Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Rumbling and Grumbling

Every time I hear anything about the PS3 controller, the same point is brought up: there's no rumble functionality. Lots of people seem to be really upset about Sony's decision to implement a rumble-free Sixaxis. Recently, these people have been pointing to Nintendo and saying, "look, they have motion sensitivity and rumble in a wireless controller, why don't you?"

My question is: why? Perhaps it's just me, but I've never seen the rumble feature as a huge selling point for a controller. Sure, it's nice with shooters, and maybe driving games, but past that, what does it offer to adventure games, RPGs, or most other genres? Honestly, the only time I usually notice a controller rumbling is when I put it down on a table and it makes that horrible sound (you know, that awful plastic-vibrating-on-wood sound).

Now, it's possible that I don't notice it because I've gotten used to it. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that when it's gone, I'll suddenly become cognizant of its absence. I don't think that's really likely, since in the last few years I've gotten in the habit of turning off the rumble feature on almost everything, save for the occasional TPS or racing game, but I'll admit that it's a possibility.

As everyone continues to make a big stink about the Sixaxis's rumble-less design, I think that they need the stop for a second and think, was gaming so bad before (correct me if I'm wrong) Starfox 64 gave us that humble (not so) little rumble pack? I don't know about the rest of the gaming community, but I still enjoyed games back when my controller was incapable of self-locomotion. Also, it's not like a lack of rumble functionality ever mattered in PC games. I've definitely never heard anyone say, "yeah, Half-Life 2 was good, but I think what it was really missing was a rumbling keyboard."

So, what do you all think? Is Sony's much ballyhooed lack of rumble a big deal, or am I not alone in my apathy towards controller rumble technology?

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