Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Console Controllers of the Big Three

These should be instantly identifiable by everyone. If you don't know what any of these are, you'd better not be proud. I'm serious. No one should be proud of their ignorance in any subject, but for this... You can be a non-gamer but if you have any kind of contact with popular culture you should have gotten this knowledge through osmosis, if nothing else.

NOTE: Originally this was going to be one long post but I'll split it into 4 with a post dedicated to each console. This post ended up being a general comparison.

The Playstation controller has remained essentially unchanged with regards to ergonomic design since its introduction in 1994. I can understand the "leave well enough alone" attitude on Sony's part but after having used the controllers of its competitors I believe it would behoove the company to look into some revitalization.

Microsoft and Nintendo designed their controllers very ergonomically. (Well, ok, Microsoft stumbled in America initially, but I'll get into that in a dedicated post.) They just fit into your hands naturally. The balance has been adjusted so that they settle into a solid neutral position when you rest them on your supporting fingers, the pinky and ring fingers of each hand if you're like me. Your thumbs access all the buttons on the face of the controllers, your middle fingers toggle the 'trigger' buttons and the index fingers press the bumpers or the solitary 'Z' button on the Xbox and Gamecube, respectively.

Contrast this to the Playstation controller. If you have one nearby try resting it in your hands without using your thumbs to apply pressure to the top face. Notice how the controller it weighted towards the front. Unlike the other two, with a Playstation controller I only feel comfortable holding it when I utilize three fingers to support it from the bottom. This leaves only my index fingers to access both L and R 'trigger' buttons.

With FPS games these days exclusively using the 'R1- Fire Primary Weapon' control scheme I think Sony should get with the times and tweak its controller design just a bit.

See Also:
The Playstation Controller 
The Xbox Controller
The Gamecube Controller
The pre-GameCube Nintendo Controllers