Monday, July 11, 2005

Console Controllers?

I've never come across a review about the current generation console controllers. But who would really look for that? I didn't.

Appearance: 9/10
Feel: 10/10
Buttons: 7/10
Comfort: 9/10

Official Gamecube controllers seem extremely comfortable. My hands never cramped, and I never fumbled for buttons. Nintendo's design of the ABXY button configuration is definiately original, and they are shaped around the thumb instead of being equal sized buttons. It seems odd at first, but once playing games it is apparently that reaching those buttons is easier than the other two controllers.

However, the L & R buttons are somewhat annoying. They have two much travel, and on games that require that these buttons be held for lengthy periods may cause your index fingers to hurt.

Unfortunately, Nintendo's controllers have 5 less buttons that the other two systems controllers. Neither analog stick has a button, there is no Select/Back button, and there is no L2 & R2 or Black & White buttons. This can be limiting at times.

I must also mention the horrendous D-Pad. If trying to control a game with it, it is extremely difficult to get the direction you want. It almost seems as more of a button than a D-Pad. Many 3rd party controllers do not have this problem.

:XBox (S-Style):
Appearance: 9/10
Feel: 9/10
Buttons: 9/10
Comfort: 7/10

The original XBox controllers were awful. Trying to control a game with such an enormous piece of plastic is ridiculous. The ABXY buttons are also too skinny and too close together. The only positives were the trigger design and the solid analog sticks.

Thankfully, Microsoft fixed these issues and slimmed down the controller. It still may feel large to some, but it is a definite improvement. The buttons are better spaced. They effectively fixed all the major problems.

The D-pad responds better than the Gamecube controller, but it's still not perfect. It will still go the wrong direction occasionally.

Appearance: 6/10
Feel: 7/10
Buttons: 8/10
Comfort: 9/10

Previously my favorite controller. Everything is evenly spaced. The size is just right, although the grips are dated.

The biggest problem with the PS2 controller is that the analog sticks feel too loose. They are not solid whatsoever, and they leave you hoping there is a sensitivity control in the games that use them.

A minor problem is the fact that there are two shoulder buttons on each side. While this seems like a good idea, it is easy to push the wrong button while gaming. It would seem that you could user your index and middles figures, but then you don't have a good grip on the controller. How much of a bother this is depends on the game and the user.

The biggest pro which somewhat leads to a con is the Playstation D-Pad. All directions are solid. The fact it is not one big cross prevents a gamer from accidently pushing it in the middle. It's location is excellent for games that use it. However, this causes the analog sticks to be in the middle, which depending on the player may or may not be cumbersome.


All controllers have their strengths and weaknesses. The Playstation controller was great during the PSX era, but now it is definitely dated. The Nintendo controller is mostly comfortable, but is lacking buttons. The XBox controller has a good layout, but may be cumbersome to some gamers.

All and all, it doesn't really matter, unless a gamer prefers a certain controller and is willing to buy a converter to use it with the other systems.

12/21/2005 Update: I give the Xbox 360 wireless controller a perfect 10 in all aspects. It looks great, has good range, is really comfortable, etc.


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