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Bigfoot

Are video-game controllers too complicated?

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Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but does anyone else really dislike the positioning of the left analog stick on the Playstation controllers? I know I do; I don't see any reason for having it designed that way. The position of the left analog stick for the Gamecube and Xbox controllers is positioned where your thumb naturally rests, very comfortable, especially since you're using it all the time (I find the Gamecube controller's stick position to be perfect, at least for my hands). The Playstation controllers have it down and to the right, which makes you extend your thumb over there - a rather unnatural and uncomfortable position, I think. For something used as often as it is, I have to wonder why it's placed there.

Maybe one of you people can explain it to me, because I certainly can't figure it out.

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I second the Playstation D-pad being worse, even for fighting games. Guilty Gear + PS2 = first actual blister-full experience. I had a better time playing on the Dreamcast.

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I believe it really depends too much on the user to say whether new controllers are too complicated or not.

I say this because I've heard the xbox 360 controller praised as one of the most ergonomically designed controllers and I must admit when I use it, I feel very comfortable, but I have also been playing videogames for most of my life so I understand the correct way (in my opinion) to hold a controller.

I believe that someone completely new to games would find an arcade joystick+buttons or a point-click device (mouse, wii-mote, etc.) simpler to use.

I also agree with the point that a controller's interface is influenced by the complexity of the games it is designed to play.

However, what makes games complex these days and why? Do we need to be able to have control over every minute detail of our in-game character's movements? I don't really think so.

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The only game controller that was complicated was the horrible Virtual Boy controller that never made use of its features and the Colecovision thinggy with the 40 buttons on top with a knob.

I think if you find a 360/PS3/Saturn style controllers to be 'complicated', you have no business playing a game to begin with. I couldn't care less about the 'casual/semi-no-gamer' demographic. Screw them.

However, what makes games complex these days and why? Do we need to be able to have control over every minute detail of our in-game character's movements? I don't really think so.

Yes, yes we do. Even simple controllers should lend itself to precise movements and freedom of gameplay. If one gets bewildered by just that, again, I wonder if one is even suited to even play a game to begin with. The vast majority of gamers have lived by such 'complex' control schemes. I definitely don't think it's some unnecessary luxury for the most part. It's usually the lousy and badly designed games that can't make a logical sense out of control schemes anyway.

People seem to mention the triggers, but I think the four triggers are probably one of the most intuitive features on a controller. Face buttons just doesn't work as well for shooters where you have an actual trigger to pull on. And I really can't name too many games that made things more complicated with it. You play FPS games nowadays, and you'd instinctively know that one of them will be a grenade or in other games, left or right lean, etc. It's just intuitive. I don't see what's the problem with it other than the myths the casual gamers heap upon it.

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I haven't read the stuff here, but here's my two cents:

I think the Wii remote (or remote + nunchuck) doesn't have enough buttons. Or rather, enough buttons that are simultaneously accessible. As a guy who likes to design games in his spare time, I find that the lack of convenient buttons is extremely limiting. If I'm trying to, say, port a keyboard/mouse FPS control scheme to the Wii, it becomes very difficult; Metroid Prime 3 only managed to pull it off by getting rid of functionality (e.g. beam switching), and using some of those buttons that are annoying to press ("1" and "2").

The Wii remote on its side distinctly lacks shoulder buttons, which IMO makes it inferior to the controls of the Gameboy Advance (which I think are superb, aside from an awkward start/select). Games like Super Paper Mario needed to use unintuitive gestures instead of buttons - and by gosh they did a good job of it, but my point is that the Wii controller's lack of buttons FORCED them to do it a certain way.

Then again, I sometimes think that mice should have more buttons (that thumb's just sitting there!!), but then all our hands would all fall off by the age of fifty.

I'm just gonna throw this design out here... here's what might be nice for the sequel to the Wii:

- Take the Wii remote

- Remove the part with the D-pad

- Change A into 4 buttons a la SNES

- Rename B to R, because really it's a shoulder button

- Plus and Minus suck, remove one of them

- Drop 1 and 2 (no "turn-it-sideways" option for this guy!)

- Take the nunchuk

- Make the control stick not suck. Might as well change it to a d-pad.

- Remove either C or Z, because you can't press them both at the same time anyway. Call the one that's still there "L"

- Add a Start button to the right of the d-pad.

- Add pointing capabilities to the nunchuck. WHERE ARE THE GAMES WHERE YOU USE TWO Wii REMOTES AS GUNS???

- The Wii remote+nunchuk leaves you with no support for your two free hands; there must be a way connect the two together into one stable form!

And there you have it - a Super Nintendo controller with motion sensing and pointing capabilities, and the ability to separate it into two pieces. Bah, I know nothing about controllers, I shouldn't even be in this thread.

Completely unrelated note: I can only hope there's an "Accordion Hero" game in the making. Even if it just has 5 keys or buttons, it would be so amazing...

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Yeah the L3 and R3 on the PS2 controller were confusing. I was playing God of War at the time, and it said i had to push those buttons. I was like, "what the fuck, there are NO SUCH buttons! There's only two of each, not three!"

But yeah, i found out you can press the analog sticks, so i guess that works...

And i don't know where all the GC controller hate is coming from. I see it as one of the best controllers ever. The problem was that certain genre's couldn't be played on it *COUGH*fighting games*COUGH*.

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Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but does anyone else really dislike the positioning of the left analog stick on the Playstation controllers? I know I do; I don't see any reason for having it designed that way. The position of the left analog stick for the Gamecube and Xbox controllers is positioned where your thumb naturally rests, very comfortable, especially since you're using it all the time (I find the Gamecube controller's stick position to be perfect, at least for my hands). The Playstation controllers have it down and to the right, which makes you extend your thumb over there - a rather unnatural and uncomfortable position, I think. For something used as often as it is, I have to wonder why it's placed there.

Maybe one of you people can explain it to me, because I certainly can't figure it out.

I disagree completely, and think the placement makes perfect sense actually. I've never found moving my thumb down and to the right uncomfortable, but if the Gamecube controller taught us anything it's that only an idiot of a controller designer puts the D-Pad in that position. The analog sticks up quite a bit making it easy to push from that position, but having a d-pad there instead is incredibly awkward since you have to push it down all the time instead, requiring me to stretch my thumb over farther. For me, the dualshock/sixaxis design is the perfect layout for a controller. Nothing has topped it, and I'm doubting that anything ever will.

As for whether controllers are too complicated; I don't think so. They've certainly gotten more complicated but I've never played a game that had a truly confusing button layout. In fact, the MGS games, which have some of the most complicated control schemes I've ever seen are as natural to use in my opinion as a 3-button Mario control scheme. Then again, Kojima is a genius in terms of game design so that doesn't really surprise me.

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The 360 d-pad is worse.

I'm always hitting it diagonally. Can't explain why. It seems to be off a couple degrees or something for my hands.

I can only hope there's an "Accordion Hero" game in the making.

I lol'd.

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The GC controller is absolutely perfect, except for the tendency for the sticks to not center after heavy use (minimized on the wavebird0, and its lackluster button positions for fighting games. Also, lack of analog buttons.

It is clearly the most comfortable however.

I can also say that Microsoft outdid themselves on the 360 pad, its easily the best PC compatible pad out now.

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The GC controller is absolutely perfect, except for the tendency for the sticks to not center after heavy use (minimized on the wavebird0, and its lackluster button positions for fighting games. Also, lack of analog buttons.

It is clearly the most comfortable however.

I can also say that Microsoft outdid themselves on the 360 pad, its easily the best PC compatible pad out now.

The Cube controller also has a terrible D-pad.

As far as nintendo controllers go, I really like SNES and the Wii Classic Controller.

Though classic would be even better if it were slightly thicker, enough to have playstation-style double shoulder buttons. A controller much like the PlayStation controller but without its flaws (bad D-pad, less comfortable than GC controllers imo).

More on topic, are controllers too complex?

I think the better question is are games too complex? A lot of games need that many buttons to control comfortably and have all the necessary functionality. Controllers are this way out of necessity,

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I've never understood why people dislike the Gamecube controller. It's practically perfect, in my opinion. The variation in button size and placement makes each button unique, and all of them are easily within reach.

Anyway...no. I don't think video game controllers are too complicated. I liked the comparison someone made with a keyboard: you get used to it and it becomes like second nature or something. Anyway, games these days require more control ability. Cell phone keypads (or whatever you call them) are not easier to type messages with just because there are fewer buttons.

So to you who say controllers are too complicated, I say bah! Just learn to use them.

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Unique isn't necessarily good. The weird banana-thing they've got going on with the X and Y buttons is bad and makes them too small. It's the most comfortable, however.

I think each button should have a clear PURPOSE. The N64 did the best in this regard, but had a shape that was so bad as to make it the worst controller ever.

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Personally, I'm a big fan of the Gamecube controller. It always worked really well for the majority of games I played, so I'm not sure what the complaining is about...maybe it was some of the multi-platform games it didn't work well for. I'm not sure why people keep saying the d-pad was bad when it was never used as anything but a toggle or to navigate inventories from what I can remember (it worked great for those functions). It was also quite a comfortable controller for me to use for long periods of time, unlike dual shock controllers.

Anyway, I love the Wiimote/Wiimote and nunchuk and the classic controller, and the 360 controller is for the most part quite nice (and way more comfortable than I thought it would be). The dual shock-style controllers employed on Sony's consoles are, I think, generally considered the stanard for good reason, but clearly weren't built with ergonomics in mind - I dunno about you, but it tends to hurt my hands to use that sorta controller for extended periods of time.

Anyway, I think what people tend to have problems with when dealing when a new controller is in figuring on exactly which button is which. When I got the 360, it took me a while to figure out which out of the 4 face buttons was the X, etc. I think that's something the Gamecube controller excelled at. As Hylian Lemon said, they really did a good job to make each button more unique and accessible, and I think that in turn smoothed the learning curve for that controller. I think in many respects, the Wiimote follows those footsteps, which might also help it be more accessible. So, I don't think it's so much a matter of game controllers being too complicated, I think it's generally that learning curve that's daunting to some people.

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I think the way to go is give every button a distinct COLOR and refer to them by COLOR. Like, I can remember red, yellow, blue, green a lot better than B Y X A. Either that, or put them in groups of 4 and refer to them by (group, direction) like C buttons on the N64. I can memorize C up, down, left, right all day.

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I seem to be alone in thinking that the PS2 is far superior in comfort.

With the 'cube controller, it feels like my hands are cramped together and I can't spread them out like I can with the playstation's. Also, having the analog sticks parallel as they are gives the controller symmetrical feel. Plus it's way more comfortable to use the d-pad which sees much more use than the 'cube's does.

Half of this may be bias since I'd been using playstation controllers for years before 'cube controllers, but I still stand by my opinion.

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I'm not very familiar with Playstation controllers, so the few times I've used them have been awkward. Really, any of my arguments against it wouldn't be legitimate since I haven't had any time to adapt.

Personally, I feel like the Gamecube controllers do a great job of fitting my hands (curved shoulder buttons = genius). But I guess you just can't design a controller to comfortably fit everyone, right? I know my little sister doesn't like the button setup in Mario Kart Double Dash because her thumb can't press A and X/Y at the same time.

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Personally, I'm a big fan of the Gamecube controller. It always worked really well for the majority of games I played, so I'm not sure what the complaining is about...maybe it was some of the multi-platform games it didn't work well for. I'm not sure why people keep saying the d-pad was bad when it was never used as anything but a toggle or to navigate inventories from what I can remember (it worked great for those functions).

The reason you don't remember the D-Pad sucking is because most companies never used it since it sucked so much. It was awkward to reach, too small, and a pain in general. I like to use the D-Pad for fighting games and 2D platformers. Granted there weren't much of either on the system, but the few there were (Soul Calibur, Mega Man Anniversary Collections, etc.) were ruined by the shoddy D-Pad, even if you didn't compare them to their PS2 couterparts. While on the subject, I also found the face buttons hard and uncomfortable to use for extended periods, especially compared to how smooth and comfortable the Dualshock buttons are. Plus the nub of a C-stick was a horrible idea. My thumb was constantly sliding off of it.

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Honestly, I don't think Nintendo really intended on anyone actually using the GC's D-pad as a primary use for any game. It's located in such a bad location to be comfortable at all.

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Playstation hasn't changed their basic controller design for their newer consoles. Perhaps people like the number of buttons on the controller as well as it's feel. I know I do.

To this day I'm still confused when I see PlayStation button combinations printed out.

R2 + O + ↑ + Δ ...

Personally, I have a Logitech WingMan controlller for my PC with 6 standard buttons and 4 shoulder buttons. I don't mind it (maybe b/c I can easily change the controls for PC games); better emulation of fighting games that way. :)!!

Edit: I also find it funny how every game today has an in-game control orientation, handled in their own unique ways.

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Edit: I also find it funny how every game today has an in-game control orientation, handled in their own unique ways.

People are too lazy to look at the instruction manual, I guess. Personally, I love reading through those things.

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I owned a 'cube and I thought the controller was a complete mess.

Especially for fighting games, I mean dayum.

I found the GameCube controller to be much more user friendly as far as fighters went, but I only play Soul Calibur. With the cube's A, X, and Y buttons, I can hit two of the three simultaneously, any combination and still have B there for something else.

With the PlayStation layout, I can't set three aside and use them that efficiently. Soul Calibur expects me to be able to hit X and Triangle at the same time without my thumb hitting square or Circle. I ended up making square a duplication of triangle just so I could use those three necessary buttons for simultaneous attacks (A,B,K). I think making up for that by setting some other button as a macro is too complicated for muscle memory, at least it is for me.

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...When I got the 360, it took me a while to figure out which out of the 4 face buttons was the X, etc. I think that's something the Gamecube controller excelled at. As Hylian Lemon said, they really did a good job to make each button more unique and accessible, and I think that in turn smoothed the learning curve for that controller. I think in many respects, the Wiimote follows those footsteps, which might also help it be more accessible. So, I don't think it's so much a matter of game controllers being too complicated, I think it's generally that learning curve that's daunting to some people.

QFE

it would say press A and id be hitting the "nintendo A" as in the right button,but that didnt last and only really happened in games where the face buttons all had fairly similair functions (hexic)

But i do love the gamecube controller that and the 360s are the most comfortable.

Least comfortable would be the Dreamcasts. the triggers although a nice addition are at a jarring angle. Also 1 analogue stick?

Thats one controller thats definately not aged well,considering the era it came from.

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When I was playing Cave Story and decided I needed a gamepad for my PC, my immediate preference was to go get a PSX-USB adaptor.

The Playstation controllers are pretty much where it's at as far as I'm concerned, basically a beefed up version of the SNES controller (which has become the sort of underlying standard for all controllers).

The only improvements I can think of would be to relable the buttons as SNES-style ABXY (although this may not be possible due to patents or copyrights or something).

And then to perhaps come up with some sort of design where the analog sticks and the D-pad/ABXY buttons were on little modules, so you could swap positions. In other words, move the left analog stick to where the d-pad is for games which primarily use the stick, and then change it back for games which primarily use the d-pad.

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In a system like the PS, I don't know why they felt the need to give the buttons stupid names. Seriously, triangle, x, square, and circle? What IS that? It's a mess. They could've just made it another UDLR and been done with it.

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