I’m not a big video gamer, more an enthusiast who sees the potential of video games to change the way we learn and play. So when I saw Tony Hawk Ride, an immersive video game that uses a new and unique skateboard shaped controller to play, I had to try it out.
I should begin by noting that the game hasn’t exactly been embraced by the video gaming community. That said, the very reason they don’t embrace it is the reason I like it – it’s not very challenging to play – for a newbie like myself getting started is fast and easy. That plus designer Yves Behar’s Fuseproject was the design team behind the Tony Hawk RIDE game controller made me curious to try it out.
The one aspect I appreciate most is that it’s an all new skateboard game experience. The physical aspect of the game via the RIDE controller has definite appeal (hopefully future versions will draw in the hardcore gamers). The controller is about as big as a traditional skateboard. It’s made of hard plastic and can withstand the weight of a 170 pound blogger, although it and the blogger creak a bit. Its iconic design gives it the look and feel of a real skateboard, albeit without wheels, and the top surface has a slightly abrasive surface for grip. One stands on the board and moves to make your skater avatar on the screen move. Slide your foot beside the board to start moving, tip the board left and the board turns left, tip it up to flip the board, and so on. It’s this physicality that keeps bringing me back to the game.
It’s actually quite clever, the board is literally a large remote with three more infrared sensors for about the same price as an add-on remote. The control buttons on the side don’t have the fit and finish of the console provided remotes, but that’s a minor detail. That Fuseproject was able to create an attractive, functional design that hit that low a price point is remarkable.
Hopefully RIDE will be successful enough to merit a second generation of the game and the controller. Which, if it does come (is this the 2nd generation board?), may satisfy everyone including the hardcore gamer. I know I like it.
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The illustrative sketches you see here were all created by Chris Sweet using Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro because favorite designs, yours and mine, begin with an idea and quite often with the kind of sketches you see here.