How the Nintendo Wii remote came to be
You might have caught this on Gizmondo, but if you have not, it seems in 2001 Matt Presta from Bridge Design was brought in to conceptualise, as a product pitch, the idea of a revolutionary motion sensing game remote control to Nintendo. I’m not so sure if this started it all, but the idea must have stuck and we have what we have today in the form of the Wii Controller today. I am however interested to see how the development went on after this initial pitch seemingly failed and how Nintendo came to settle on the current configuration and shape.
Nice configuration studies and development sketches!
We were brought in to help [Gyration] pitch their gyro technology (which had previous only been used in pointing/mouse devices) to Nintendo for more complex use in gaming—an idea way ahead of its time back in ’01.
Based on a requirement to roughly preserve the existing Game Cube button layout we created usability concepts that would work for one- or two-handed gaming. We experimented with different configurations through sketches, models and interviewing various hardcore gamers.
Gyration decided to hedge their bets choosing the quick-release idea as it could work for split-handed gaming without shaking up the already old-fashioned two-handed controller paradigm. We weren’t party to discussions between Gyration and Nintendo so we don’t know exactly how Nintendo arrived at their solution.
It would have been fun to take the project further than just a rough usability prototype though. It is cool to see that at least Nintendo finally decided to take the huge risk in developing the current (ambidextrous) Wii controller.
BTW, for the record most of us designers support you lefties out there. Unfortunately the business world often decides that ambidextrous attributes aren’t worth the effort.