If there's one thing that's revolutionised gaming over the past couple of years it's the Wiimote. Instead of picking up a weird-looking joystick and attempting complex button presses to play games, you just pretend you're playing tennis with what looks like a remote controller in your hand - that's all you need for wholesome Nintendo family fun.
New US outfit TiltnTwist is setting out to bring a similar slice of gaming simplicity to your mobile phone. Launching with four Windows Mobile games that drive the action by using your phone's camera to generate the in-game motion, it's got big plans to roll out its vision of mobile gaming onto as many devices as possible.
We caught up with founders Robert Goodale and Trev Huxley to find out some more.
Pocket Gamer: Why do you think gesture-based games are such a good area to focus on?
Trev Huxley: When I first saw an early demo of gesture control on a phone I just went NUTS - my head exploded with ideas. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I still get a total kick out of it and all one has to do is look at the success of the Wii to know I'm not alone in finding gesture controlled games fun. Bob and I have a blast every day dreaming these games up and that alone has to be reason enough to focus on this area.
What was the first gesture-controlled game you worked on?
Bob Goodale: Tilt-A-World was my first gesture-based mobile game, which came out October 2006, two weeks before the Nintendo Wii. At that time, Trev and I had gotten so excited by what gesture control did to gameplay, we just thought, "We have to do this." Now of course the Wii has gone on to show that we didn't have a bad bit of insight there.
And in Japan, NTT DoCoMo has an entire line of phones featuring gesture control that have done extraordinarily well, which goes to validate further the idea of gesture-based games in the mobile arena. But beyond that, Trev and I being old content hounds, if we love it, we figure everyone else will. And we love it. So that's my single most powerful reason for saying they're a good area to focus on!
You're currently using GestureTek's camera-based technology for your launch games, but will you be using different technology in future games?
TH: Our focus is building gesture-controlled games and we will use any and all available technologies that can provide us with the ability to detect the motion of the phone. So I guess you could say that we are technology-agnostic.
BG: We are doing this because we love having gesture control in mobile games. As new platforms become available (and show they have some commercial viability) we will be on them as quickly as we can be. So for example, we are in the process of bringing our games over... oh, I guess I need to keep this news quiet for now or my team will kill me...
The mobile games space is increasingly being dominated by brands, both from console games and other media, so do you have any future plans in this area?
TH: Yes, we sure do. But, as you can understand, our plans for new games is under wraps right now. Players can visit the TiltNTwist website and see all our latest games including HyperHamster (developed by OneNine Studios), and Snowboarding TNT, DropZone, and DUI: The Long Drive Home (all developed by Super Happy Fun Fun). Just visit our site from time to time and you just may get a hint of what's coming up...
BG: We have looked at a few opportunities. For the right one, we'd love to do something. As soon as we make some new moves, you'll read about it on Pocket Gamer!
Thanks to Trev and Bob for their time.
You can also check out our more business-oriented interview with the pair on our sister site PocketGamer.biz.