14:28, Monday 4 Apr., 2005 Link
I bought a Nintendo DS with WarioWare: Touched and Project Rub (aka Feel the Magic). I've finished WarioWare already. Previous versions took me longer because it was hard to get the button combinations right, but this version is all about the stylus, and there's nothing to remember: you look at the screen and it's just obvious where to cut, or rub, or twirl, or tap, or scribble. eg, instead of tapping the A button to close a hand to catch a falling rod, now I just tap the rod to catch it. Obvious. 5 seconds per game is positively roomy. Intuitive interfaces don't necessarily make for great gameplay. Actually, beating the game gives me access to all the levels and they get faster and harder, plus you get toys, so they were aware of this. The WarioWare designers appear to have put more effort into the level-up versions of the games this time around, which is great, and so the game is really coming into its own now. It is truly for the ADT generation.
The DS games themselves seem really more about exploring the possibilities of touch, and teaching the player all the various ways it can be used (as well as teaching tangible computing interface designers, heh). Project Rub is another game like this, all about direct manipulation of what's happening on-screen, and the side-effect is that the narrative (a love story) feels more immersive. Wonderful.
Again I'm struck not by how natural this interface feels, but how unnatural everything else feels afterwards. I have to tap an icon with a mouse to open it? What? Why not grab it with both my hands and put it towards me, or stretch it till i can read the text? Something more direct. I'm reminded of a line in the Life Hacks Live! session at Etcon: Alt-tab to switch applications is like telling your computer which program to run with Morse code.