And On The Seventh Day, He Forgot About The D-Pad

Posted by pickassoreborn (535 posts) -

 Let's face it. There was a time where there was the daddy of all controllers. All those misty-eyed years past, we remembered when Sony swaggered into the console market with an undeniable confidence. They brought us fresh, new experiences of futuristic roller-coasters, roundhouse kicks and sideways-screeching cars garnished with as many manga speedlines as you care to imagine. All this required a controller which didn't suck. Looking back on the history of the humble controller, I bear the scars and muscular pain from wrestling with the Atari 2600 controller. The NES controller is classic for sure, but ergonomical it most definitely not. A need was there and Sony delivered - lo! Here is a controller for the ages. A controller to tell your children and grandchildren.
 
The Dual Analog Controller.
 
The daddy of the DualShock and DualShock2, this was the humble piece of plastic that allowed me to navigate those chevron-adorned meanders so precisely. The confident glow of the Analog LED almost made me feel I was part of the world I was pretending to inhabit. Good controllers melt into the fingers. You hardly notice them unless they vibrate at the appropriate times. Aha! That'll be where the aforementioned DualShocks come in.
 
I don't remember many vibration-inspired experiences in my time playing videogames, but that bit in Metal Gear Solid with Psycho Mantis asking you to put your controller down and making it move through the power of telekinesis? It wass hard not to utter a George Takei "Ohmy". Finally, a controller I could quite happily play with until my  arthritic bones are dust. I would never, ever leave this controller. Nope. Never.
 
Cut to October 2005. I am driving a bright red Ferrari around the most photorealistic representation of Tokyo I've ever laid my eyes on. There's a gathering throng around me waiting to play Project Gotham Racing 3. No dice, losers. I'm in this experience and i fucking love it. This controller is sweet too. Soon after, money changed hands and I staggered back home with a box of Xbox 360 and continuing the racing from the comfort of my own sofa. The 360 controller is everything to me. It's my new favourite thing. I could kiss the designer of this thing. Surely he has wrestled with those very same controllers of the past and experienced the DualShock2 enough to give us all the human interface device of the future. Show me his face, I will put up framed photos of him in my house.
 
Cut to June 2007. I'm smashing those framed photos off my walls and shouting at the controller which once brought me so much, but like so many things - fallen at the last hurdle. Pac-Man Championship Edition's menu music is happily gurgling away as I stare with grim intent at the one thing which had got me in such a state. The one thing I didn't have to use when screeching around photo-realistic street corners being entertained by the click of Kudos.
 
Hello, 360 d-pad. You plastic whore, you.
 
They got so many things right with the 360 pad. The triggers are perfect, the analog sticks have just the right amount of give to them. Those bumpers which appeared to not be as forgiving as the DualShock shoulder buttons soon became the new way to tap through weapons and menu screens. That d-pad though. It mocks me with its flagrant blending of two geometric shapes. Circle into cross does not go. Nope. Try it on puzzle games like Bejeweled 2 and you'll soon see how control suddenly becomes an abstract, a total disconnect. I didn't want to move there, d-pad. I wanted to move there instead. What's that? I failed again on Finity Mode and it had nothing to do with my ability? Grr.
 
This is even more painfully obvious in the utterly flawless Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. I've not been so addicted and angered by a game in recent times; the addiction is that tried-and-tested gameplay mixed with a twist of pure ingenuity and a slowly-growing conga line of ghosts. The pain is not being in complete control of that iconic yellow disc. It's frustrating beyond belief when you miss yet another turn - Pac-Man DX is all about precision and knowing when to turn at the right moment. On the earlier levels, it's great. When the speed is ramped up to maximum, it's totally chaotic.
 
I collapse into a heap surrounded by my smashed up house staring at that one piece of useless plastic which cost me an impressively high score. One of the best pieces of menu music in the history of menu music still doesn't distract me from my stupor. A startling realisation sets in that maybe I bought Pac-Man DX for... the wrong console? Surely not. As if on cue, a DualShock3 saunters out from behind a curtain and giggles to itself. I think this part was all a hallucination-fuelled state from my ordeal, but I'm not sure. I stare at it and I swear an expression forms onto its hard casing. A smirk. A grin. It knew it had the right stuff from the very beginning - one of the best d-pads in controller history.

#1 Posted by pickassoreborn (535 posts) -

 Let's face it. There was a time where there was the daddy of all controllers. All those misty-eyed years past, we remembered when Sony swaggered into the console market with an undeniable confidence. They brought us fresh, new experiences of futuristic roller-coasters, roundhouse kicks and sideways-screeching cars garnished with as many manga speedlines as you care to imagine. All this required a controller which didn't suck. Looking back on the history of the humble controller, I bear the scars and muscular pain from wrestling with the Atari 2600 controller. The NES controller is classic for sure, but ergonomical it most definitely not. A need was there and Sony delivered - lo! Here is a controller for the ages. A controller to tell your children and grandchildren.
 
The Dual Analog Controller.
 
The daddy of the DualShock and DualShock2, this was the humble piece of plastic that allowed me to navigate those chevron-adorned meanders so precisely. The confident glow of the Analog LED almost made me feel I was part of the world I was pretending to inhabit. Good controllers melt into the fingers. You hardly notice them unless they vibrate at the appropriate times. Aha! That'll be where the aforementioned DualShocks come in.
 
I don't remember many vibration-inspired experiences in my time playing videogames, but that bit in Metal Gear Solid with Psycho Mantis asking you to put your controller down and making it move through the power of telekinesis? It wass hard not to utter a George Takei "Ohmy". Finally, a controller I could quite happily play with until my  arthritic bones are dust. I would never, ever leave this controller. Nope. Never.
 
Cut to October 2005. I am driving a bright red Ferrari around the most photorealistic representation of Tokyo I've ever laid my eyes on. There's a gathering throng around me waiting to play Project Gotham Racing 3. No dice, losers. I'm in this experience and i fucking love it. This controller is sweet too. Soon after, money changed hands and I staggered back home with a box of Xbox 360 and continuing the racing from the comfort of my own sofa. The 360 controller is everything to me. It's my new favourite thing. I could kiss the designer of this thing. Surely he has wrestled with those very same controllers of the past and experienced the DualShock2 enough to give us all the human interface device of the future. Show me his face, I will put up framed photos of him in my house.
 
Cut to June 2007. I'm smashing those framed photos off my walls and shouting at the controller which once brought me so much, but like so many things - fallen at the last hurdle. Pac-Man Championship Edition's menu music is happily gurgling away as I stare with grim intent at the one thing which had got me in such a state. The one thing I didn't have to use when screeching around photo-realistic street corners being entertained by the click of Kudos.
 
Hello, 360 d-pad. You plastic whore, you.
 
They got so many things right with the 360 pad. The triggers are perfect, the analog sticks have just the right amount of give to them. Those bumpers which appeared to not be as forgiving as the DualShock shoulder buttons soon became the new way to tap through weapons and menu screens. That d-pad though. It mocks me with its flagrant blending of two geometric shapes. Circle into cross does not go. Nope. Try it on puzzle games like Bejeweled 2 and you'll soon see how control suddenly becomes an abstract, a total disconnect. I didn't want to move there, d-pad. I wanted to move there instead. What's that? I failed again on Finity Mode and it had nothing to do with my ability? Grr.
 
This is even more painfully obvious in the utterly flawless Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. I've not been so addicted and angered by a game in recent times; the addiction is that tried-and-tested gameplay mixed with a twist of pure ingenuity and a slowly-growing conga line of ghosts. The pain is not being in complete control of that iconic yellow disc. It's frustrating beyond belief when you miss yet another turn - Pac-Man DX is all about precision and knowing when to turn at the right moment. On the earlier levels, it's great. When the speed is ramped up to maximum, it's totally chaotic.
 
I collapse into a heap surrounded by my smashed up house staring at that one piece of useless plastic which cost me an impressively high score. One of the best pieces of menu music in the history of menu music still doesn't distract me from my stupor. A startling realisation sets in that maybe I bought Pac-Man DX for... the wrong console? Surely not. As if on cue, a DualShock3 saunters out from behind a curtain and giggles to itself. I think this part was all a hallucination-fuelled state from my ordeal, but I'm not sure. I stare at it and I swear an expression forms onto its hard casing. A smirk. A grin. It knew it had the right stuff from the very beginning - one of the best d-pads in controller history.

#2 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11421 posts) -

The 360 d-pad is one of the worst things ever. I can't stand it. 

#3 Posted by Kyreo (4602 posts) -

yeah.... It's terrible.  So what else is new?

#4 Posted by The_Hiro_Abides (1270 posts) -

I'm surprisingly mostly used to the 360 D-Pad. Occasionally I'll hit something and get a slightly different input than I expected. 
 
Although I do want something better for fighting games.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.