The Great Debate of Our Time: X or Cross?

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Posted by BladeOfCreation (1434 posts) 8 days, 6 hours ago

Poll: The Great Debate of Our Time: X or Cross? (218 votes)

It's called X. 91%
I call it Cross. 9%

Apparently the question of what the "X" symbol on a PlayStation controller is called came up on Twitter, and eventually the UK PlayStation account weighed in on the side of "cross." What does the Giant Bomb community think?

Is this merely a cultural divide between the US and the UK?

Avatar image for bisonhero
#1 Edited by BisonHero (11637 posts) -

It's cross if you're Japanese and have a differing impression of symbols and English, and it's X if you're basically anywhere else in the English-speaking world. I think UK PlayStation weighed in that way only because of their Sony overlords (I would expect Sony of America to react the same way).

In Japan, a circle is their checkmark meaning "accept/yes/positive", while a "cross" is their X meaning "decline/no/negative." Which got very confusing on the PlayStation controller, because to Japanese, the circle is obviously the yes button, and the X the no button. But outside of Japan, the circle button is about as neutral as the triangle or square button, while the X button means "do it" sort of like X marks the spot or something.

The only place where X means cross outside of Japan is for English-speaking people who are really into motocross or whatever, where I think X gets used as cross as an easy shorthand.

Avatar image for boozak
#2 Posted by BoOzak (2681 posts) -

I'm from the UK and I call it "X" even though it's actually cross for reasons mentioned above. I was going to say the Playstation controller doesnt have letters but then I remembered L1,L2,L3,R1,R2,R3 it's kind of a mess when you think about it.

At least it's better than all the buttons being numbered. (also, bring back start and select you fools!)

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#3 Posted by Efesell (4632 posts) -

I'm sure anyone Sony affiliated has to stay on official brand and call it the Cross button but it's never gonna be a thing outside of Japan I'm sorry.

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#4 Edited by BisonHero (11637 posts) -
@boozak said:

At least it's better than all the buttons being numbered. (also, bring back start and select you fools!)

Oh man, the era of PC gamepads just having buttons numbered like 1-12 was the absolute worst. Having to map every damn game to a gamepad the first time you loaded it up, sometimes even for a console game where they had obvious button assignments in mind but you have no idea what they are, was terrible. I'm so glad we've progressed to the point where we have the publicly used APIs to show Xbox/Playstation controller buttons and have a button mapping in mind.

Sucks to be a third-party controller manufacturer I guess, since most people buy official Microsoft/Sony controllers now, but to be honest, it always felt like much more R&D/engineering money went into Nintendo/Microsoft/Sony controllers than all those so-so PC gamepads.

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#5 Posted by wollywoo (324 posts) -

In my experience (American English), a cross is always +, and × is never referred to as a cross. However I believe in other countries this may differ. e.g., I think in the UK tic-tac-toe is called "noughts and crosses".

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#6 Posted by BaconHound (304 posts) -

@wollywoo said:

In my experience (American English), a cross is always +, and × is never referred to as a cross. However I believe in other countries this may differ. e.g., I think in the UK tic-tac-toe is called "noughts and crosses".

Interesting. The + would be 'plus' to me. The only symbol I associate with the word "cross" has religious implications, and I'm not even religious.

On-topic, it's definitely the "X" button.

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#7 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1434 posts) -

@bisonhero: This is great info, thanks! I remember hearing about the X & O thing before. I just don't know any American English speakers who would refer to an X as a "cross."

Now I'd be interested to hear what a Japanese speaker calls these buttons, and what that translates into.

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#8 Edited by Zeik (5239 posts) -

I know and accept that it's officially "Cross", and that makes sense since the rest of them are shapes and not letters, but nothing in this world will ever convince me not to just say "X".

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#9 Posted by Onemanarmyy (4582 posts) -

on the xbox controller i say X, on the playstation controller i say Cross :O

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#10 Edited by Gundato (361 posts) -

It's cross and always has been. Sony remind us every few years.

But I personally call it "X" because I give zero shits. Although I guess it might make sense to make a conscious effort to migrate to "cross" to avoid any confusion when saying what button does what. Square, Triangle, Cross, and Circle are "unique" to Sony whereas X has collisions.

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#11 Posted by ThisIsACoolTag (119 posts) -

I know it's officially cross, like Street Fighter Cross Tekken. I think I refer to it as either, depending who I'm talking to.

@boozak said:

At least it's better than all the buttons being numbered. (also, bring back start and select you fools!)

I read somewhere years ago that the PS buttons were chosen because a circle is made from one constant line, the cross is made from 2 lines, a triangle 3 and a square 4.

If that's true, it's 1-2-3-4 in the same layout as Nintendo A-B-X-Y

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#12 Posted by wollywoo (324 posts) -

@baconhound: Yeah, I'd more commonly call + a plus symbol. But you could also call it a cross (e.g. Red Cross symbol.)

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#13 Posted by FacelessVixen (2702 posts) -

It looks like an X, therefore it was always the X button.

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#14 Posted by delrueofdetroit (87 posts) -

Will Wright didn't die for you gamer sins on an 'ex'.

Online
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#15 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1434 posts) -

@baconhound: Yeah, I think of this the same way. A "cross" is specifically a "t" shape with a longer bottom part.

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#16 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1434 posts) -

In all seriousness, I want to give a big "thank you" to the folks responding to this in the context of cultural/linguistic differences! It's fun to say, "IT'S DEFINITELY X!" or whatever, but I legit find this sort of stuff interesting!

And hey, I figured the forum could use a bit of levity this week!

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#22 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4582 posts) -

in my language whenever we have to sign off on something with a checkmark or a X we tend to use the word 'cross' for the X mark. But if i saw a X on a treasure map and had to talk about it in english i would say X marks the spot instead of Cross marks the spot. I would say 'cross me off the list' instead of 'x me off the list' though. Funny.

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#25 Posted by stantongrouse (243 posts) -

It's the only non shape in our house - Triangle, Square, Circle and Ex. When I just mentioned this to my partner and she became aware of this of mixed name rule she suggested this shouldn't be happening. I fear there might be a cross coup about to happen.

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#26 Posted by lobster_johnson (71 posts) -

It's called the 'multiply' button.

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#27 Posted by Humanity (19039 posts) -

Well they don’t call it the Crossbox

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#28 Posted by North6 (1195 posts) -

I've heard Sony refer to it as a cross before, it's adorable. I'd guess that if you asked people across the world to draw a cross, they'd draw a +, or t, before an x, but why not.

Avatar image for frodobaggins
#29 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2119 posts) -

I mean in games it's always been listed as the "cross" button. I live in the UK and me and everybody I know has always called it "X button".

Avatar image for shagge
#30 Edited by ShaggE (9311 posts) -

X gon' give it to ya. Not "Cross gon' give it to ya". I think I've made my case.

Edit: Then again, there's probably an Apologetix song or something called Cross Gon' Give It To Ya, so...

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#31 Edited by BisonHero (11637 posts) -

@humanity: Tell me, what was your favourite Crossbocross 360 game?

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#32 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3913 posts) -

I remember this coming up years ago and I'd imagine Sony probably love it. It's one of those things that makes easy discussion and as long as you have someone saying "Actually it's pronounced Cross" you'll get brilliant engagement on it.

I look forward to this event happening again for the PS6 because time is a flat circle.

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#33 Posted by OurSin_360 (6226 posts) -

It's an X, I mean it's their console and they can call it what they want, but it's an X. A cross would look more like a "+" IMO

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#34 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4582 posts) -

I'm actually surprised so many folk would rather call + a cross than a x. Like i get that the religious cross is sort of + shaped, but calling + a plus, because that's the actual symbol instead of an approximation, makes way more sense to me.

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#35 Posted by Efesell (4632 posts) -

@onemanarmyy: I would only do so in the context of which one of those would make you think of Cross, since at least + is sorta close enough, whereas to me there is really no association at all with an X and a cross.

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#36 Posted by OurSin_360 (6226 posts) -

I'm actually surprised so many folk would rather call + a cross than a x. Like i get that the religious cross is sort of + shaped, but calling + a plus, because that's the actual symbol instead of an approximation, makes way more sense to me.

I mean, to me the simple fact that we have to type the word Cross and not just X when talking about it means it's an X lol. It may just be, like said earlier, a language thing.

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#37 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4582 posts) -

@efesell: That's so interesting to me. Like when i say 'cross me off the list' i expect that person to put a X next to my name, not a + . Or when i hear someone going cross eyed, i'd expect an emoji with x as eyes instead of +'s or something :D Or i think about those fighting games with a X in the middle.

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#38 Posted by Efesell (4632 posts) -

@onemanarmyy: If you said cross me off the list I would expect the name be struck through.

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#39 Edited by SethMode (2098 posts) -

@bladeofcreation said:

@baconhound: Yeah, I think of this the same way. A "cross" is specifically a "t" shape with a longer bottom part.

While I agree, if you showed me a + symbol, and asked me what it is, I'd say "plus". However, I do think if you showed me a + and × symbol together and said "Which one is the cross?" I would say the first 100% of the time.

I understand why this discussion is a thing every few years, and I enjoy it. But I will NEVER be able to make my English-speaking brain think of it as a cross (because it's an X).

I do enjoy forgetting and then re-learning every time the topic does come up about why the confirm button was O on so many Japanese games for so long (and still in some cases).

Getting into the nitty-gritty of the English, the only way X it could really make sense as a "cross" to me is if I were assuming it was just an abbreviated version of "crisscross" which makes it even more absurd.

Avatar image for dodobasse
#40 Posted by DodoBasse (114 posts) -

I call it by its proper name:

The Cruciform

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#41 Posted by Sombre (510 posts) -

Only perverts call it cross

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#42 Edited by Shindig (4984 posts) -
In an interview with Teiyu Goto, designer of the original PlayStation controller, he explained what the symbols mean: The circle and cross represent "yes" and "no," respectively (which explains their common use as "confirm" and "cancel" in games;

So there's a logic to it. You'll notice in sporting events, if they ever get down to a shootout, successful goals are marked as O and misses are X. And who hasn't had a school test marked with an X to show you're wrong? School's probably the last time I ever called it a cross, to be fair. Cross and ticks.

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#43 Posted by fisk0 (6965 posts) -

Since the other buttons depict geometrical shapes rather than letters, I think it makes sense to call it by its cross shape rather than the letter X, or for that matter the Circle button instead of the O button (and Triangle instead of the Greek letter Delta).

And, yeah, like onemanarmyy's reply, "cross" sounds more natural than "X" in my language (where we also distinguish between the + cross (kors) and the x cross (kryss), so the confusion mentioned in other replies isn't really a thing here).

@boozak said:

At least it's better than all the buttons being numbered. (also, bring back start and select you fools!)

Oh man, the era of PC gamepads just having buttons numbered like 1-12 was the absolute worst. Having to map every damn game to a gamepad the first time you loaded it up, sometimes even for a console game where they had obvious button assignments in mind but you have no idea what they are, was terrible. I'm so glad we've progressed to the point where we have the publicly used APIs to show Xbox/Playstation controller buttons and have a button mapping in mind.

Sucks to be a third-party controller manufacturer I guess, since most people buy official Microsoft/Sony controllers now, but to be honest, it always felt like much more R&D/engineering money went into Nintendo/Microsoft/Sony controllers than all those so-so PC gamepads.

The worst thing about that stuff was that the buttons on the controllers were numbered like 1-12 but on the system level (and when you mapped them in-game) they were numbered 0-11 , so the in-game label was always one off from the button labels.

Moderator
Avatar image for jamesyfx
#44 Posted by jamesyfx (161 posts) -

I've always called it X, as with other consoles which have had a button called X - I guess it's just familiar.

I spose it should be the Cross really as every other button is named after it's shape. Never gonna happen though...

I knew someone who used to call the Circle the 'Oh'.

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#45 Posted by MattyFTM (14893 posts) -

Who cares? The aim of communication is to convey a message to someone else. If you are understood, the purpose has been served. Say X, say cross. Both convey the same meaning. It doesn't matter.

Moderator
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#46 Posted by VoleMaulder (111 posts) -

So, I grew up in Greece, where, obviously, I spoke Greek, right? So, in Greek, we would call the d-pad a cross back in NES/SNES/GameBoy era, because it looked like one, and that kinda stuck, even though it didn't apply to every controller. So, if I'm speaking Greek, I call the PS button the letter X. However, in English, I call it a cross, for reasons already covered related to every other symbol on those buttons being a shape and not a letter.

I saw a tweet with pizza related names for all the buttons, which I can also get behind.

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#47 Posted by SethMode (2098 posts) -

So, I grew up in Greece, where, obviously, I spoke Greek, right? So, in Greek, we would call the d-pad a cross back in NES/SNES/GameBoy era, because it looked like one, and that kinda stuck, even though it didn't apply to every controller. So, if I'm speaking Greek, I call the PS button the letter X. However, in English, I call it a cross, for reasons already covered related to every other symbol on those buttons being a shape and not a letter.

I saw a tweet with pizza related names for all the buttons, which I can also get behind.

I love this! So, for a PS controller, in Greek, the d-pad is the cross and the X is the "X" button. Does that mean in English you call the d-pad the d-pad since you call the X the "cross"? Or do you have two crosses?

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#48 Posted by VoleMaulder (111 posts) -

@sethmode said:
@volemaulder said:

So, I grew up in Greece, where, obviously, I spoke Greek, right? So, in Greek, we would call the d-pad a cross back in NES/SNES/GameBoy era, because it looked like one, and that kinda stuck, even though it didn't apply to every controller. So, if I'm speaking Greek, I call the PS button the letter X. However, in English, I call it a cross, for reasons already covered related to every other symbol on those buttons being a shape and not a letter.

I saw a tweet with pizza related names for all the buttons, which I can also get behind.

I love this! So, for a PS controller, in Greek, the d-pad is the cross and the X is the "X" button. Does that mean in English you call the d-pad the d-pad since you call the X the "cross"? Or do you have two crosses?

I'm glad you find it amusing, I do, too, and hadn't really thought about it before today :D

I just call the d-pad a d-pad in English.

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#50 Posted by Nach0Sanchez (120 posts) -

It aint a cross this + would be a cross. x is at a 45 rotation a cross is at 90.