“Most of the games that use the D-pad as a pointer, most of the time, don’t have the option to step right or left,” says Tyrer

“But when we started to explain more, it grew to a point where everyone who was involved in the project thought it was going to be the definitive way to play games. We wanted to be innovative, to do something different.” To that end, the team took a modular structure to the development of the Wii, as opposed to the more traditional features, such as a screen and processor, that were offered by the Gamepad. Not that this made a huge difference in the end. As impressive and groundbreaking as the performance of the Wii was, however, the project proved to be a costly one for many of its creators. Above: A prototype of the Wii Remote, which would be its most significant innovation “Most of the games we make today don’t have wireless capabilities,” continues Tyrer. “We have all sorts of different ways to deliver that experience. We are inspired by different games, but a lot of games don’t even support local multiplayer. “We wanted to make a game controller that was more like a steering wheel for the Wii. A game console controller that would be more like a steering wheel for the Wii. We wanted to make sure we had a control solution that had a lot more flexibility and had a lot more customization, and that people could really get their hands on. And so we made a gamepad that had all of that and more.” One of the most significant features of the controller, however, was the ability to use the D-pad as a pointer. This meant that the player could move the pointer over different areas of the screen, making a game-like experience that was not too taxing for people who could not really get their hands on a game-console. But it also gave some developers the opportunity to control the camera directly – the player could step right up or left, or swan dive, etc – which gave some players the feeling that they could step right up and take advantage of the camera. “Most of the games that use the D-pad as a pointer, most of the time, don’t have the option to step right or left,” says Tyrer. “It’s fairly easy to figure out where to place the pointer on the screen; we sell a camera that can do this, but not quite precisely. We did a lot of work to make sure that the pointer would be more precise than the camera would be, so not having to step right up and down when it came to the screen, but having more control over the camera and some more options for the player. “Most of the games that use the D-pad as a pointer, most of the time, don’t have the option to step right or left,” continues Tyrer. “It’s fairly easy to figure out where to place the pointer on the screen; we sell a camera that can do this, but not quite precisely. We did a lot of work to make sure that the pointer would be more precise than the camera would be, so not having to step right up and down when it came to the screen, but having more control over the camera and some more options for the player.” The D-pad also gave its developers the opportunity to introduce some subtle and not-so-subtle improvements to the gameplay. For example, the D-pad is now the player’s paddle, which allows for faster and more precise movements, such as running, jumping, and kicking. “We put in so many features that actually made the game more difficult, for people who weren’t that interested in it at all,” says Tyrer. “We made it so that people would have to step back to the controller when they were getting the D-pad on, then we made the button that you pushed to jump. So the D-pad was also a major part of the game – we actually added shoulder triggers on the back of the D-pad to actually jump, and we did this so that there was a better sense of gravity in the buttons. We had shoulder triggers on the back of the D-pad, so when the D-pad would land on it, you could feel the landing.” The developers also tried to make the D-pad more precise, with some success. Even when players were getting help from the map editor, the team found that players actually wanted to use the D-pad to move around the map.