TGS 2005: Miyamoto unveils Nintendo's Revolution controller

Legendary game designer gives GameSpot an early look at the key to Nintendo's console and offers a taste of the unique peripheral's promise.

Though the Nintendo Revolution was partially unveiled at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, its controller is the final piece of the venerable hardware manufacturer's next-generation puzzle. Speculation about the device has run rampant, because its manufacturer has made a point of keeping it well hidden. Nintendo has chosen only to drop hints that it would be an integral part of the Revolution's unique gameplay experience.

Today, in his keynote address at this year's Tokyo Game Show, Satoru Iwata touched on those themes again, giving further clues about Nintendo's vision for the future, and how the Revolution's controller plays into that future.

Thankfully, GameSpot had the chance to gain a better understanding of what Nintendo is going for with the benefit of a visual and tactile aid--a working prototype of the Revolution controller. Yes, we touched it. Yes, we used it. But is it a "revolution"? It just might be.

Our guided tour of the Revolution controller was led by none other than Shigeru Miyamoto, the industry legend whose talent has been one of the driving forces behind Nintendo's success. But, as always, he was his humble self, emphasizing that the day's presentation was about the possibilities of the controller and not his own upcoming projects. With that disclaimer, Miyamoto and the assembled Nintendo Japan reps unveiled the long-awaited controller, a modest-looking device that is low on flash, but big on functionality.

Miyamoto noted that the impetus for the controller design came from Nintendo's desire to do something "different" after hearing user feedback on consoles. The company felt the current generation of machines was coming close to overwhelming players by taking up too much space in their living rooms and creating briar patches of cables that must be navigated. As a result, Nintendo wanted to offer a solution that starts simple but supports expansion and that offers accessible experiences for casual players and more intricate experiences for hardcore gamers.

The form factor on display wasn't the absolute final design for the Revolution controller, and Nintendo reps noted that it is still a work in progress. That said, it was enough to give us an idea of where the company is headed. The controller itself bears no resemblance to the myriad fan-generated renderings purporting to be the real deal. The unit basically looks like a slim, ergonomic television remote that's about as long as your hand.

As can be seen in the images released today, the controller features core elements along with some you wouldn't expect. A power button at the top left of the unit appears to let you power the Revolution console on or off. An old-school digital D pad rests just below the power button. A large GameCube-controller-style A button is prominently placed below the D pad. Its counterpart B button is located on the opposite side of the remote, like the Z button on the Nintendo 64 controller. Directly below the A button is a series of three buttons: select, home, and start. While it's easy to guess what they do, Nintendo reps offered no details on their exact function.

Below the select, home, and start buttons is another set of vertically aligned buttons labeled X and Y. On some of the prototype controllers we looked at, the X button had a small "B" next to it and the Y button had a small "A" next to it, indicating that the controller can be held sideways to approximate a classic NES controller. Directly beneath those buttons is a horizontal row of colored lights that indicate which controller slot the owner is using--1 to 4 are planned at the moment. The plan is for the controllers to include built-in rumble packs and to run off of batteries, à la the Wavebird for the GameCube.

Finally, the base of the controller features a unique plug that lets you make use of a wide variety of peripherals. One such peripheral is an analog stick attachment with two shoulder buttons labeled Z1 and Z2. Though it gives the combined items an odd, nunchaku-like appearance (which is actually Nintendo's tongue-in-cheek nickname for it), the add-on demonstrates the controller's versatility. The analog stick peripheral will come included with the Revolution hardware, with other attachments to follow in the future. While Miyamoto didn't say much else about what other attachments were in the works, he did note that it's theoretically possible to have entirely different configurations plug into the port--which got us thinking about SNES and N64 controller attachments.

One of the most interesting features of the peripheral is tied to its functionality as a "pointing device." A glossy section of the top of the controller houses a transmitter--much like any remote would have--that was used extensively in the demos we saw. The signal from the unit is picked up by sensors you'll place near your television, which will then reflect your actions on the screen. Based on the responsiveness of the demos that we tried, this feature has the potential to turn the entire base controller unit into a new kind of pointing device. It also has great potential applications for sports games, such as laser-pointer-style play calling.

Overall, despite its unorthodox appearance, the Revolution controller has a comfortable feel. The assorted demos on hand also indicated that playing Revolution games will be a more active, physical experience than playing current-generation games. Whether you're using the pointer mechanic to actively control onscreen action or using two hands to take advantage of attachments, the Revolution controller will likely change how games are played.

Will the change the Revolution heralds be successful? It's too early to say for sure. But given Nintendo's well-documented history of breaking new ground in gaming (such as the DS) we're game to see just how this all pans out. The potential for a revolution is there; Nintendo just has to lead the way with software.

Come back to GameSpot for more on the Revolution controller and system in the coming months. For a more-detailed breakdown of Miyamoto's demo of the Revolution controller, visit GameSpot Hardware.

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Discussion

50 comments
carljohnson3456
carljohnson3456

"Slaughtahouse look at all the people who are scared about the future of nintendo lol , they some how pulled it off and there now back on top , not saying that they ever lost that spot in the first place." lol It's incredible, I doubted the Wii too, but look at it now. Signing this thing almost feels like a time capsule, you'll know people will come back later and look at these posts and say, "Wow, that's what gaming was like before motion control".

Slaughtahouse
Slaughtahouse

look at all the people who are scared about the future of nintendo lol , they some how pulled it off and there now back on top , not saying that they ever lost that spot in the first place.

Lunar52
Lunar52

first comment in almost 2 years

sinceps1
sinceps1

One more thought. The new freehand controller is truly futuristic. It certainly is sad, that alot of people will get "stuck in the past" because they won't even touch it because of what they're used to. This controller should have been made a long long time ago.

sinceps1
sinceps1

For sure. The Japanese are way smarter than Ugly' Americans. Or stupid americans, who can't even come up with a comparable home console for themselves(aka. the -xbox). 360 is shaping up but I just hope that the market doesn't flock just because of shiny graphics. And BTW the Revolution will probably be better on a regular tv than the 360. Even though it isn't High def.

Sparda177
Sparda177

I am pissed at all of the morons who make fun of Nintendo, first of all the DS also looked strange so I got a PSP instead.....I REGRET GETTING A PSP OVER A DS...I littererary NEVER use my PSP......man the guys at sony really are stupid......look at Japan they like Nintendo more......why do you think they are smarter than Americans.....think about it but try not to hurt yourself P.S. Im not Japaneise

Kbs64
Kbs64

why is everyone dogging on Nintendo when they don't even know what the system can do yet? No one know whats going on in Nintendo's Big head. But stop saying "crap". Come on People.. Where's the Respect??? Quite Hating!!!

boo_dat
boo_dat

Hey Nintendo! Remember when you were on top of the world? Remember when you ruled the skies and controlled the tide with your hand? Remember how the universe was at your fingertips? Why did you screw yourselves over Nintendo? Why? I beg of you...please stop the madness! Bring back the glory and honor to this name! Before you commit a murder suicide, would you please think of the children! Would someone PLEASE think of the children!

jettokisora
jettokisora

You guys need to keep in mind that the Nintendo DS may double as a controller for the Revolution. It's not as if this is the only controller you can use, though I suspect once you use it, you'll realize that Nintendo knows what it's doing...

DS-man
DS-man

This controler looks awesome, i see alot of people dissing it, dont forget its a Nintendo Design, and they've never let no one down with it, i dought the controler will be rubbish, but yet awesome, with a great, new, Unique way of playing games!.

shenbaraa
shenbaraa

u can always count on nintendo if u want a new VGing life ...

krono62
krono62

I must say I've been a big fan of Nintendo for quite some time....I am especially a Zelda nut...Can't get enough of the series really. Though at first I must admit I thought 'Wow...I don't want to use that.' But then I realized just how good it could be and how much it could change the gaming world. Games like Metroid will benefit from such a design, Hell even Zelda can be improved greatly with this design. I also noted that the ports will support the Gamecube controller, not to mention the 'remote' will be able to plug into a 'normal' controller. Together with this and being able to play everything up to NES games and on line play using WI-FI....it can give the 360 and PS3 a run for their money. I'm looking forward to the new innovations and standards that Revolution will be able to set and make.

schoeale
schoeale

lukasz_erecinsk you are an idiot. Don't you read the other articles. First of all the console has the best looking design of all three and the controller makes for amazing posibilities. Lastly the REV will support online play with WIFI.

lukasz_erecinsk
lukasz_erecinsk

I will not buy the new Nintendo no matter what - the controller and the overall console seem to be truly crap. Besides it will not support HD !!! nor will it support online gaiming - in other words this nintendo is going to be just as bad as the previoues one !

craziekev
craziekev

You know i really dont know y people dis things before they come out. if the people at nintendo make something that looks different people jump on it and say crap about it first thing. If they make and using it already im pretty sure that it will be good. All i can say i cant wait for this new system to come out because its backwards compatible so i can play all those classic game that i have always played, as well as the new ones. I'm always looking for change and this looks like an awsome way to do it. GOOD JOB NINTENDO! and gamespot for putting this and other great info that we nintendo fans like to hear.

flame17
flame17

PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS THE ONES THAT CANT FIGURE OUT This is sensor motion people just look let me tell you how they talk " Oh im only going to look at the pictures and figure out how am I aupposed to pick my nose with it" thats how you retards talk and do ,you can stick a gamecube controller in the revolution and besides there not done there probably going to make two types of controls probably for the third party games this is basicly the third party remote.

Stu_ponk
Stu_ponk

Take an N64 controller and saw it just to the right of the Start button? Imagine what that feel like in your hands. I need somthing more sturdy; as that would feel as if i were not holding anything, my arms would flail about. :(

pinoyconcept
pinoyconcept

man imagine playing all those first person shooting games and zelda games man!!! like actually using a sword to kick ganondorf's ass!! crazy!!! oh it seems that you can plug in a gc controller on the rev's controller port

kinghitchhiker
kinghitchhiker

The controller lloks good. you play tv with a remote... i dont know how people can say it will be a piece of crap when they haven't used it. IM not saying it wont be a piece of crap, but hey i think it looks pretty cool. way to think outside the box, nintendo.

pathosis
pathosis

Lets face it, the Game Cube is not doing too hot. Sure it has some great games but the overall apeal for the console is pretty small especialy in comparison to the Sony Playstation. And this is not my opinion, these are facts based on the numbers of buyers. Bringing out new hardware for the console may be a good thing....However, it maybe a bad thing too. Its really up to the consumers if they'll buy into the gimmick or not. This controler is already getting mixed reviews which is actually good publicity for Nintendo. But how will this controler feel when comparing a paticular game that may also be available to the other Next Gen Consoles? Will this controller alienatate the other Next Gen Console players to even wanting to pick up this console? When it comes to it, will there be any games that will put this controler to its full use or will it just work like a regular controler thus making it a pointless gimmick. Who knows. Thats why I feel this is a big risk for Nintendo. It will either make them or break them. I think most of us here will agree, that Nintendo should be more concerned on the Games that should be produced instead of what is already considered a dubious controler. The lack of Game titles has been an issue with the Gamecube and should be be on the top of Nintendos list as being High Priority. There will also be an optional controler sleeve that you can put this "remote" in so that it will play like a Gamecube controler and thus adding more accessories for the console. Sorry....I just don't know what to make of all of this. I'm sure many here will disagree with what I just said, its just that all I want from Nintendo is more games not a wierd controller. Maybe some brand new exclusive Nintendo titles not another Mario sports/puzzle game. They can't just keep making Metroid, Zelda and Mario forever (even though those are great games) Nintendo needs something fresh for the players to sink their teeth into...Am I wrong???

LeBrad
LeBrad

This is why I love Nintendo. They sent the standard layout for controllers produced today; but they aren't content with sitting back and following the trend they started. It's a nice wake-up call to the other developers, that follow this formula thinking that change will scare off the masses. But, I guess Microsoft and Sony are content with the slobbering hordes that care about graphics over innovation. Shame, that.

Michiganfn1
Michiganfn1

Im not sure about this..... It looks pretty stupid but ya know what? Ill try most everything...... I dont know maybe it will be sweet! Who knows i hope its the most sucessful of the new systems because id really hate to see Nintendo go like this...... Plus i just plain hate the sony ppl. Jerks. Anywho i hope this works for the best! Fruits on here are soooo bias.

Phantom_Ninja
Phantom_Ninja

Hmmm a remote huh... Well i guess ever since they F-Up with the GameCube they had to try something to get them back up there, im guessing that this controller was there idea

chino_mangibin
chino_mangibin

the remote really is the worst thing ive ever seen in a controller. i mean how would you play a game with a remote?!?!!!!!!!!!

networkpunk
networkpunk

wait a sec,when the hell is revolution supposed to come out?

eiknarf05
eiknarf05

im reserving mine today. yes, i can reserve today @ Game Crazy ;)

Brandonh
Brandonh

Holy Crap that SUCKS! Has it ever occured to Nintendo that their 'Revolutionary" Designs (Controllers, mini disks, etc.) Never work. Nintendo is failing... I remember when they had the best games ever... then Gamecube just completly demolished Everyone's hard work. Mario Sunshine was a huge disgrace. Donkey Kong Jungle Beat was the biggest slap in the face to the Donkey Kong Series. I CANR WAIT TO SEE WHAT LOAD OF crap NINTENDO WILL UNVEIL NEXT!

skyfolk22
skyfolk22

IU think the controller looks like a peice of crap, all im thinking is how the hell am i suppose to play smash bros on that crap. i just dont think you get the stability needed for a game like smash bros

Brunofelipe
Brunofelipe

"A Nintendo tem os jogos mais perfeitos,legais e viciates do mundo,mas n

violentmonkey
violentmonkey

the controller is awsome! So futuristic. Can't wait till the final product comesout.

maquefort
maquefort

Brilliant! And seemingly a lot more to expect in the future as well. Can hardly wait to hear more! I think and hope that this truly will be a revolution.

theultimate003
theultimate003

This is great! I really liked the sensor on the front. This controller seems like it can be used for many new and innovative things especially with the expansion port. Also, I would like to say that many of the people who think this controller is a horrible design are merely afraid of change.

bossyj1234
bossyj1234

The controller looks really cool. I think it is a good idea to have various add- ons that are optional. Nintendo is going to rock this generation!

Rmurillo
Rmurillo

the controller looks like its difficult to use and resembles a tv remote. Nintendo is sad!

MasterChief2828
MasterChief2828

THE CONTROLELR IS A PEICE OF CRAP :) WHY IS IT A FREAKIN REMOTE!? ITS NOT FOR GAMING >:O RAWR!! raw rmuahahah

kollin_1
kollin_1

The controller looks pretty frickin' sweet. I'm reserving this system ASAP man. Looks like they've got some pretty good games in the works too. Quick question, why does everyone use BS "internet lingo" like "LOL OMG LOL!" "ROTFLMAO!" because way too many people use it on here.

FarCry194
FarCry194

Nintendo is going to suck so bad this generation, just like they did with the gamecube. Not only is the controller terrible, but I heard that Nintendo is saying that the revolution's graphical power is just like "a souped up XBOX". WTF????

owner211
owner211

contoller thingy is really good and stuff

clutzyaj
clutzyaj

Good, no more stupid user creations and no more having to fumble over controling the games. Nice. Thanks for this, Gamespot.

zackw222333
zackw222333

Wow the controller looks good. Good thing thay put this up, i missed it last time! Thank you gamespot!^_^

gsg92
gsg92

I caant wait

XxXDarkOwnerXxX
XxXDarkOwnerXxX

interesting "thing"? funny it don't look to be good for gaming :/ lol but i want to try it :) maybe i get a feeling for gameing whit it hehe

jono128
jono128

Why is this on the tech page again? Old news.

GBAGB
GBAGB

wow what abunch of crap above me