The Top 7... failed futures of gaming

Sometimes it works out (thankyou, online gaming and polygonal graphics), but sometimes, despite the best efforts of developers to shape the future of how we play,the ideafalls straight onto its arse and doesn't get back up. Somewhere, in some divergent parallel reality, these ideas rule the games industry. In this one, they were just crap.

7. Motion control

The promise

A whole new world of video game interaction. A stronger sense of 'being there' than ever experienced before. Simple, instinctive control for the previously gamephobic and intricate, nuanced control for the hardcore, turning already loved genres into experiences so real that you could well die upon switching off your console. And don't think it all started with the Wii. Just check out how long the dream has been alive via this so-fashionable-it-could-have-been-made-tomorrow training video for Sega's Activator controller for the Mega Drive/Genesis.

Isn't it just rad?

The crushing reality

Above: And he was only playing Peggle

No-one ever performed a decapitation fatality by miming it in the living room. Which is good, because if they had, they would have looked like a twat. If indeed, they'd even been capable of physical movement by the end of round two. You see there's a reason video games use buttons on controllers. They're an easy and relatively exertion-free way of producing precision inputs over long periods of time. Motion control is good for simple, repeated actions during bite-sized chunks of gameplay, but for the variety of actions requiredin exploring a whole game world? It fails onthe mostbasic conceptual level.

Plus, at the moment, the tech is just plain rubbish. Crap sword fighting and an awful lot of crashed dragons. That's the current reality of motion control.

The promise

A whole new world of utterly lifelike games, populated with real people renderedwith movie-quality visuals and movie-quality sound. Want the photorealistic games of the future but can't be bothered to wait the necessary thirty years for the technology to become available? No problem! The '90shad you covered. Forget those dull grey and black cartridges. The shiny compact discwas less a digital storage medium, more a magic mirror that let you look into the future!

Above: Not in-game footage. Graphics representative of gameplay only

The crushing reality

Yep, we got movie-quality visuals and movie-quality sound, but only because multimedia games virtually were movies. ie.barely videogames. ie. they had no gameplay. ie. they were no fun to play. ie. because you couldn't play them. Lengthy video clips which occasionally prompted you to press a button to continue, that's what we got. There was as much gameplay held within as you'd find in a DVD player with a broken pause function.

And actually, thanks to the compression technology of the day, those visuals and sound were only really movie quality if your local cinema screened filmson a sheet of A4 through a smallpane of dirty glass. Out of focus.

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.