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 Sony's Controllers

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IceMan
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PostSubject: Sony's Controllers   Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:01 am

I'd have sworn I had a topic about this around here somewhere, but I guess I don't. I just looked over my MySpace blogs and I found it in there, so I'm going to start off by doing a copy-and-paste from there.

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Debates about controllers have arrisen on occasion on forums and Iíve had to make the same points several times already so I figured Iíd make a blog about the issue.

First, let me drop an image for future reference.



At top-left is the DualShock 2 controller, as seen with the PlayStation 2. At top-right is the Dual Analog controller that predated it on the PSX, before rumble was added to follow after Nintendoís "Rumble Pack" for the Nintendo 64. At the bottom is the original PlayStation controller, before analog control sticks were added to follow the analog control standard on the Nintendo 64.

First off, as you can see, analog control was never intended originally, despite Sony wanting to move to 3D gaming. It boggles the mind how they felt that the old D-pad would suffice for control in a 3D gaming environment, but they lacked the foresight to employ an analog control stick for more advanced movement in 3D space. At least Nintendo was wise enough, as analog control sticks were standard since the design days of the Nintendo 64. Sony later followed suit with it tacked onto a modified version of their controller, but they tacked it onto the lower-middle.

This is my first gripe with Sonyís controllers. You should never have to reach to the lower-middle of the controller for our primary mode of control. The left analog stick should be where the D-pad sits, in the thumbís natural resting location. Putting it where it is makes the controller symmetrical, but while I am all for symmetry and myself cannot help but do things symmetrically, it is ridiculous in practice when it overrides practicality and logic. I would love for them to stop being stubborn and move the darned thing to where the D-pad is, but that would mean accepting that they were wrong to place it where they have, and Sony isnít mature enough for that. They donít make mistakes, after all. (Insert wink.)

Second, why are the face buttons named with shapes rather than the industry-standard letters? Letters are simple and have a logic behind them when it comes to identifying where they are in relation to the other buttons on the face of the controller. You can say them real quick and simple and you can actually type A, B, X, Y, L, and R with buttons on the keyboard. Have any of you ever found the Square or Triangle keys on your keyboard? I have to spell these out, and thatís just more time, effort, and space wasted when a simple whack of the "A" key could have done just as well. Why not add a Giraffe and Elephant key to future controllers?

There are four shoulder buttons, and thatís fine. However, if you want to keep four fingers over those four buttons, you leave only the ring and pinkie fingers supporting the controller. I bought a third-party PS2 controller because they were wise enough to shove the L2 and R2 buttons further beneath the pad, allowing the controller to rest atop the middle fingers, for much better controller support. Iím not sure why the folks at Sony werenít smart enough to think of this, but theyíve been stubborn enough not to rip it off despite having no problem doing anything Nintendo does.

Lastly, why are the grips/prongs/handles so short? Couldnít they throw in another inch to those things? And why are they shaped so anti-ergonomically? Many other controllers have grips that more comfortably conform to our hands, but Sony insists on semi-conical nubs. Whose hand conforms to that shape?

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Now for the new stuff I wanted to add to the topic.

This is just to address the issue I often make of the left analog placement. I keep insisting that it is unnatural to reach to the lower-center of the controller for the analog stick, and that it rather should be where the D-pad is, as this is the natural resting location for the left thumb. Here are a couple pictures I took to support and explain my claim.

natural:


not natural:


Look at the two hand photographs and tell me how often you stroll around with your thumb jutting out like the second picture. I'll bet it's zero. I'm willing to bet that you only thrust your thumb out like that if you're reaching for something with it, like, for example, a PlayStation analog stick. Now do you see what I mean? It's just illogical to reach out there for it. We shouldn't have to reach for it.

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PostSubject: Re: Sony's Controllers   Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:54 am

My bad again, Ice! Once again you posted this more than a month ago and I never noticed. Interesting read, of course. Great work, and great points!
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