Topic: HD Rumble Thoughts

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I was wondering what people thought of HD rumble now that we have had it for a good while. (Didn't want revive a dead thread to ask this...)

I have heard that the best game to demonstrate its capability is 1-2 Switch but I have yet to play that unfortunately.

Otherwise, I am not sure how the HD Rumble has really made anything more immersive. Since having both, I have always preferred the Dual shock 4s meatier rumble. It's not like the DS4 can't spin at different speeds, use the smaller motor on the left or both motors for different feedback types already and generally PS4 games seem to use it's rumble appropriately. The Switch rumble is quite loud (if you are playing with headphones and don't realise that your console is buzzing out loud to others you are with!) And ive not noticed any particularly remarkable differences apart from those mentioned.

Is it better to have HD rumble?
What can be done with it that can't be done with regular rumble?
Am I missing something? Or at least a core game experience that fully demonstrates how good HD rumble is?

I know it feels different to regular rumble and I get that the DS4 is probably more advanced than the N64 rumble pack...



@ralphdibny I turned mine off in 2017 because, as you say, it can be obnoxiously loud and most of my gaming is at night when others are sleeping and I need to be discreet. I don't particularly miss it, but to an extent I think I've forgotten what I'm missing. I do remember liking the subtle vibrations in Mario Kart 8. But the vibrations in Rocket League? Too much for quiet gaming.

Edited on by gcunit

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@gcunit fair enough! I turn it off at night too, often I forget though until my partner starts tossing and turning which is when I realise my switch is buzzing.

I always leave it on both PS4 and switch though because I like to enjoy media (film, TV and games) as it was intended by the creator. I'm trying to think of a game where it became too annoying so I turned it off but there isn't one in recent memory.

I used to use the wavebird all the time on the GameCube but now if I go back and play an old game I will use the standard so I can experience the vibration feedback!



Very underwhelming imo. Was definitely cool in 1-2 Switch but outside of that hasn't really added anything substantial to most games to me.



HD rumble was like you felt the vibration from real objects.
It's hard to describe but you can feel it.
HD rumble can make the Joy Cons moved by itself with their vibration if you put down your Joy Con vertically, like on Telephone Mini games.

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3. Euro Trance
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Turned off but something for the future or next gen

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@redd214 @1UP_MARIO fair enough, doesn't seem like I'm missing a trick then.

Could just be a fancy way of marketing the type of rumble that can actually go into a joy con because they couldn't fit the (then) standard motors inside.

@Anti-Matter I guess I see what you mean in some respects, but nothing for me has achieved what couldn't be done with an existing controller. Plus I guess that nothing I've done in game had a real life comparison for me. Like how often do I ping my hat at people so I can take over their bodies? I'd probably get arrested for that.

Any rumbling controller will move if it's put down on a table. I have to leave player 2s remote on the chair when I'm doing the grand Prix challenges in crash team racing (on PS4) because it's thrown itself off the table a few times.

Edited on by ralphdibny



To tell you.... I can play 1-2-Switch by Solo Play, just by myself. 😉
I take control both Joy Cons to be played.
Maybe it sounds crazy but i can play 1-2-Switch by Solo Play, i challenge nobody but myself.
Of course, i will try to play Fair even i have to move both simultaneously with my right and left hands.

Btw, i can "cheat" during playing Zen from 1-2-Switch. Just put the Joy Cons on flat surface, keep them quiet and it will survive for 1 minute gameplay. I don't have to hold the Joy Con for Zen mini game. 😅

Oh, if you play Counting Ball mini game from 1-2-Switch, you can feel the vibration of small balls rolling inside the Joy Cons. The vibration felt like genuine things inside Joy Cons. Different amount of balls inside will determine how does it feel.

Trust me. You will understand the different between HD rumble and Normal Rumble when you are positioning as a Quirky gamer, not as a typical Mainstream gamer.

My Top 5 Music genre:
1. Super Eurobeat
2. Cyber Trance
3. Euro Trance
4. Hardcore Techno
5. Bubblegum / Eurodance

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@ralphdibny I'd definitely say that right now, 1-2 Switch is the best way to demonstrate the difference between ordinary force feedback and HD Rumble. I suppose it's in the subtlety and the wider variety of patterns. I've got plenty of rumble enabled consoles (N64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, Dreamcast, Xbox 360 and Xbox One) but although most of them do offer some degree of variety in how their controllers rumble, it's not as diverse as HD Rumble, in my opinion.

Some may not notice or not notice sufficiently, but the difference is definitely there. Much like how some can more easily detect differences in frame rates or richness of music, in regards to how many channels are on or available at the same time. And with more variety, there's also a larger number of combo's to make.

In 1-2 Switch, there's also a game where the controller becomes a virtual wooden box, in which they place a number of marbles and the object of the game is to gently tilt/move the controller, while it's laying flat on your hand, and guess the number of marbles rolling around. And due to this wider variety of rumble patterns that HD Rumble offers, you can actually feel the marbles rolling around in the virtual wooden box, and also feel the weight being distributed from one side to the other while they do.

In other, regular force feedback controllers, there's only a virtual dial that simply varies the amount/intensity or length of the rumble, so there's only so much you can do with that. Of course, analog triggers then do add an element to that, but it's still not as varied as HD Rumble.

As for actual games that make good use of it: personally, I don't really feel that there's one game that really makes the most of it yet, although I still feel the difference between playing on the Switch and on the Xbox One, or any of the other consoles that I own.

But of course, opinions differ, so to add some context to my own, I've added these links and a list grabbed off a forum page which is apparently now gone, which mention several other games that are listed as making the best use of HD Rumble support:

  • Golf Story has the best use of HD rumble. It's mind-blowing in certain situations
  • Mario Party
  • 1–2 Switch
  • Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (Wayforward claims it contains 150 different rumble events)
  • Thumper
  • Blaster Master Zero

And here's another, explaining what's special about HD Rumble:

One final thing to note, that may or may not be obvious: to get the most out of it, the JoyCon have to be detached from the Switch or from the JoyCon Grip. When they're attached to either of those two, then the HD Rumble is less defined, and largely just feels like normal force feedback.

Hope that helps.

Edited on by ThanosReXXX

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It's a great feature, and more often than not, its integration is so subtle that I have to consciously remind myself that it's there. Perhaps that defeats the purpose of it, but it very subtly adds to the overall experience for a lot of games.

So far, 1-2 Switch and Super Mario Party make the best use of HD rumble from memory. The subtle vibrations and impression emulation of sound effects in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is also great.

I also really appreciated the integration of HD rumble in DOOM (1993) and DOOM II, but it can be a bit noisy during more frenetic sequences.

Considering the low-budget/small-scale nature of Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee, Game Freak could have seized the opportunity to be a bit more ambitious with some of the smaller features, such as simulating the sensation of electrocution when one's Pokémon is struck by an electric attack, or a tackle, or being drenched in water etc.

There is enormous potential, but like many of the features that Nintendo allows, most go unused, even by Nintendo themselves.

Edited on by Silly_G

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The HD rumble in Arms is pretty good too. The different weapons actually feel subtly different to use. I agree it can be too noisy for handheld mode in some games though, I had to turn off rumble when I used to bring my Switch to college and play it in a room where other people were working.


@ThanosReXXX that's an excellent detailed response! I suppose I just don't have the games that demonstrate it well. Golf story is in my backlog so I will keep an eye/ear/hand out for HD rumble when I eventually get around to it. I do want 1-2 switch to collect/play but the party aspect of it puts me off as it is an incredibly infrequent occurrence that my friends and I would get around to playing a party game.

I don't expect that the DS4 could put out 150 different rumbles as Way forward did with the joy-con in Shantae but I still think it's decent. I have the clear controller so I can see that it has motor with a smaller weight and one with a larger weight inside the right and left handles respectively so I expect the dial concept you mentioned could be applied to both motors.

I will try and have a think when I am playing with both controllers to see how big the difference is. From a cursory standpoint, the DS4 feels like driving a car and the joy con feels like holding a mobile phone. Not that either is better but I would miss that meaty DS4 rumble if everything went "HD" for next generation.

Some of the links you provided highlight mario odyssey and labo. I'll certainly pay more attention when I go back and 100% mario odyssey (again, eventually) and I have some new and unused labo coming in the post from eBay so hopefully they are as described and I can get a look in with that.

@Silly_G I do think that in many respects, the best rumble effects are those that you don't notice because that means the immersion is working. It applies to techniques used in film, TV and music too. Naturally it doesn't mean that's the case for every specific example, like breaking the fourth wall or intertextual references.

But yeah it sounds like there's less than 15 games that use it to its full effect and they're not necessarily ones that I've played or noticed the rumble in. What did you notice about the Doom ports? I've nearly finished the original 3 episodes of Doom 1 and it just feels like (joy-con) vibration to me. Granted I have been playing with Joy cons attached or with the pro controller so maybe I just haven't noticed anything in particular.

@Dogorilla that's interesting. Again arms isn't something I've played beyond the demo unfortunately. I do wish some of the Nintendo games that are of less interest to me had big physical sales on them that I could pick them up in!

Edited on by ralphdibny



The Senran Kagura games feature HD rumble. Discuss among yourselves...

Seriously, though, Thanos really hit the nail on the head. I'd add that, most 3rd party games don't support HD rumble explicitly, they just map their normal rumble settings and it emulates normal rumble fine. The first party games do use it, but the point of HD rumble, short of the 1-2-Switch tech demo isn't to wow you and notice it. It's really just "rumble 2.0" - it's an evolutionary superior rumble module with finer, more granular actuations and patters with more rapid start/stop servos. Marketing aside it's just "better, more accurate rumble than the other guys." The sensation of picking up a coin or such in Odyssey. There's just a very subtle tap or bump in the controller. It's not something you're going to actually be aware or conscious of "wow that really feels like I picked up a coin! Amazing!" It's a tactile feedback to events in the game you're not entirely consciously aware of, which is partly the point. Where a regular rumble pack in this situations may make you actually aware "oh it rumbled" the HD rumble can be precise enough you're not even aware the controller is activating motion, it's just adding to your certainty of the on-screen action having been performed by adding a physical response that matches exactly the screen flash, or sound effect. It's all about improving rumble's effect on immersion and positive tactile feedback to game events more than about wowing you with what HD rumble does. In effect, the less you notice it, the better it's working. Where normal rumble might go into a mode making you feel like it's a massage device.



@ralphdibny You're very welcome. Glad I could be of help. And yeah, 1-2 Switch is a hard sell for most of us, but it does an excellent job of showcasing the hardware. I got it on a massive discount, due to some coupons and collected points on a card from my local game shop, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered with it either. I definitely think that it's not worth the full asking price, because the games are WAY too simple for it, but they are fun to play, and can be quite entertaining with some friends or family.

And just make a mental note to remind yourself that when you do go back to any of those games you mentioned, to try them with the JoyCon detached and used separately in both hands. Only then will you notice the full range of what makes HD Rumble so different to normal force feedback such as on Xbox and PlayStation.

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@NEStalgia I agree but it's weird because the switch is the first time I really "noticed" rumble. I guess it's because of the third party offerings. I have however, noticed the lack of rumble in going back to previous generations. But yeah you are right in that I don't recall it in games like mario odyssey which is probably because Nintendo is doing it right, but I pick up on it heavily in third party games. I will say on that note though, that because of that it is probably not emulating "SD" rumble properly because the rumble isn't so noticeable on a DS4. The only times I've really noticed is when I've left the controller on a table recently and it's vibrated. It just got me to thinking about the whole thing. Also I had a conversation with a friend recently about the features of the Switch where I mentioned the HD rumble and he didn't even know it was a thing and my own opinion of it up until then was that it was unremarkable.



@ralphdibny Yeah I think the reason you pick it up in third party games is not only because they're just mapping the regular rumble settings, but also because the HD rumble is a high frequency device, but also has somewhat less inertial mass in the mechanism than what fits inside an XB/PS4 controller, so those "explosion/earthquake" effects mapped to XB/PS controllers have a slower, harder oscillation that makes it feel like a heavier "ground shaking" effect, while the HD unit can just kind of "buzz". It's annoying in both implementations though. Maybe less annoying on traditional larger units. But where it gets different is that on traditional controllers all OTHER effects also just feel like dull ground shaking for shorter times versus HD that can give you a quick sharp tap mapping with picking up a coin or such.

It's one of those strange things to talk about. The marking of "HD RUMBLE!" is kind of over the top for what it is. It makes it sound like a more usable obvous feature. On the other hand, a newer, better rumble design is a really good thing, and given a choice between "try to market it as a feature and go overboard" or put in the spec sheet "enhanced rumble mechanism", it's kind of obvious why they went the way they did and tried to present it as a bigger feature.

I'm sure PS5 and XB Scarlett will also feature "HD rumble" but may not actually advertise it as a feature....rumble will just happen to suck less in the next controlller. Actually, no Sony will market it and pretend they invented it and you can get it Only On Playstation(TM).



I think HD has gotten out of hand it's like the early 90's when everything was extreme. They had extreme drinks and deodorant everything was freaking extreme. There's HD Paint for goodness sakes. Last i checked all paint was of HD quality and absolutely no controller rumble was in high def. Every decade or so marking idiots IMO grab on to some hot term and use it everywhere even where it doesn't belong.


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@NEStalgia haha they may well appropriate it but hopefully they will make it their own. Remember the Wii remote rip off move controllers ended up being an essential part of Playstation VR. To be honest I love both platforms, but it's the games and history that make it for me.

@CurryPowderKeg79 I don't doubt it! Nintendo must have hired a marketing whizz for the Switch generation. I've never heard of HD paint though but it's like that joke on Futurama with the TV being higher definition than real life. I had an interesting discussion with a colleague where I told him about a video I saw that stated most humans won't benefit from 8k screen technology because it's beyond the capabilities of most human eyes. He retorted with an article from the head of nVidia (I think) that said it's the next big thing. I told him he would say that considering he runs a company that makes graphics cards....

Edited on by ralphdibny



@ralphdibny It's very under-utilized. The best use that comes to mind for me was Mario Odyssey where you used it to find some moons. There were a couple minigames in Mario Party that used it too. I actually really like the one where you are trying to empty rock candy from a jar. It really did feel like the candy was moving around in the joycon to me.

I suspect developers aren't using it for fear of turning off players who use 3rd party controllers or don't use rumble in general.

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HD Rumble is really well implemented in a lot of Nintendo games. Aside from the obvious things like 1-2 switch, Labo, and the moon hunting in Odyssey, there's Splatoon 2, where each weapon feels different and you have the lovely subtle bump as you dive into ink and super jump.

Multiplatform games don't generally use it, and often implement it badly by just setting one frequency and apparently never even bothering to test it...

I'm hopeful it will become a standard feature in the next gen consoles, and just become a normal thing that all games use.

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