The Playstation Controller
The Gamecube Controller
The pre-GameCube Nintendo Controllers
In my opinion, the Xbox 360 controllers represent the finest development in gamepad ergonomics design yet achieved. Ironically, out of the three I set out to examine I don't personally own an Xbox 360! It's my brother's. Haha, that might not make a difference in some of your minds. You might be thinking, "Well, either way you have one in the household, big diff" but if you have multiple siblings like me you probably understand.
Anyway, it wasn't always like this, as Bonjour Tristesse will happily tell you. J-just the latter portion of his comment hehe.
Let's start from the beginning. The big one. The fat boy. The Duke, as some call it. The one with a logo that clubbed you over the head with brand awareness. The one reputed to have a spy-camera secretly installed behind said logo.
|Three guesses which console this controller was for. Nobody? No takers?|
Consumer outcry in Japan started first, probably because us Asians don't have the large meaty paws that Microsoft apparently thought Americans had. I'm picturing a board meeting with this tacked up on the drawing board.
|Gwarsh, how'm ah suppost tah play vidja games wit a controller dat ain't et least duh siza muh face??|
The Type-S (probably stands for Small) controller came out in Japan and became standard-issue hardware for everywhere else soon after.
For this switch in D-pad and analog stick placement, Microsoft deserves credit for seeing and recognizing that prioritizing the joystick would best serve in-game movement control for 3D environments. However(!), the accolades of innovation belong to the design team at Sega for the Dreamcast console. (And to Nintendo for the N64, but I'll get into that later, ok?)
|Note the triggers, the empty expansion slots, the colour scheme of the X-Y-A-B buttons, and the priority placement of the joystick above the D-pad.|
So yeah, the size reduction came much appreciated. Check them out when placed adjacent to each other. It's like a before-and-after picture.
|Dayum, gurl. You been workin' out? (O_Ô)|
Which leads us up to the present: the Xbox 360 controller.
Well, before I answer that here's a comment Mark posted yesterday for my PS controller post.
|Three fingers supporting.|
These positions are equivalent to the L2 and R2 buttons, yes, but there are three key differences between the Xbox and PlayStation's front button control schemes:
1) The triggers are given priority over the bumpers. In Xbox games that use both buttons the more important action will get assigned to the trigger and the secondary action will be assigned the bumper. Moreover, when given customization options I've found that I enforce this preference myself where possible. It just feels more natural. Unfortunately, in my experience R1 gets priority over R2. Perhaps this is because the game designers simply take the numerical designations into account and nothing else. Furthermore, neither 1 nor 2 line up 'just so' with my index fingers. (T_T)
2) The bumper buttons, the secondary controls, have been set above the triggers. Moving my finger up to press these secondary buttons rather than down like when pressing the L2/R2 feels more natural, too. I confess I don't know why this is so. The gap between the bumper and trigger isn't more nor less than the gap between L1 and L2. Puzzling...
3) The Xbox has a button/trigger combination while the PlayStation has a button/button combo. The tactile sensation of pressing either L1 or L2 is exactly the same whereas pressing the bumper button and pulling the trigger feel drastically different.
I completely understand if this difference, these differences make no difference at all to you. Maybe you don't really care about anything I've said in this entire post. You just pick up and controller and go. Well then, cheers and go on your way. I know at least one person on Sony's design team noticed because the short-lived Dual Analog controller introduced ridges on L2/R2 to distinguish them from L1/R1.
Just in case you're confused, the Dual Analog controller was the first iteration of PlayStation 1 controller that had analog sticks. I know I didn't call them by this, their official name, in the Playstation Controller post. My apologies.
|From top to bottom: original, Dual Analog, DualShock.|