Could this be the minimalist gamepad of the future?

As influential as the Wii has been, the gamepad isn’t going anywhere. Heck, even Nintendo’s latest Wii game likes opposable thumbs more than it does motion control. The future: gamepads + motion + touch. The choice is yours.

But when it comes to gamepads, the excessive buttons on PS3 and 360 controllers have got to go (17 depressible ones to be exact. 17!) They make for lazy gaming. They muck up the interface. They encourage meaningless button mapping. And they fail to encourage the developer to make artistic sacrifices.

Whose to blame for the button madness? None other than Nintendo, who in 1990 released an eight button controller with six action buttons, largely due to the increasing numbers of buttons used by Street Fighter games. (Honestly, Capcom, Street fighter would have been just as good with two kicks and punches as opposed to three apiece.)

But what’s past is past. What I’m interested in is the future of the gamepad, in a post-motion world. And by golly, I think I’ve found it: A dogbone NES controller, with the addition of a single analog stick and two shoulder buttons (rudimentary photoshop job pictured). As many action buttons as the glorious Game Boy Advance, which did well handling all those original 6-button games found on SNES. I might even be willing to spare both the select and start buttons for a single “menu,” home, or guide button.

But having originally favored a second analog stick in addition to fewer buttons, I think it’s high time developers ditch it and figure out how to program an auto camera, so I can just focus on movement and hitting buttons. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Who’s with me!?