We now live in a world where the fake image of the NX button-less controller exists and with hoaxes like these cropping up around the Internet, the gaming community is on edge. E3 is three months away and with it we will finally be able to let go of our tightly held breaths, Nintendo will all but certainly reveal their latest and hopefully greatest system during the event. Nevertheless, have our NX hopes and dreams crashed and burned before they even lifted off the ground?
Mobile games are starting to make a lot of noise in the gaming industry; they are widely popular with younger demographics, but is this a bad thing? Mobile games have their fair share of issues such as pay to play, but the biggest threat they hold against the industry is a button-less surface. Seeing as smartphones are only a glass screen and harbor no buttons, the only other option of mobile developers is to create a surface D-pad where you can press anywhere on the screen to move. This is fine for its new age casual audience it is aiming towards, but no buttons is a deal breaker for many hardcore gamers. With Nintendo throwing their hat into the mobile gaming ring, there’s no doubt that some old classics might start cropping up in your app store, but classic games with no buttons suck.
But why is having buttons such a deal breaker for the gaming world? Whether on a controller or on a keyboard, what makes buttons so great? A personal and prime example in experience is that the inclusion of no buttons makes these once great games feel tedious. Square Enix has launched both Final Fantasy IX and VII on Mobile and they do not hold up even for a moment compared to their PlayStation counterparts. The simple action of getting your character to move in a specific direction takes more concentration than normal and the stupid surface D-pad is so large it takes up half the screen so you can barely see anything.
“I had heard that the NX wouldn’t have face buttons, so the leaked pictures match what I was told but was unable to confirm,” said Andy McNamara on Twitter during the height of the fake leaked NX photos from March. After posting this tweet, many potential NX buyers raised their pitchforks high and let the world know that if the NX controller was to launch with no buttons then they would not buy the system and I am with the mass majority. Buttons do more than just input a programmed action on screen; they make the gamer feel connected to what’s directly happening on screen. When a gamer presses a button, they feel like they are making an impact in the game. Just imagine playing a game like Zelda the Ocarina of Time without buttons and all you can do is tap away at a screen or worse a surface controller. Suddenly a classic and timeless game turns into a tedious experience that induces heavy eyelids, as you feel disconnected and bored. It’s hard to explain but the sensation you get from mashing away at the buttons of a controller during an intense boss fight or while you try and master that perfectly timed dodge is just so rewarding.
Can we really lay blame completely on smartphones? Sure they introduced the idea, but really it’s all up to Nintendo and what they have ultimately decided to do with their new design. The only question is will Nintendo fans even entertain the idea of a button-less controller? Personally, I grew up with Nintendo starting from the NES all the way up until the Wii U, but since then I have drifted away from the company. The GameCube was their last great system and Nintendo started to lose a bit of their magic once the Wii hit market. I would love to jump back into Nintendo’s arms and up until they shoot themselves in the foot I will always give them the benefit of the doubt, but I’m telling you right now if their controller goes button-less, I’m out.