Games Console Controls For Cars

Driving back from San Diego today, thinking about my upcoming interview with Sony next week, and I found myself pondering why cars have steering wheels and pedals these days. Pretty much every kid and young adolscent plays a games console and that means either joystick or console control paddle. And these kids can do all the driving stuff with those controls, and are pretty damn good at it too. So why aren’t manufacturers proposing cars which are driven by using a couple of rocker switches and a few buttons? We need to get hip to the new generation, y’all.

2 thoughts on “Games Console Controls For Cars”

  1. Even in the modern age of power steering and ABS, there is still a lot of physical feedback provided by the steering wheel and pedals setup.

    Your right foot gets brake/acceleration feedback, your left gets clutch feedback, and your hands get steering feedback. These are all crucial to remaining aware of where the car is and what it is doing, and the fact that their “inputs” are routed to different neurological sections of the body helps in the rapid instinctive processing of these signals.

    Pushing buttons on a panel and twiddling a joystick puts all the feedback information through the fingertips. From a neurological bandwidth and signal-processing point of view, it’s not an optimal design.

    Also, the degree to which the automobile’s controls move through physical space also makes the controls more forgiving of minute errors. A 20-inch steering wheel is far more forgiving than a 1-inch wheel would be, because a tiny 1-millimeter hand twitch is inconsequential, instead of disastrous. Also, you’re throwing around a big 1-ton-plus hunk of metal…it makes sense to make the “simple machines” you use to control it match the size of the physical “work” being done.

    FWIW, though, game-style controls can and do work, and are already out there. I’ve seen cars for the disabled that use various joystick and pushbutton controls. It might not be the optimal design, but it’s a feasible one.

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