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Are video-game controllers too complicated?


Bigfoot
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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.

The whole shapes thing, i htink works pretty well.

its distinctive. i mean without looking i couldnt tell you the respective button for ABXY on whichever controller nor the colour because its been used on four different systems (or more)and they have theyre little placement variations.

whereas Triangle is up, X is down, Square is left, circle is right and i only have a PS1. fair enough UDLR would be very easy to remeber but its not very imaginative and it wouldnt really have tied in well with their playstation brand image.

IMO anyway.

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I think the controllers are part of it, but I think everyone's kind of lost sight about what this topic is about and are focusing too much on the controllers strengths and weaknesses themselves. The controllers would be useless without games, so let's take a look at what they're actually used for.

It's my opinion that a good game should give you an idea of what it sets out to do, and from knowing this, you should be able to see what the developer was trying to accomplish with their control scheme. There are certain games where you absolutely must have options to accomplish what the game sets out to do. Good examples of this are fighting games and technical action games like DMC. The controls are quite complex, but too complex? I think the only way to justify saying they're too complex is if the controls failed to work right, but as people we learn to adapt to new conditions, and games like fighting games become a test of our ability to master timing and said conditions. If a fighting game's buttons did not work the same way every time, then I think that's something you could consider a failure and much to complex for any user to call usable.

There are some games which are more leisurely. An RPG generally has an accept button, a back button, and a menu button. The rest is left up to the brain to crunch numbers in one's head and interact with the world at an easy pace. In this sense, the game is complex, but the complexity of the controller isn't even taken into account. It does not fail at what it sets out to do either.

Ultimately, it's the developers decision as to the degree by which a complex controller can be simplified or utilized to its fullest, but the worst thing a developer can do is make something that either does not work, or is inconsistent to the point where the game cannot be mastered. Take for instance the GameCube controller. One might say the GameCube controller is excellent for fighting games while another may disagree, but consider that if the game is not designed around the specific strengths of the controller, the game becomes unenjoyable. In this sense, the person who says fighting games work on the GameCube probably played Soul Calibur, which is an excellent game because it's forgiving to use the analogue stick. If one were to play the Megaman games however, they'd quickly realize that the developers were not able to completely overcome those shortcomings and the games become uncomfortable to play on that system.

And for one thing, having a tightly controllable game with two buttons and a D-pad doesn't necessarily make a game any easier or less frustrating, it just gives you less options to interface with it and conquer those problems. The cost of your own personal frustrations with the complexity of a controller may be worth the time of someone else to learn that controller, realizing that by learning they make the game easier for themselves. You don't really get that option with simple games. For some people though, that's more than enough.

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What's complicated about videogame control is the people who refuse to learn new things. Case in point: one of my aquaintances (can't really call him a friend) at college was watching me play wii, and told me "nah, i don't want to, the controller's too different. I'm so used to n64." n64, despite its greatness, has the worst controller ever. and the wii couldn't possibly get simpler.

GET LESS RETARDED PEOPLE. Taking the two seconds to reorient yourself is a lot easier and less obnoxious than "omgwtfbbqlulz this cuntroler sux, too difrent i givup!"

It bothers me.

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n64, despite its greatness, has the worst controller ever.

Despite the fact that they were initially prone to breaking, the N64 analog stick was the best and most responsive ever. I'll agree that for a lot of games it wouldn't matter that much if you used a newer controller, but if the Turok games were ever released for the virtual console, I'd never play them on it simply because of the lack of the N64 stick. Turok 2 proved that control stick to be the next best thing to a mouse, and usually I'd say control sticks don't compare at all.

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Despite the fact that they were initially prone to breaking, the N64 analog stick was the best and most responsive ever. I'll agree that for a lot of games it wouldn't matter that much if you used a newer controller, but if the Turok games were ever released for the virtual console, I'd never play them on it simply because of the lack of the N64 stick. Turok 2 proved that control stick to be the next best thing to a mouse, and usually I'd say control sticks don't compare at all.

ehh the analog stick wasn't bad, but its not the best either, newer ones are just as good and feel smoother imo. and the rest of the controller setup was silly. control pad and l button were completely unused by 97.32% of the games for the system.

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i mean without looking i couldnt tell you the respective button for ABXY on whichever controller nor the colour...

I could... The ones I've played with, that is.

Anyway, are game controllers becoming more complicated? Yes. Are they too complicated? No. I'm going to mostly agree with Injin on this one. People who can't learn don't want to learn. It's as simple as that. Even if they're getting more and more complex in their design, they're still designed to be ergonomical. They're still designed to be usable. My father never could get a grasp on the old NES controller because it wasn't familiar to him, and he didn't really care to learn it. However, he did manage to play a little Guitar Hero simply because it was similar enough to a guitar that it wasn't difficult to learn. However, a gamer who's never picked up a guitar will have more trouble getting used to how to work it. A game controller would be easier for them to use.

Also, if you can learn to use a GP2X, you can learn to use ANY controller.

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PC Keyboard + 2-button Mouse w. Scrollwheel.

How advanced does a gamepad need to be to match THAT?

I'm sorry but keyboard = a bajillion buttons. That stuff can get disorienting and uncomfortable really fast.

Now, wasd + 2-button mouse w. scrollwheel is much more manageable.

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