Last month, I asked the community to examine the controls of their games and their effectiveness for the Total Control Bitmob Writing Challenge. Four writers submitted their takes on both classic and modern titles, and all of these pieces made the front page of the website. This is the final prompt I'm hosting for now, so put down your gamepads and check out these great entries.
The perfect controls of Assassins Creed
By Jonathon Oyama
I can’t think of anyone other than myself who has participated in more writing challenges than Jonathon, so it makes sense to start this farewell off with him. While modern action games like Bayonetta feel like you need a cheat sheet to remember all the combos, Assassins Creed’s simple scheme felt just right.
Revisiting the genius of Donkey Kong Country’s two-button gameplay
By Michael Westgarth
In contrast to Jonathon, this is Michael’s first-ever Bitmob article, and he focuses on Donkey Kong Country. Players remember developer Rare fondly as Nintendo’s best buddy in the 1990s, but it's still not a lot of fun to be in The Big N’s shadow. Michael believes, however, that DKC may have an edge over the classic Super Mario World.
We shouldn’t need psychic powers to learn a game’s controls
By Steven Lauterwasser
An intuitive control scheme is great and all, but it’s not helpful if the developer doesn’t bother to teach you how to use it. Games that throw you into the fray unprepared like The Witcher 2 can sometimes be as annoying as those that are poorly designed to begin with.
Good controls for video games can go a long way
By Joseph Jordan
Joseph discusses the lack of appreciation for good controls and how even classics like Metal Gear Solid become frustrating due to awkward, outdated button layouts. Meanwhile, modern platformers like Super Meat Boy and Rayman Origins prove the value of tactile immersion.
I’ll face myself: The controls of Persona 4 Arena
By Chris Hoadley
I tried a unique take on the pros and cons of this fighting game’s control scheme by debating its merits with a “shadow” version of me. I’m not sure if the shadow is an accurate reflection of me at my worst or if it just represents criticisms of my own writing habits, but I did earn praise from Bitmob boss Dan Hsu when he edited this. [Editor's note: It was a really fun read!]
As I said before, this is my final Bitmob Writing Challenge for now. But what a run it had: We've issued 30 challenges in two and a half years, skipping only one month that whole time. None of them were repeats. Overall, 112 people wrote more than 240 articles for this series, and we featured many on the front page or in the Spotlight on their own merits.
And it’s not my place to say that the Bitmob Writing Challenge is dead: After all, it was originally created and maintained by community members, and I wouldn’t have been able to run it if challenge creator Michael Rousseau didn’t ask for someone to take the reins for him. Maybe one day some intrepid GamesBeat members will rekindle this feature for a new generation.
A very special thanks to Michael, Jeremy Signor, and Chase Koeneke for creating prompts over the years, and thanks to everyone who participated and supported me in this. Until next time, seek out those songs that have not yet been sung.