Touch Screen vs Traditional Controlers


This article compares the use of touch screens and traditional input as controls for mobile games. Specifically, the iPhone and Nintendo DS are compared with a similar game on both platforms. Evaluation takes into account the number of deaths and average completion time for the same level in both games.



  • The researchers used a game that was common to both platforms and had a similar interface and game play.
  • The use of gamers of all levels for the DS gives a good representation for that system
  • Compared many different kinds of solutions to the touch screen's inability to provide haptic feedback.


  • I would have liked to see more research done into the stickers that can be placed on the screen of the iPhone. It seems to me that one of the main difficulties in playing on a touch screen is the inability to navigate the interface without looking.
  • Although DS gaming levels seem adequately represented, the lack of experienced iPhone gamers would skew the results in the DS's favor. I think the results were still representative of the difficulty of using a touch screen vs. specialized buttons, but the results may be exagerated.
  • The acknowledgment of the author that the iPhone results increased more rapidly seems to support that some of the poor results on the iPhone may be a reflection of inexperience rather than interface quality.