Multiple Forms of Interaction in Games

Recent developments in digital game hardware allows for multiple methods of interacting with a given game. For example, the Nintendo DS incorporated the use of both a stylus-based touchscreen and tangible game control buttons. Similarly, Android and iOS games often use a combination of touchscreen controls and accelerometer-based controls.

In these platforms, there is often a moment in which players must transition from one mode of interaction to another, or use both simultaneously. I believe this transition or need to multitask a player’s mode(s) of interaction can be utilized to develop new skills.

For example, the Android game “Speed 3DX” is an accelerometer based game in which the player speeds through a tunnel and must avoid obstacles by tilting their device, causing the POV to “roll” and avoid whatever is impeding the path.

An accelerometer based game for Android, Speed 3DX

Similarly, the Android game “The Impossible Game” is a constantly moving side-scroller in which the player must tap the screen to jump over obstacles on the path. These games have almost identical goals, but the method of interaction in which the player deals with those goals is different.

The Impossible Game has similar goals as Speed 3DX, but is touchscreen based.

How would the player’s experience change in a game that combines these two? For example, they might have the option of either rolling away from the obstacle via the accelerometer, or tapping to jump over it. Would the play experience change even further if only certain obstacles could be rolled away from, while others could only be jumped over? This would arguably build the player’s reflexes and force them to concentrate on which mode of interaction they are supposed to use.

That being said, while this is all pretty theoretical, I wonder if this transition between different modes of interaction could be emulated in an analog game. Or perhaps this feature is unique to digital games?