Tilting the controller

My girlfriend recently acquired Beautiful Katamari for the 360, and when she is rolling up the town and encounters a wall or otherwise gets stuck, she tilts the controller as she tries to turn, sometimes more than 90 degrees. Lots of people do this, right? It’s a Thing People Do.

So if you think about it, the degree to which a gamer tilts the controller is the measurable difference between the commands they WANT to send the game and the commands they ACTUALLY send the game. The tilt becomes greater as the urgency becomes greater.

This makes sense. Controller-tilting seems to happen to most people in racing games, flight simulators, or games where there is momentum moving through some space, and where that movement is key. It doesn’t happen as much in first-person shooters, rarely in puzzle games.

Sometimes the tilt conveys intended movement beyond what the game allows; maybe the player has maxxed out on turning speed, and they really just can’t turn any faster. But in the case of Katamari, where the double-joystick interface can sometimes be confusing, I’m not sure this is the case.

Imagine, then, if user-friendly games had event listeners that could detect when the controller was being furiously tilted. If the player had some leeway left in her movement, i.e. she was just inputting her commands incorrectly, it could help her out and use the tilt as input. Unfortunately, I don’t own a PS3, so I haven’t had a chance to play around with their Sixaxis controllers. Do some racing/driving/flying/rolling games already do this?

If playing with a DualShock controller (or, by having the vibration on in The Twin Snakes), Naomi will tell the player “to put the controller against (their) arm.” She will then activate the controller’s vibration functions, simulating a shiatsu massage. This occurs after the player has resisted two rounds of torture and is ready to escape. This is also referenced in MGS4, when Psycho Mantis attempts to move the controller again but can’t due to the SIXAXIS, a voiceover of Naomi will say “No more massages for you.”