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Week 13: The Evolution of Video Game Controllers
11-20-2014, 11:17 PM
Post: #1
Week 13: The Evolution of Video Game Controllers
http://visual.ly/evolution-video-game-controllers-0


The data:
This flowchart-type visualization represents where each type of video game controller originated. There is a color coded key on the upper left side, under the title, to explain the types of each controller. The viewer can follow the cords to find each controller's successor. There are thin horizontal white dotted lines running through the image in approximately one inch margins. On the right of the image, the year each controller came out is labeled next to the corresponding dotted line, with the oldest controllers at the top, and newest ones at the bottom.

What works:
The designer put a lot of effort into the style of this visualization. They used illustrations of each controller, rather than using text to simply label the controller. To show the relationship between controllers, and yet make sure each was placed in the proper year, they connected them with lines that resembled power cords. The image is colorful and interesting to look at because of all the detail in the composition. The way they sorted how they came up with each evolution is labeled in the key. For example, if the viewer wants to see which controllers are motion capture/ motion gun based, simply look for the mustard yellow line.

And I thought it was a nice Easter egg to have the Wii U in a class on its own, and brought a smile to this gamer's face.

What doesn’t:
1) The “cord” concept is cute, but like real life cords, it tends to get tangled up and confusing. It gets hard to follow at times.
2) The title logo doesn’t seem to fit. It resembles a family crest. I think it would have been more fitting to use something that related to video gaming.
3) More user interactivity would have been nice too - for example, a zoom-in or out feature to focus on details or a way to select only one type of controller and filter out the other archetypes.
4) The color scheme was mostly good, but the blue and bluish-purple cords against a background which was also a shade of blue were somewhat non distinctive.

Overall, I thought this was an effective visualization. I chose it because it was visually appealing to me, and represented a subject I’m interested in. Moreover, I like the creativity of the arrangement.
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11-21-2014, 01:27 PM
Post: #2
RE: Week 13: The Evolution of Video Game Controllers
The visualization is awesome. The title is appealing and caught my eye instantly.
Things I liked:
1. I liked the illustrations of controllers rather than just putting their names out.
2. The color coded keys where each distribution is not represented in a color palette but the key itself resembles that color.
3. Representing the evolution of each class of controller as a tree (top-down).
4. The distribution is done based on color(for each class of controllers) and year.
5. I think the blue and bluish-purple is visible clearly in the image (well it doesn't mix with the background)
6. The ticks on "year" axis are are marked at uneven spaces based on the size of the tallest controller from that year.
7. Gives us an idea about how long have video games existed.

I didn't:
1. The cords look nice but is messy.If 2 similar colors (differ only slightly in contrast) overlap then it might get difficult to follow one cord. Also, in a certain area, if there are lots of cords crossing each other, then it can get difficult to track a particular cord even if they are color coded.
2. No user interactivity. Wish if there was a mouse-hover or a way to select a particular controller or the class of controllers to view more details about it. (may be something like names of couple of games that were/could be played on that controller.)
3. The logo is not fitting the title.

I think its a effective visualization.

It would be so much interesting to know the comparision between evolution of controllers (and games) and difficulty in studying for the kids (the effects of it over the kids in those years).
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11-21-2014, 03:46 PM
Post: #3
RE: Week 13: The Evolution of Video Game Controllers
Great critique, I agree with this for the most part.

As touched upon above, I feel that the design decision contributing most to the effectiveness of the visualization is the use of images of each controller type. Without this, the visualization would be rather meaningless given the wide variety of controller types, especially when it comes to those that are uncommon and/or antiquated.

Regarding discussion of color, I feel that is it poorly used to encode controller type. While the legend attempts to use color to distinguish between controller types, I feel that portions of this information is lost due to indistinguishable hues and intertwined node connections. I would go as far as suggesting that encoding controller type with color is not necessary as I feel the controller image effectively accomplishes this.

As mentioned above, I very much agree that this particular node-link layout is difficult to follow. Given that the goal of this visualization is to better understand that network topology, I feel that a node-link layout is most appropriate. However, the actual layout itself could use improvement to minimize overlapping links and improve readability. If an optimized layout does not eliminate the challenges above, interactivity could be incorporated to help better understand hierarchy through the use of highlight for example.
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11-23-2014, 12:41 PM
Post: #4
RE: Week 13: The Evolution of Video Game Controllers
Even though the topic is very interesting and the use of icons helps, I found it hard to follow the time lines using a mouse scroll in a zoomed in figure, so I need a longer computer screen to follow the progression smoothly. And the dashed horizontal white lines are not easily visible.

I think adding interactivity to this visualization will help in many ways, for example adding a highlight effect when a certain year or an interval of years is selected.
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11-23-2014, 03:43 PM
Post: #5
RE: Week 13: The Evolution of Video Game Controllers
Quote:1) The “cord” concept is cute, but like real life cords, it tends to get tangled up and confusing. It gets hard to follow at times.
Agreed, it was somewhat hard to follow certain cords all the way down the chart. They really should have added interactive filtering so that you could highlight only particular controller designs.

Quote:3) More user interactivity would have been nice too - for example, a zoom-in or out feature to focus on details or a way to select only one type of controller and filter out the other archetypes.
It might just be me, but I didn't find any interactive features in this chart.

Quote:4) The color scheme was mostly good, but the blue and bluish-purple cords against a background which was also a shade of blue were somewhat non distinctive.
I personally didn't have trouble with this, but I can definitely see your point, they should have been a little more careful with their choice of colors.
Although in some ways the color scheme they have choose is quite serene and peaceful and somewhat reminds me of the original gamecube controller color scheme.


Quote:Overall, I thought this was an effective visualization. I chose it because it was visually appealing to me, and represented a subject I’m interested in. Moreover, I like the creativity of the arrangement.
I too like this visual for the subject and arrangement, it is very neat to see how controllers have evolved over time. That being said, I think they could have really worked on adding some interactive features such as controller type highlighting, and wiki links to articles for a given controller.
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11-24-2014, 04:59 PM
Post: #6
RE: Week 13: The Evolution of Video Game Controllers
Great write-up, amirali1985. I also liked the cord concepts for the evolution of each controller though some of the evolution paths do not seem entirely correct. Not entirely sure if I agree or disagree with the visualization's crest concept. It does not seem to be a distraction as-is. Totally agree with the comment on interaction. There could be many features added interactively as in most visualizations online. The colors also seemed to be not be a distraction. It would be interesting to see if these colors are suitable for any visually impaired persons, however. All-in-all, this is an awesome & fun visualization especially for any gamers in the audience.
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11-29-2014, 12:57 PM
Post: #7
RE: Week 13: The Evolution of Video Game Controllers
It's an interesting concept but I agree that it really needed some interactivity. The cords became way too tangled to follow in the center and the three shades of blue, blue/purple, purple were pretty similar to my worn out eyes. I also question why some controllers started a new branch such as the NES advantage. It was based on arcade control sticks which would mean they needed an arcade cabinet somewhere above leading into it. Not to mention there were other joy stick controllers such as the Atari 2600's that easily could have lead into it as well. Over it it's a fun but ultimately popcorn visualization.
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11-30-2014, 11:48 PM
Post: #8
RE: Week 13: The Evolution of Video Game Controllers
I like this visualization overall, mostly because I am a gamer. I think this successfully conveys its message to its intended audience effectively and it is important to remember that.

That aside i do have a few things that I do not like. One is x-axis location does not mean anything. Also when lines cross each other it does not necessarily seem to mean anything either. I think this could cause confusion especially among those who do not know a lot about gaming controllers.

What is really cool about this however is it is hard to find all this information compiled into one place let alone an appealing visualization.
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12-01-2014, 12:00 AM
Post: #9
RE: Week 13: The Evolution of Video Game Controllers
The vis is pretty cool, although somewhat cluttered. It's graphical nature is needed to convey the kind of information (basically it's more of a qualitative than a quantitative vis) and thus works well for that purpose. The background color however doesn't do it much good, it kinda makes things hazy. Maybe it's needed to obscure the tangled wire mess which covers up most of the picture. I think the wires were redundant.
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12-01-2014, 12:33 AM
Post: #10
RE: Week 13: The Evolution of Video Game Controllers
This visualization feels like a game of “Find your Favorite Controller” to me. Stepping back and looking at the diagram doesn't give me a very good feel for the temporal milestones in the controllers' evolution. Locking the controllers into year buckets might help me to better understand when evolutionary leaps were made.

The artwork in this visualization is appealing to me. It's fun for me to see so many controllers that I had forgotten about. Clearly this visualization is about fun and the visualization succeeds in being fun to look at.

This chart is far from complete. There is much more to show concerning controllers integrated into consoles, for example the Game Boy: It's a controller with the console built in to it. If this part of the evolution of controllers was included, then that Wii controller wouldn't be without lines attached to it at the bottom of the chart. It's interesting that consoles with built-in controllers came about before controllers with screens meant to supplement a standalone console.
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