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Bitmob Writing Challenge (September 2012): Total Control

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Bitmob Writing Challenge

Fun for newcomers and veterans alike, the Bitmob Writing Challenge asks our community to write about a specific topic every month. Now is the time, however, for you to get a grip on reality – virtual reality.

Immersion is vital to any video game, and controls are a big part of creating that state of zen.  Developers want their titles to feel as natural as possible so that players aren’t double checking the button configuration, cursing at the screen, and taking themselves out of the experience. This is easier said than done.

For one thing, the need to have intuitive controls and the desire to give players a ton of cool abilities are often at odds. StarCraft is a good example of this, as it has to appeal to both newcomers who have never touched a strategy game and hardcore players who have 200 ATM (actions per minute) and watch online streams of South Korea tournaments. Accessibility is important, but sometimes dumbing things down will make the game a less-enjoyable experience for both parties.

Meanwhile, making the movement and actions feel right can be challenging even in a simple game. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 failed to resonate with fans because the Blue Blur felt so sluggish and awkward compared to the Genesis titles it tried to emulate. Yet videomaker egoraptor praises the first Castlevania’s unforgiving controls because they forced you to commit to decisions and use items. And, of course, we are experiencing a flood of next-gen titles that use touch-screen and motion recognition, and many are still experimenting on the best way to implement them.

Now, the power is in your hands to write about this important topic. Read on for the rules.

 
  • Write a 400-800 article on the controls of a video game. Are they simple? Complex? Tight? Loose? Most of all, do they feel "right?"
  • While I won’t require it, selecting two games of the same genre or series would be a great way to compare how effective each one is. Try to avoid, however, discussing the topic using too many examples or in a broad, unspecific manner. For instance, if you want to write about the Nintendo Wii remote or Microsoft Kinect, focus on specific examples and don't do a general piece about why the device does or doesn't work.
  • Post the article with “Bitmob Writing Challenge in the tags by September 30, 2012. It will appear in the Mobfeed and GamesBeat’s Unfiltered page, and I will do a roundup featuring all of the stories at the end of the month.

Good luck. I will have the results of last week’s challenge on writing introduction paragraphs up soon.