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GDC: Spector: Don't Let Desire For Progress 'Throw Away Our Entire History'

In the rush towards motion control and other intuitive forms of game inputs, we could run the risk of "throwing away our entire history," warns longtime designer Warren Spector at GDC's 'lunch with luminaries' panel.
In the rush towards motion control and other intuitive forms of game inputs, we could run the risk of "throwing away our entire history," warns longtime designer Warren Spector. "I think it's kind of weird...that we've sort of said, 'We've go 20, 30 years of people learning how to do this -- sitting on their couch and having a good time, and knowing where the buttons are -- and we're saying 'You've got to stand up and wave around and gesture,'" Spector said during the Gamasutra-attended 'Lunch With Luminaries' event at Game Developers Conference 2010. He suggested: "We're in the process of throwing away people -- kids, adults -- who know this stuff." Part of the industry's present eagerness could be outside pressure, Spector added. After all, gaming looks more exciting when it is moving onto the Next Big Thing. "Especially from outside the industry, there's a tendency to want to see seismic shifts, to want to see radical change, and we have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater," he said. "I don't know if we want to throw away our entire history because we want to use gestural controls," Spector commented, adding, "I hope we keep our perspective a little more rational." One of gaming's strengths is its capability to appeal even to the most niche audiences, particularly in the modern connected era. "I have a friend who just lives for his hardcore submarine sims -- him and 5,000 other guys," Spector said. "But now there is a way to reach that specific audience." "I hope there's still room for the single-player experience," he said. "That's still what I love to do." Of course, the designer was more than aware of the arguable irony of his motion-based concerns: He's heading up Epic Mickey, a major upcoming Wii game. Spector isn't against motion controls, he stressed, but he hopes motion fever doesn't become too dominant. "By the way, I'm working on a Wii title and I'm loving it," he said.

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