Touch screen controls suck?

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Touch screen controls suck?

Postby VideoGameCritic » October 12th, 2014, 9:55 am

Is it just me, or do touch screen controls suck?  I don't see how anyone could do any serious gaming on a phone or tablet.

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Touch screen controls suck?

Postby Edward1 » October 12th, 2014, 11:02 am

If touch screen controls are used to emulate joysticks or buttons on a screen, then they do indeed suck. For example, I tried playing Duke Nukem 3d on a Kindle and it is an awful experience. Most standard platformers, like 2d Sonic games, suck as well on tablets.  Thankfully I didn't pay for any of these games. They were all the free game of the day once on Amazon.

However, if the game is designed with touchscreens in mind (Such as Angry Birds), then the touch screen adds to the experience.  Generally touch screen works great with these kinds of casual games. Lots of PopCap games, like peggle or plants vs zombies, I find work better on tablets than a gamepad.

I will say most games work best with a controller, and gaming quality will plummet if everything goes touchscreen only. However, I just wanted to point out that some games actually benefit from touch screen controls. They are few and far in between though. But touch screen controls can be used to make games that simply aren't possible with standard controllers. (Fruit Ninja for example)

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Touch screen controls suck?

Postby Sut1 » October 12th, 2014, 12:18 pm

This has been discussed in a recent thread and it will depends on the genre.
Arcade style games, just forget it it's horrid.
However when it comes to RPG's and turn based strategy games, then I would argue they can be better than a traditional controller. You can just touch the option/action required rather than cycling through with a menu with a gamepad.
I would rather play Final Fantasy on my iPhone than on my GBA.
Another genre which fits touch screen nicely is FMV Dragon's Lair type games and point and click adventure games like Monkey Island and Broken Sword.
So no they don't suck, but they don't work for every style of game.

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Touch screen controls suck?

Postby Vexer1 » October 12th, 2014, 1:12 pm

I agree, I tried playing Contra 4 and Contra Redux on a smartphone and the touch controls just did not work very well at all, and you can forget about playing The Pinball Arcade, because the game will randomly register your touches as tilts and make it pretty much impossible to do much in a game.

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Touch screen controls suck?

Postby Atarifever1 » October 12th, 2014, 10:34 pm

They always suck.  Anything where they suck less (like Angry Birds) they still suck.  It is a technological dead end, and as soon as combinations of voice, eye tracking, and motion allow us to get away from them completely, we'll see exactly how horrible they were.  One day, our kids will look at touch screens the way kids now look at   disco balls.  There will be no place for them in the world.  

You touch the very thing you are looking at, and in so doing block that thing from your view!  This is like tuning the radio by shouting above it, or changing the TV channel only with the TV off.  The input method is counter productive to the actual thing it does.  Horrible, horrible, horrible design. The best solution to this problem was actually the DS, with a second screen for touching, that is usually separate from the thing you are looking at.  Unfortunately, Nintendo are not Apple, so that didn't catch on overall.  

(Aside: And this isn't even considering the worst uses of the technology.  Touch screens on infotainment systems in cars.  Yeah, because a non-tactile feedback system you have  to look at to use is the best option while you're, you know, trying to not die at 110KM/H on the highway.  Way to go car manufacturers.  How about next you can only turn the steering wheel by looking in the back seat?)

I am certain of very few things in this world, but I am 100% sure virtually nothing will have touch controls (as we know them) in a decade.  Having a touch screen in 2024 will be like having wood-grain panels on your SNES.   

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Touch screen controls suck?

Postby Segatarious1 » October 13th, 2014, 7:25 am

Touch screens can be used very well, and work well for certain genres. I hate ipad, but Plants vs Zombies works quite well, as do RPG games, and others.

I doubt they will be obsolete at any time in the future.

Nintendo generally has tighter touch controls than Apple because they use different technology and encourage stylus use. Look at the precision offered in their drawing programs for example. Obviously touch screen controls grafted onto old games that used traditional controllers are usually bad or worse.

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Touch screen controls suck?

Postby scotland171 » October 13th, 2014, 11:03 am

Thank you Sut and Segatarious.  You stated the case well.   It depends on genre...just like *all* input methods do.   

Touchscreens have their limitations of course.   Some of those are diminished by using physically sticky keys, and that works if you use an emulator to play a host of games using the same layout pretty well.  There is also Bluetooth, where you can use a standard controller, but that is not ideal.  Then again, what controllers don't have their limitations?   Perhaps bowling is best with a motion controller, or Serious Sam with a joystick and keyboard or Pac Man with buttons on an arcade upright cabinet or driving games with a real wheel and pedals. 

The right tool for the right job, and touchscreens are another tool to choose from. Touchscreens enter the world of inputs, with their own sets of pluses and minuses. 

Here is an example of touchscreen being the best input method I can think of:  Checkers.    One the most basic, and therefore foundational turn based strategy games.   Touch the checker you want to illuminates legal moves...touch where that checker moves to or touch another checker to look for its legal moves. 

Oh, but arcade games don't work well.   How about Missile Command.  Touch where you want your missile to go and voom.   Better than all the track balls I owned over the years...although a PC trackball works really well too.  

Neither a slow paced Checkers nor frantic paced Missile Command were designed for touchscreen control, but they work tremendously well for it.   

And here's the kicker.  While touchscreens are already there on phones, and its portable, and its durable, and requires no extra equipment, or needs recharging on its own, its also intuitive.  Its the quintessence of intuitive.  Touch it, and it obeys.  No learning curve.  From kids coloring programs to puzzle games to physics games to RPGs to touch adventures (no more point and click, its now just touch) to real time frenetic games ...its either competent or awesome for that.    Add to that is that touchscreens have come to us along with other ideas like tilting...also very intuitive.  What controller can mimic that wooden labyrinth game like a smart phone...none, that's how many. 

But, by all means, if you don't like smart phones for gaming, then don't play on them.  Dave doesn't like RPGs, Atarifever doesn't like touchscreens, but something for everyone, and the lots of ways to skin a cat.

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Touch screen controls suck?

Postby Rev1 » October 13th, 2014, 6:56 pm

God I hate touch screen controls but I admit they work pretty well for rpgs and puzzle games. It seems that if the game was made with this in mind it tends to work just fine. The thing I hate is when companies need the extra buttons and they try to fill in the gaps with touch controls. That almost always seems to go straight downhill.

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Touch screen controls suck?

Postby Herschie1 » October 14th, 2014, 3:21 am

I do not like touch screen controls with green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam I am! 

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