Old Grandma Hardcore

This blog is the chronicle of my experiences with Grandma, the video-game playing queen of her age-bracket and weight class. She will beat any PS2, XBox, GameCube, etc., console game put in front of her, just like she always has. These are her stories. She is absolutely real. She lives in Cleveland.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Grandma to Nintendo: "What the hell are you smoking? Hey! That's pretty cool!"

Well this year we found that Mark Felt was the inside source that revealed the corruption of the Nixon Administration. We discovered that Tutankhamun was not in fact murdered in comedic blood sport by Brendon Fraser, but died of a gangrene infection caused by being a clutz. We all cried February when two of my favorite authors, Arthur Miller and Hunter S. Thompson drove the Shark to that big drug orgy in the sky.

Then this happens.

Nintendo held out on telling us all about the controller for The Revolution, a system aptly named for the usually bloody political upheaval that defined the lyrics of The Monkeys. (Note: this may still be a codename for the system, the names "The Imperial Dominator," "The Proletariat," and "N64 Times Ifinity Squared" have not been ruled out.) The secret is secret no longer a
s Satoru Iwata finally hopped out of his green pipe and jumped on a turtle to show why Nintendo games have so many mushrooms.

The new controller is a remote control / game controller / magic wand / iPod, proving that Harry Potter and Apple marketing campaigns have influenced the deepest realms of Japan. Grandma pushed me away from the computer so she could go to Nintendo's website to get a better look at the damn thing.

"THAT'S a controller?" she asked no one in particular. "How the fuck to you press the- there are no THUMBSTICKS! No thumbsticks! It's like an old school NES directional pad."
"Yeah, but it has motion input, so you can wave it around to move a camera angle, or jump, or hit somebody within the game," I said, feeling wise.
"....I already wave the controller around."
"Yeah, but this time it DOES something."

"I don't know about this thing. Here..." she picked up our handy dandy Adelphia DVR remote and made a swash buckling demonstration. "...If I'm swinging this around, it's moving more of my wrist and my shoulder than I normally have to playing a game."

"So if they think this is going to attract a larger audience- I mean look at the fucking EyeToy! That was supposed to change gaming- or DDR, or those stupid BONGOS we pass at Gamestop. Do you see me playing any of those? It's not because I don't want to it's because I can't. Physically. I have to try this out somewhere before we get a Revolution- I like Nintendo, I just don't know if I can take this sort of thing."

The controller definitely continues Nintendo's tradition of being innovative, and Grandma likes the idea of taking her frustration out on a game and getting points for it. Nintendo is going to have to let Grandma know how this doesn't exclude folks like her who want to game hard without dishing out an ice cold plate of Rheumatoid.

The keynote speech mentioned older gamers as being a market Nintendo wants to create, just like they've "expanded" the women's market with the DS. (Thanks Joystiq for the heads up on this.) I'm sure all our female OGHC readers will be surprised to find that it was in fact Nintendogs that was your gateway drug into gaming all along (cause it's so CUTE! And girls just LOVE cute things!) Come on Nintendo!! Give us some Metroid Prime sequels!! Give us another dark Zelda! You're a great company, don't DO this to us!

Or prove us wrong. You have a woman turning 70 in a few months that needs you to be as loyal to those like her as they have been to you. Show us the way and we'll help you convince the rest of the world, because right now- they're not biting. People are mentioning the PowerGlove under their breath and glancing the other way.

--More updates coming today, folks!--


  • At 8:32 AM, Blogger Leci said…

    That looks cool. o.O; But bad for people like Grandma. I wonder if there will be an alternative...

  • At 9:23 AM, Blogger elgato said…

    nintendo had some great games but they screwed me too many times when their "new" systems came out and they were not backwards compatable. I still have a closet full of their new ideas that went nowhere, does anyone remember the R.O.B.? I have been a gamer since they were invented and I have spent hard cash on systems that became outdated after you plugged them in..... Thanks Nintendo

  • At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I gotta agree with grandma's assessment. I'm a physically disabled gamer who can push buttons if the controller's on a flat surface -- but this weird ergonomic wand thingy with triggers on the bottom and so on? No way can I use that.

    I'm not surprised, though, given the monstrosity that is the N64 controller. Everybody just LOOOOVES that one, says it's so ergonomic, so perfect... bah. I say it's exclusionary and I doubt nintendo gives a shit that it is.

  • At 12:00 PM, Blogger Jesse said…

    There is a thumbstick.... Look at the photo's from gamespot. Here is one now:


  • At 12:02 PM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…

    s.t.r.- Yeah, there is a thumbstick attachment that comes with that the IGN reviewers liked, but Grandma didn't see that right away (I just type what she yells :)

  • At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think this will be very interesting, to say the least, sorry about the situation Grandma´s in though, but at least you can get a lot of extra controllers that functions just like "normal" ones, and I think you can plug in a GameCube controller.
    This is the first time I write here, though I´ve been following Grandma since almost the beginning, and I want to say that you´re truly awesome and that you´ve got a couple of fans on the island Åland in Finland.
    Game on!

  • At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I want to give Nintendo the benefit of the doubt especially since we can play all the old games via download on the new system but...I don't want any part of a system that Grandma can't get into. :) Also, as a female gamer I can tell you until they made those Barbie games, Sims and Nintendogs I didn't understand why boys spent so much time on these "videogames". [dripping sarcasm]. I second Tim's idea...I have DS but mostly because I am awaiting Metroid.

  • At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    While I do sympathise with Grandma's dilemna, I have to say that I honestly haven't been this excited about a gaming system since the SNES. Also, there are quite a few of us who want the DS for more than Metroid. Personally, i've enjoyed Nintendogs more than any testosterone saturated heterosexual male should admit. As well as Kirby, Pac-Man, and several other games i'm playing and looking forward to. I for one am very interested in damn near every game that seriously utilizes the stylus. Innovation is something I've been missing in gaming for a long time now.

    Now, to the "Power Glove" folks, you have to think of Nintendo as a mad scientist with severe ADD. The Power Glove, was not a core gameplay mechanic. They thought it was a nifty idea, which it was, but it was not executed very well for a number of reasons. One being that it was 16, going on 17, years ago, and technology for that type of gameplay wasnt refined. The fact it wasnt a Core gameplay mechanic though also brought in the ADD bit.

    If its not something they are going to have everything revolve around for that system, they tend to let it falter because they get distracted by the shiny objects (ideas in this case) in their heads, and they start to forget about the other little nifty things.... like GBA connectivity. Good idea, just didnt get very far.

    This time though, the entire system revolves around it, and technology has advanced immensely, and so has Nintendo's ability to use that technology in new and innovative ways. This is a "shiny" that they can't be distracted from, because it will be core to EVEYRTHING they do with the system.

    I also get the feeling it's Nintendo's way of officially forcing themselves out of the console wars for good, and they hope that people will agree that what they do is enjoyable. They are doing there own thing and i commend them for that.

    So come on all you folks out there, give it a little more benefit of the doubt.. if nothing else, watch the gameplay video if you havent already. It's really damn impressive.

    I hope that Grandma is able to enjoy the Revolution, and the other gaming consoles, as well as I believe I will. :)

  • At 2:51 PM, Blogger Collin said…

    I will wait and see as well. I'm not terribly enthusiastic about this direction.

  • At 3:07 PM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…


    "The Revolution" (I hate calling it that if that's not what intend to name it) should be a great system. It's online database of classic games was enough to get Grandma excited- not to mention anyone who put together Resident Evil 4 for the GameCube has a shrine in Grandma's religion.

    She digs the quote unquote kiddie games like Kirby and Pac-Man, the universal type games for everyone; but both of us looked at this thing, watched the videos, checked out Nintendo's website, etc.,.. and we had the same "What the Shit?" reaction people had to modernist art in the late 19th Century. It's going to take some gameplay to grasp the capabilities of this beast.

    I think, if anything, this controller should help Grandma in FPS games if the movements are not too exaggerated. Otherwise, we'll have to wait and see. Take it easy, man.

  • At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oh don't worry, i wasn't criticizing anything you or grandma said, I'm just seriously very excited to see the first bit of real innovation the the overall gaming world since games went 3-D.

    I do apologize if it came off as me just being bitchy =P

  • At 3:35 PM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…


    Dude, you didn't come off sounding bitchy, I had to clarify because EVERYTHING Grandma and I say comes off sounding bitchy :) And we don't want to hurt Nintendo's feelings. They made Zelda, after all.

  • At 5:32 PM, Blogger Minona said…

    I'm sold on the system now. :)
    You can't get much more inovative in a controller than that. And I'm sure with nintendo there will be options to play in another way other than grandma waving the controller around. :)

  • At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have great hopes that they will release a more conventional control in the near future. I will not buy the Revelution until they do.

  • At 6:57 PM, Blogger tynin said…

    I have high hopes for this new nintendo beast. Since the console market has had its share of innovated controllers that flopped in the past (mostly due to the lack of games that support them), I hope they have a more advanced (i.e. more buttons) controller for the crowd that appeals to (as well as for grandma of course), but since this is going to be there main controller I really think most games will be coded to use it default which will allow for them to really build on this in the long run. I am really looking forward to seeing if they can pull this off.

  • At 7:02 PM, Blogger tynin said…

    Ah heh, didn't read all of the posts first... I feel exactly as stephen does, he is just more verbose than I was on the topic :)

  • At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Actually, I was reading some hands on impressions, and they noted that you can rest it on your lap and make gentle movements easily--it's that sensitive.

    She shouldn't have too much trouble with it. :)

  • At 11:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm on the fence with this one. I have friends who are rabidly for it, and friends who are rabidly against it, and I'm stuck just sorta shrugging and saying "Well, it's somethin', all right."

    As a developer I wonder how difficult it will be to program for, and if this "forcing innovation on developers" is really going to work. I mean, we've got some winners on the DS, sure, but also a fair share of stinkers, or games that just don't use the system in very intriguing ways.

    As a gamer, I sort of chuckled, imagining that my mom's old attempts at gaming - jerking the controller around to try and get those Tetris blocks to line up just right as they flew down the screen at 90 MPH - would actually DO something other than make my brother and I nervous that she was gonna yank the system right out from the TV cabinet and onto the floor. I do have to give them props for (supposedly - for I am a jaded female gamer yet) attempting to bring out a design that was supposed to be more accessible to a wider range of ages and genders, and partially I can see that happening. I wouldn't say that Nintendogs was so much what they were 100% counting on (ironically, I know of WAY more guys that have that game than girls, and no, none of those guys are gay, to the jerks who will doubtlessly think so. Good titles are good titles, period) - supposedly their marketing path has always pushed their HARDWARE ahead of their software, as with the GBA Micro (which supposedly they HEAVILY marketed in Japan as an ideal system for girls and younger women). It's not much, but it's not Barbie, and not Mary-Kate-and-fucking-Ashley bullshit, and that makes me kind of guardedly optomistic.

    In conclusion? To quote Don Hertzfeldt's Rejected, "I'm a consumer whore!" so yes, I'll be buying it eventually, AND the PS3, AND the Xbox 360, because I likes me the pretty pretty shinies yes I does. I think I'ma have to try this for myself.

    I think Nintendo really is pushing themselves out of the console race. It's the end of titles being ported to it as they have been - no more triple-port GameCube-Xbox-PS2 folderol: it will be Xbox 360 and PS3 snarling at each other, whilst the Revolution meanders along its own road. In a way this, I think, Nintendo choosing a way out of the struggle on its own terms, and I have to give it props for that, at least. But if this whole controller is meant for as widespread a use as it claims, it's gotta put the proof out there in a very concrete state. They've gotta let major journalists give this thing some serious playtime, choose their marketing carefully, and above all, give us something worth playing. Oh, I'm not saying Nintendo's franchises aren't worth going insane over - you know how near and dear Metroid and Zelda are to my heart - but they have to be RELEASED on time to compete. If Nintendo doesn't round up a strong launch for this one... I don't know if they can safely fall back on older titles (via their download system) like they have for the DS.

    Weird thing, though? I just got a sudden flash of my sister-in-law playing with the thing. This is my "I really don't like playing games for more than 20 minutes at a time" in-law, the non-gamer in-law, and I just had a vision of her (prophetic? Probably just some bad lemongrass chicken, rather...) tinkering with the Revolution. Eh, she DOES love Donkey Konga, that's true...

    Anyhow. As with all things in this crazy industry, we gotta wait and see. And I guess you guys will see if for yourselves when you hit E3 this year, right? ::grin:: ::wink::

    Be good, and GAME ON!


  • At 2:14 AM, Blogger tynin said…

    You should diffenately check out http://cube.ign.com/articles/651/651559p1.html it goes over the controller a bit more and also gives a picture of what the conventional controller they are releasing looks like.

  • At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Fear not, HCGrandma. Read the "hands on" impressions (really, I think that this must be tried in order to be understanded), and you will realise that you do not need to make an athletic movement in order to make it work properly, just a few oscilations can influenciate the gameplay. And if even this is a problem there are attachments that turns it into a normal controller. So problem solved ^^ Nintedo doesn't left anyone behind, really :-) Plus is it me, or is this the perfect controller for a VR experience? God, this + NintendoON accessory = my dreams about how a future gaming system should be.

    BTW, best quote that I readed about the extreme reactions (unlike the one of HCGrandma):
    "If you are hating the controller have actually played games with it, you are everything that is wrong with this industry today". Unless you are severy handicaped, I must add (however, isn't that a good controller for one handed persons?).

  • At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "If you are hating the controller WITHOUT actually played games with it, you are everything that is wrong with this industry today". <-- Correct quote.

  • At 4:13 AM, Blogger heartlessgamer said…

    Couple things for ya....

    1. Every controller on the market has features and was inspired by Nintendo innovations from the past. So why doubt them now?

    2. It really needs to be used to be understood is what I am getting from the hands on previews. Most start off with the wide arm slashing and sweeping movements, but if you read the previews they quickly show that it is best enjoyed like a regular controller... held in the lap resting your arms. 1up.com's preview IMO is the best out there.

    Honestly... this is going to be a good thing. The only thing holding it back from being great is developers getting scared that making games for it will hurt their $bottom$ line.

  • At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I hope they do take into account disabled gamers. The previous generation of games machines left too many people behind with their reliance on analogue only controls... What about adding options to be able to play with digital controls too?

  • At 3:21 PM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…

    Grandma is DEFINITElY going to need a hands on experience before she can commit- but after the links you gave us leading to the 1UP article, she's giving it a second chance. All she needs is show her what it can do for an FPS and I think she'll be pleasantly surprised, but you have to admit this is one HELL of a step Nintendo is making. It's hard to alter your long conditioned notions on what gaming can be.

    We may have been too hasty to question Nintendo; but Grandma is going to spend a lot of time at gaming stores and trade shows learning how to USE this thing.

    After all, she has no choice. The next Zelda will probably require it :)

  • At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Even with smaller wrist motions it may complicate her arthritis. I have to keep my arms fairly still when I play; I hope they take into account the same positions that typists learn to prevent carpal tunnel or other complications that may even happen to healthy folks.

    I feel old, now. Go Grandma!!

  • At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, I know tendinitis, for one, won't do that much.

    I just talked to my chiropractor about the controller's potential for causing tendinitis, and according to her it is actually less likely to cause tendinitis than normal controllers.

    Normal controllers use mostly your thumbs, which places a lot of stress on the tendon in the thumb and can result in deQuervain's tendinitis, which is somewhat common.

    The Revolution's controller allows much greater range of motion, placing stress on multiple tendons. This should even out the stress instead of focusing it all on one point, making it less likely to cause tendinitis than a normal controller. Pretty cool, huh?

    Then again, I'll still have to see about arthritis. =/

  • At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My granny plays nintendo and my grampa uses Generic Viagra what more can I say ? hahaha

  • At 1:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I actually gotcheap D3 Gold to accept grandmother's examination. I am a literally impaired player who is able to thrust switches if your controller's on a flat surface -- however this particular strange ergonomic desk magic wand thingy having activates at the base and so on? Absolutely no
    GW goldway may i utilize in which.


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