love to see a few genres of game make a comeback... 1) Sapce-combat. I've been begging for some kind of news on this since i got my 360 - Remember all those terrible star-wars combat sims (Rogue Squadron etc) - now remember the awesomeness that was X-Wing vs Tie-Fighter? How kick-ass would that game be on today's consoles with the multplayer capabilities that we have now... 3) Point'n'Click adventure - okay, i just want a new game to pick up where Monkey Island left off!
  • TheBoz - March 23, 2010 1:55 a.m.

    I can't remember the load times for the cartridges, I have Pang and Navy Seals stored away on the Commodore C64 and have a few Mega Drive games somewhere, not to mention my Coleco Vision. Yes, you get the load screens but that came up practically instant. Noone has mentioned cartridges can deter piracy too. More people would opt against buying a pirate cartidge than a DVD or CD plus the cost of manufacturing a pirate cartridge. Got to admit, I do miss the cartridges.
  • TheBoz - March 23, 2010 1:48 a.m.

    Wired controllers? I have a recharger for my 360 I always have plugged into the console, when it needs charging I just plug the controller in the end of the cable and still continue playing. The mouse on my PC is wired as is my keyboard. @Rhymenocerous - with you on the autosaves buddy. Pain in the ass. Ink Ribbons, you remember when all hardware was the colour of vomit lol.
  • skyguy343 - March 22, 2010 11:44 p.m.

    Fun.
  • Rhymenocerous - March 22, 2010 7:28 p.m.

    Also, get rid of Autosave, and just leave it to us gamers to save manually. Remember ink ribbons? The good ol' days...
  • RebornKusabi - March 22, 2010 7:04 p.m.

    As far as cords for consoles, you can find a longer USB "mini" to USB "large" cord for less than $20 ANYWHERE they sell computer parts so I don't see the issue... however I reeeaaallly don't like the fact that the DualShock 3 doesn't charge when the consoles "off" when, while I still cared to even use it, the Wireless Headset for the 360 charges when the consoles "off". It's an easy fix because all I have to do is plug my remote into my PC/Laptop to charge it and it solves that issue- but still, I shouldn't have to do that lol As far as Cartridges having zero load times, that's a bit of a misnomer. I completely recall some games on the SNES/N64 having load times (like Batman Forever) as well as the fact that some cartridges have to unpack data just as much as DVD-based games do. Of course, the read speeds on cartridge-based games are significantly faster and GOOD games don't let you know this by having the unpacking done via streaming (for lack of better term) seamlessly while you play the game (Cartridge-based games did this all of the time and DVD-based games like God of War 1 & 2 as well as Dante's Inferno). If anyone cares, I can provide sources to the mechanisms of cartridge-based games but that's dumb because it's besides the point lol Anywhoo, great article Nathan! Loved the pressure-sensitive entry especially!
  • IHateMakingUserIDs - March 22, 2010 5:36 p.m.

    I miss the "Game Highlights:" you saw during period intermissions in NHL 94. I think that could be a great feature to bring into more sports games too. Of course, with the ability to turn it off if you hate it.
  • russman - March 22, 2010 5:03 p.m.

    I miss the old Madden games where you could smash people in the background after the play. Please bring it back. And add it to Fifa while you're at it.
  • KishouTenpi - March 22, 2010 5 p.m.

    Wired controllers.... I perfer using the charger pack to turn it wired when I need it. Wireless is not used for playing in other rooms, It's used for comfort during use, not tying you down to your hardware and allowing you to stay a comfortable distance from the screen and not have to move furniture
  • WhiskeyBit - March 22, 2010 4:44 p.m.

    MORE SPLITSCREEN!!! Seriously, I'm tired of my roommate and I fighting over who gets to play our single console! (Jed, if your reading this: IT WAS MY 360 IN THE FIRST PLACE!!)
  • temok - March 22, 2010 4:33 p.m.

    Actually, I still prefer wired controllers. No huge battery space below, no extra weight, same use. Besides, do you really have the need to play from a room apart or from the bathroom? Didn't think so.
  • aperson789 - March 22, 2010 4:07 p.m.

    a cord? seriously! Who the heck wants a cord?!?! If you really care about having to recharge them then get a ps3 then you dont have to buy batteries of buy the stupid charger that doesnt even work for the 360.
  • AlmightyFuzz - March 22, 2010 3:45 p.m.

    I think that the cartridges could actually work, considering how you can now get SD cards that have more storage than DVDs...
  • GamesRadar_NathanIrvine - March 22, 2010 3:21 p.m.

    True about the PS3 cable, but what I mean is one that is always there - y'know like it can't be removed at all like DualShock 2. I may be in the minority but I'm always taking the USB lead out and using it for my digital camera or video cam and then not being able to find it. Also, this example was provided by George. *Washes hands of situation*

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