ninjag.jpg Clive Thompson's latest column over at Wired News discusses the role of the HUD in modern video gaming, and actually acts as a partial rebuttal to a recent Gamasutra article that suggested minimizing on-screen icons and info was the way to go.

Au contraire, says Thompson: "I actually think our HUDs are a deeply impressive achievement -- gaming's contribution to the art of information delivery. The gaming HUD is not merely some ugly, artificial kluge. It's a triumph of data engineering. After all, a good HUD allows you to juggle a ridiculously huge amount of information."

He gives a good example of why HUDs matter, too: "Consider one of my favorite action-games, Ninja Gaiden. The HUD lets me monitor how much health I've got left, how relatively long my health bar is, how much ninja power I have left and how much health my boss-fight enemy has -- all while I'm frantically bouncing backward off the heads of my enemies. This is a superhuman feat of concentration, people; it's about four times as much information as I process at my work desk, even on a good day." So... HUDs - love 'em or leave 'em?