Facebook Files: Controller Ergonomics

By Ishaan . October 17, 2010 . 10:29am


This week in Facebook Files, we’re discussing videogame controllers. You can check out the ongoing Facebook discussion in this thread, which covers a lot more topics than the excerpts in this posts.


Samwise wrote:

I’ve got fairly large hands. And fairly long fingers. I also suffer from arthritis, and am very sensitive to cramps. As such, I find some controllers downright unbearable! Not only that, but there are some really whacky controller design choices…


What’s wrong with the DSlite? Well, I can’t really reach the A button without drastically changing my hand position. This makes it cramp up with the quickness. The B button is also tricky, but not as bad… I think this has to do with the positioning relative to the bottom (id est, not much space). I don’t mind the Y and X buttons so much, but even so I wish they were all bigger, and slightly more arcade button-ish.


Then comes the L and R buttons! Yeesh! They’re designed to be pressed with the tops of the index finger, which means you need to have your fingers straight like a bracket. It gets old, fast. Not to mention pressing the dpad and L button at once is nigh impossible with my hands… It really hurts!


Anton wrote:

As far as the 360 controller goes, I find that the D-pad isn’t the only issue. It’s quite heavy and doesn’t feel entirely comfortable in my hands. I do agree with you that the analogue sticks are positioned perfectly, though. That’s the only thing I find off with the Playstation controllers. Other than that though, the Playstation controller has been, in my opinion, the most ergonomic controller for the past 15 years.


Oh, and as an aside, I have to say that I hate the rumble feature on ANY controller. Curse you Nintendo for introducing that damn rumble pack with Star Fox 64!


Steven wrote:

I have a DSi XL and don’t like the controls any more than the DS Lite. First of all it feels like handling a big, third or so of an inch thick, piece of flat plastic. It is not comfortable to hold. At least when I had the DS Lite I had a decent accessory to help alleviate the flatness of it.


The face buttons and the L/R buttons feel much like they do on the Lite (I’m pretty sure they have about the same spacing), however, the Lite has the BEST d-pad of all current DS models. Playing Super Mario 64 DS on the Lite was a breeze due the a d-pad that could detect diagonal directions no problem.


However, I love the XL because it has very nice screens that I can actually see. Some games look pretty bad on it (DQIX) and others look better because you can see more of the small details (Castlevania, FFXII: RW) RTS games like Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings and Blue Dragon Plus as well as touch-based games like Zelda play SO MUCH BETTER with the bigger touch screens.


What controller or system ergonomics do you like or dislike? How would you make them better? Would you consider buying from a company that creates custom controllers tuned to different tastes? Fire away in the comments!

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  • Rollersnake

    Death to mushy triggers. They were horrible and imprecise on the Dreamcast and Gamecube, and I can’t play PS3 games that heavily use them without occasionally pinching fingers beneath them.I also can’t play PSP games without my hands cramping up. The system is just too thin and smooth to comfortably grip. I somehow managed to get through Dracula X Chronicles, but always felt like I was hampered by the architecture of the system and my hands hurt like hell. There are quite a few interesting-looking exclusive action titles on PSP that I have not bought specifically because they’re on PSP.

    The best controllers for games which do not require analog control are the original PS1 controller (comfortable, lightweight, and essentially just a streamlined SNES controller) and the Saturn controller (for fighting games).

    The Wiimote + nunchuk is basically the ideal control setup for first-person shooters (if maybe a few buttons short), and I’m honestly surprised that there haven’t been more games to take advantage of that. Hopefully the Move fares better in that respect, but so far it seems like Sony are aping the Wii even as far as its glut of shovelware family games.

    • Hraesvelgr

      Have to agree with this, the PSP design is absolutely horrendous and uncomfortable. I don’t know if this was ever fixed in later models, but the buttons also tend to stick or are difficult to properly press.

      • From what I can tell, they did fix a lot of the “comfort problems” with each subsequent model, excluding the PSPGo. They made it more rounded and raised up part on the back for better grip.

    • Aoshi00

      I do feel quite uncomfortable playing the PSP as well, it just feels like your hands cramp easily, and the bottom’s surface is too smooth for -2000/3000 you don’t get a good grip, I guess the -1000 actually felt better even though it was heavier. I always have this dilemma, to choose between the default battery or the extended one. If I use the default one juice runs out before you know it, if I use the extended one, the unbalanced shape drives me a little bonkers :(… last but not least, they absolutely refuse to put a 2nd analog stick on the dang thing, is that really so hard… upcoming 3DS too..

    • I bought one of those PSP grips and it worked like a charm.. My hands still feel the pain of going through Ys7, though :(

      • Exkaiser

        I thought Ys Seven was an incredibly comfy game, and I don’t even use a grip on my PSP.

    • RupanIII

      Agreed on the original PS1 controller. That, SNES and Dual Shock are my favorites.

      And yea, PSP is hard on the hands, esp if the controls are complicated to begin with (Peace Walker comes to mind.. can’t just have a fixed camera like old school MGS can we? Gotta control the camera myself with left index finger while I move Snake with left thumb.. because that’s not at all cumbersome)

  • i have very tiny girly hands

    my favorite controllers are the gamecube, n64, playstation, ds lite, and the wiimote

  • If the Dualshock had six buttons on the face, like the old Saturn controllers, it would be the perfect controller.

    The 360 controller, to me, feels like it was designed by Sloth from Goonies or something. I can’t understand how people can play something so asymmetrical.

    • It all depends on the type of games, IMO.
      It’d be quite hard to play shooters with a 6-face button controllers, with your right thumb manipulating the right analogue stick. Also, the 4-button setup keeps everything simpler, making impulse button presses flow naturally. Well, at least that’s what I think :D

      However, I think 6-button controller worked wonders for fighting games :D As long as it’s not designed like the original Xbox’s controller, that is. I totally despise the location of the black and white buttons. Even on the Type-S controller =..=

      • I think, though, that we’ve all just become so used to four face buttons, that we just think it’d be hard to do shooters. It’s been how many years since there was a controller with the six face buttons? I think had Sony kept the six-button layout, we’d all be used to it by now.

      • Chow

        The reason for the four-button setup is pretty much for the ergonomics anyway (pretty much what you said). On the most basic level, the four-button setup doesn’t require your thumb to move very far. It also allows you to reach the right shoulder button(s) a lot better. Of course, if you were to use it for fighting games, you probably don’t have the thumb position while playing, but rather the “claw” position. Incidentally, how I played my Genesis in the claw position all the time until my friends gave me an intervention about playing that way. ;)

    • Chow

      I’ve seen pictures of a prototype PSX controller that had the six face buttons. They were labelled + and -. I guess given the designations of the regular buttons, those would’ve fit right in. The controller shell was shaped more like an SNES controller, except the middle dipped down. The D-Pad was Genesis-like, and there was possibly only two shoulder buttons at the time instead of four.

      But yeah, that would’ve been ideal for Street Fighter games, but almost nothing else. I know I always one before, though. ;)

  • malek86

    Well, of course I have some controllers that I like better than others, but overall, I can adapt easily.Still, I especially like the Saturn one (for the d-pad and overall ergonomics), the 360 one (except the d-pad) and the Dual Shock 2 (not the DS3 and its crappy triggers).But my favorite controller overall is the good ol’ K+M combo. Can’t beat that.

  • MrRobbyM

    I find the 360 controller to be the most comfortable with only few problems. The LB/RB buttons are clicky, which I hate and the d-pad, which we all know and hate. But I really like the shape and the concave sticks. Though for some games, the DS3 works the best. Sometimes you really need those sticks just right next to each other and of course it has the best d-pad imo. The Wiimote is also a pretty well designed controller if used with the nunchuck.

    • Aoshi00

      I like the 360 controller the best for the same reason, the sticks’ placement is perfect and I like the concave shape, very sturdy over all and good grip, they’re good for things that need precise aiming (RDR, MW, Vanquish, etc) and shmups (even though I use the arcade stick for them, if not the controller’s fine too), etc. I liked the Dual shock 1 & 2 back then, but I don’t like the L2/R2 triggers now, I think I got pinched by them a couple of times too, they don’t feel as good when you play FF12 w/ it when you need to hold R2 to flee, it felt better w/ the DS2 or Logitech wireless controller. And the sticks feel too loose and they’re convex so your thumbs could slide easily despite the surface. Of course the original sixaxis didn’t even have force feedback and was way too light. The only thing that I like the DS3 better is the d-pad, but I couldn’t count on one hand that many games need it. At first I thought I would get all 2D games on the PS3, but I ended up just playing Megaman 9/10, Sonics, or Scott Pilgrim w/ the analog stick on the 360.The Wii remote I just find troublesome, the need to strap on to my wrist and disconnect and connect the nunchuck or classic pro, just a hassle, which is one reason I touch that system the least I guess. The new Move controllers’ face btns feel too small, I thought playing RE5 Gold would be great, but it doesn’t feel as good as RE4.. I guess one could choose to not put the strap on, but I was playing Sports Champions’ sword game and the controller flew right out of my hand in the heat of battle, thank god the strap was on, whew, the broken TVs were not a joke :) If only the 360 controller has a better d-pad, and the wireless controller’s battery pack doesn’t stick out so it feels like a wired controller, it would be perfect. I was going to get Castlevania on 360 at first since I prefer the controller, until I found out it was on 2 discs, that was a tough decision. Throwing the rock back to some bosses (w/ R2 and left analog stick) was a bit difficult w/ the DS3..

      • I cannot play 2D games with an analog stick. My old band’s bass player plays fighting games with the analog stick. I can’t even comprehend that.

        • Aoshi00

          I actually do that too, I used to play fighters w/ d-pad back then but they hurt my thumb, but now I either play w/ the arcade stick or just the analog stick on the 360 controller, I actually pull those quarter and half circle moves better. Not that I’m good at fighters though… For me Dual Shock 3 has better d-pad, the 360 controller has better analog sticks, and since I use analog sticks more and rarely use the d-pad, I prefer the 360 controller. That’s why I like playing shmups on the 360, I either use the analog or Hori SE seimitsu stick, I don’t like the sanwa stick for PS3 even though I own both. And for Castlevania where you need to swing the rock back to the titan or crow witch, the DS3 trigger and loose stick felt kind of hard, I guess btn mashing is better though. I just beat Ch. 5 today, the game is so dang long! Good, but long.

  • hadjimurad

    i like the wiimote and nunchuck, but i think the nunchuk is too light and small.
    for button intense games, i always liked the DS2. for casual fighting game players, i thought that d pad was decent. in general, i think nintendo’s current d pads are horrible; from the wiimote to the DS to the classic controller. i don’t own a 360, but every time i’ve played at a friend’s, i felt very awkward using it, like my hands were two crabs grabbing at it. in general, i wish future controllers would implement more useful d-pads.

    • Hraesvelgr

      Given the decrease in d-pad usage in recent years, it’s probably pretty unlikely that d-pad design will improve much.

      • hadjimurad

        i agree in general, but for me, i use the d-pad a lot…from games like NSMBwii and Kirby Epic Yarn and Other M to all the huge batch of modern 2D(ish) fighters…not to mention, almost every game i play on the DS i try to use the d pad. i know a fighting fan would say, duh, buy a stick, but i’m not that hardcore to drop the cash for that. and that’s not even mentioning the huge trend of retro style games that have made a resurgence that utilize simple controls. i think the companies underestimated the usefulness and longevity of the d-pad when this last generation was forming.

        • Aoshi00

          People keep saying the 360’s d-pad is bad, the Gamecube’s tiny d-pad was absolutely horrible. I hook up the gameboy player recently and use the wavebird to play some Castlevania, the d-pad is unusable.. how I regret not getting the Hori digital controllers for GC, now they’re like extinct, or cost like $200 new.. I could’ve gotten some used ones but I don’t think I would play it that much though..

  • Tom_Phoenix

    When I bought my Game Boy Micro, I was concerned that it would be very impractical and difficult on the eyes due to it’s small size. Once I actually got it and started using it, however, it turned out to be an entirely different story.

    While I don’t have the largest hands in the world, they are still preety sizable. Nevertheless, I did not find to have any issues holding the handheld. The d-pad is smooth, allowing the thumb to slide between various directions without any issues, and the A and B buttong are large and have a good impress. Also, while the screen is smaller compared to other Game Boy variations and handhelds, it is also very sharp and clear, so the size doesn’t end up being an issue.

    However, there are at least two criticisms I can leverage towards it. For one thing, the positioning of the START and SELECT buttons is unusual and the shoulder L and R buttons require an inward press rather than an outward one that would make sense at first glance. While neither of this is detrimental, it does take getting used to. Also, while the Micro is preety comfortable to use most of the time, I did experience a mild tingling sensation using it the first time around.

    But, for the most part, it’s an ergonomically sound design. Infact, while I never handled one myself, I have a strong suspicion that the design was based of the NES/Famicom controller. The size and button placement certainly do seem quite similar. The Limited Edition Famicom controller faceplate for the Micro only serves to provide further credibility to the theory.

    While we are on the subject of controls, I am quite concerned regarding the design of the 3DS. While the handheld seems quite practical for the most part, the positioning of the D-pad in relation to the A/B/X/Y buttons seems awfully impractical. In games which utilise the D-pad heavily, such as 2D platformers and SRPG’s, it seems like it might turn out to be a real pain to use. What is worse is that there were indications that Nintendo would reconsider that part of the design, but unfortunately, the only thing they did is make the slide pad less aesthetically pleasing (light grey looks awful on aqua blue…).

    One more thing. Even though they weren’t primarily designed for gaming, the mouse and keyboard combination is one of the best control schemes ever devised. That is all.

    • I’m concerned about the positioning of the controls on the 3DS, too, but not the way slidepad is positioned in relation to the face buttons. What I’m really concerned about is that it’s above the D-pad, which kind of makes me wonder how easy it will be to grip/use.

      The one thing I really like about the PSP-3000 is that the position of the analog nub and d-pad are well thought out. Despite the fact that the nub is used as the primary form of control in most games, the d-pad takes precedence because it’s how you control the system itself. Navigating through menus, looking at pictures etc, fast-forwarding music or videos etc.I guess 3DS can compensate for this stuff by letting you use the touchscreen, but I’d really rather not have to get that thing all smudgy with my fingers unless a game itself requires it.

      Plus, when you’re moving a character or something around in a game, I feel like it would be easier to move your thumb UP from the d-pad to control the camera, rather than down from the slidepad. I’m sure they gave it plenty of thought while designing the system, but this is the sort of worry that won’t really go away until I’ve gotten my hands on the thing I guess.

    • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

      I’ve always been curious about the Micro. Your review of its ergonomics is rather surprising. I wish there was some place I could give it a try.

      • malek86

        The Micro is actually pretty good in ergonomics, considering its size. It has other problems though – no GB/GBC cartridges support, doesn’t work with original GBA accessories (especially, having yet another different charger around is a pain), the screen is a tad too small for some games, sound quality is terrible, and the removable cover makes it easy to accumulate dust just over the screen (of course, it can be dusted off just as easily by removing the cover, but then you shouldn’t have to do it in the first place).Overall, I’ve been satisfied enough with my purchase, but only because I got it for 40 euro at a clearance sale. If it were any higher – like the launch price, lol – it would have been overpriced.

  • I don’t have huge hands, but I don’t have small hands either. I’ve been gaming since I was little and so don’t really get cramps or anything. I can adapt to pretty much any controller. If I had to choose one current gen controller, though, I’d go with the Kinect…nah, I’m kidding. I would choose the 360 controller though. I don’t use the d-pad much (or ever, really) so that’s no biggie to me. And I like that the triggers are actually triggers instead of the L/R2 buttons on the PS3, the ones that you press on accident all the time.

    The main reason I prefer that one [360 controller], though, is simply because the thumbsticks aren’t so close to each other that you keep touching yourself. It’s never really been a gamebreaker for me on the ps3, but if the ps3 and 360 versions of a game are the exact same, that’s one of the big reasons I’ll choose 360.

    In terms of all gaming history, though, I think I’d choose the N64 controller. They just fit so well in your hand and as long as you didn’t have to use the d-pad, which I can’t really remember any games needing it, everything was in perfect reach

  • Another thing to add:

    I just got a Sega Genesis a few days ago, and while I haven’t played anything on it (I should be getting some games on Monday) I’ve messed around with the controller some, and found out a few things. Of note is that I got 3 controllers with it, only one of them being first party.

    The Sega made controller is pretty much perfect from what I can tell. The dpad moves nicely, and I can cradle it to various positions, and the three button A, B, C setup is rad, I can really understand it after years of emulation and being like “Hwauh?”. The three buttons are at a nice angle, rather than equal to the dpad, and the only weird part is that it feels almost like it should have L and R buttons, although that might be from me playing Saturn games.

    The next is just a third party controller, pretty generic. It has turbo versions of the buttons placed above, and it might be a really good controller if those turbo buttons count as X, Y and Z when the turbo switch is off. Why did they put the turbo switch underneath though? It gets in the way of my holding the controller. It’s also weird that the buttons are placed on the same angle as the dpad, rather than angled, so they’re basically uncomfortable for human hands.

    The last is the most garbage controller I’ve ever seen. It’s called something like “Touch Pad 360” and I can only imagine how bad it will be. I think I’ll use it once, just for kicks. For one thing, since the dpad is touch based, there’s no tactility, which is just bogus. The buttons are also just dumb, and almost sharp (!?!). It’s the stupidest controller I’ve ever seen.

    • Aoshi00

      I picked up this wireless Mega Drive controller before, it’s official, the d-Pad feels like Saturn’s and it has xyz btns on top of abc, I guess it is kind of like the Saturn’s.. the problem is the receiver doesn’t have a very wide vertical or horizontal angle, so you kind of need to sit right in middle.. well most old games are on XBLA or VC now, so I’m not hooking up the Genesis unless I play the YuYu Hakusho fighting game or something. The old Genesis controller was pretty good I guess, the problem now is the cord’s length since I sit very far from the TV.http://cgi.ebay.com/2x-Sega-Genesis-Wireless-Controller-Set-Mk-1629-/110566708766?pt=Video_Games_Accessories&hash=item19be4a161eI was going to get the “Nights” Saturn controller to play shmups like Sengoku Blade, but I heard it wasn’t very good either, kind of chunky like the Dreamcast one, almost as big as the Saturn itself.http://www.axess.com/twilight/console/detail/saturn_b.jpg

      • malek86

        Don’t even get me started on the abominable mess that was the Saturn 3D pad. I bought it because Baroque had support for it, but ended up using it for a whole thirty seconds before putting it away. Good thing I paid very little for it.

  • I like the 360’s controller the best since it just fits right and feels good with about every game genre. Only problem I have with it is the D-Pad like everyone else does….it sucks because it’s too loose and badly designed. Though Microsoft is releasing a new one with an improve D-Pad so I can’t wait to try it out.

    The GCN Controller felt and fit in the hands good too but there were many problems design wise imo…big A, small B, Z is awkwardly placed, etc. That said, no doubt that it was REALLY good with the games really designed for it.

    The PS Controllers are overall great but I think their analogue sticks need to be in better positioning like the 360s imo…….this varies from people to people though since some like it just the way it is which still is fine by me. I freakin’ HATE their D-Pad though….it’s just bad. There’s nothing in the middle and if you play games that heavily uses the D-Pad, your thumb usually get blisters because of the damn edges. I play fighting games a lot since the PS2 had a ton of them back then and many times I had to stop because of that dreaded D-Pad. Of course, this is when you don’t have an arcade stick as an option. For other genres other than fighting, the D-Pad is okay-great since it’s not as heavily used which means you don’t feel the edges as much. That doesn’t make it a good D-Pad though.

    The Wii controller + nunchaku is nice and pretty great but has a lot of problems. It doesn’t have much buttons and it’s really awkward to use with some genres. Luckily they have the Classic Controller and CCPro to solve that. Nintendo basically took a leap of faith with the Wiimote’s design and it’s uses and hopefully we’ll see customizable controllers from them in the future.

  • Kevin_Levin

    Well, for this matter.

    My Likes

    The SONY controller (Dual Shock, Dual Shock 2 & 3) just feels right. As you’re holding like a SNES pad. X being B, O being A, [] being X and / being Y. There’s no weight put on.

    My Dislikes

    the 360 controller, kinda feels awkward, like I’m holding a DC controller. No offense to those 360 fans.

    • doomspeller10

      I really like the Sony controllers, it’s sort of a bless that most PC gamepads mimic the general dualshock design. Of all console analogues I have tried, I’ve liked the ps2 one the most (I haven’t tried the ps3 one yet though), it’s really soft and sensitive in my opinion.

      On the other side I really dislike the gamecube and the n64 ones, which is a pity since those consoles have really awesome games. I mean, the n64 controller was okay for most games (zelda and mario 64)but I always felt it was plain wrong for smash bros. Actually I have tried it on an emulator with the buttons configured for a dualshock-like gamepad and it think it’s far superior that way. Then nintendo crammed a lot of buttons in the gamecube and that was a dealbreaker for me, specially if we talk about playing smash bros melee. I mean, you can’t play straight for a couple of hours without having cramps or some other issues, and the button overlay seems harder to memorize. I really think they were high when they designed that gamepad. I also have a psp slim and sometimes the analog nub feels like it’s too short or like it has little space to rotate properly, like in Chains of Olympus, but overall the psp controls are really nice and sensitive, I think its main issues are how the controls are programmed (in some games they seem a bit insensitive) rather than the ergonomics, because I can play Dissidia straight for many hours without problems. I can’t really talk about xbox controllers since I haven’t tried them. If there’s one I’d never touch it would be the sega saturn 3d gamepad.

      I think the best controller for me would be a dual shock gamepad with some kind of z button at the back, like in the n64… but for what purpose I don’t know XD.

  • Well. So far the only controller that I have tried and disliked is the Xbox controller-s. But when they uppgraded it to the Xbox 360 controller that dissapeared.

    I have nothing against handheld systems. So far all are fine to play with. But I can´t play on them for long hours since I get restless.

    Out of the newest generation I don´t like any controller over the other. The triggers for the dual shock 3 really disturbs me. Same goes for the Xbox 360 controller.

    I haven´t played enough with the Wii controller to be able to review it.

    If I had to pick a favorite controller then I think I have to say the SNES controller. Feels fine in my hand and just plays great.

    But I can play with any controller so… just feels weird after playing with one for a long time to change to another. But that feeling soon dissapears.

  • kylehyde

    I feel comfortable de DS controls, but playing GBA action games on it is a real pain, for that reason I still have my GBA, unfortunately it D-pad is began to suffer some issues :(

    I tried the psp controls and after some time my hands were really tired, but I admit that I tested in very few titles.

  • NeoTechni

    “Curse you Nintendo for introducing that damn rumble pack with Star Fox 64!”immersion had it on pc joysticks before nintendoalso, get a sixaxisi find the ds lite too heavy since most games want you to hold it one handed and use the other for the touchscreends lites and psp gos flatter buttons sucki love psps triggersi hate 360s, they are to thin, putting all their pressure on a small area causing crazy taxi finger like the dreamcast controller that invented the condition, also known as gears of soredualshocks wings arent long enoughironically the scph 1150 and 1180 dual analog controllers that preceded it were perfectalmost everything is wrong about gamecubes and wiis, dont even get me started
    both have horribly tiny dpads. why is there a Z button only on one side? The bean buttons are horrible, you cant press B and Y at the same time (or was it X?) making playing Super Mario World for SNES impossible (cant run and jump) both the analog sticks sucked (why couldnt you click them?), the c stick sucks more so why is it different? where did select go? Luckily the Wii classic pro rectified most of GCN’s problems, BUT they removed the only thing Nintendo got right (the awesome clicky shoulder buttons)!

  • CrisSpiegel

    I’m using a Pro Fighting Stick (generic arcade controller similar to some old Hori model) for fighting games. My main issue with gamepad is that I’m unable to press some buttons at the same time. And Dual Shock line is not very good for complex special attack motions.

    For the rest of genres, Dual Shock line works for me. SNES controller is also great and the N64 one has the same d-pad plus more face buttons, which is good for fighting games. I used to like Saturn first gamepad, but some fighting game motions were not as confy if facing left. Didn’t like Mega Drive/Genesis controllers. Master System’s one was like ‘why, god, why’ but I don’t remember how good or bad Game Gear was, but I remember it was too heavy.

    About vibration, I think there should be vibrating chairs, cushions, belts, footpad, etc, because I can’t feel an earthquake like it should feel (however it should be) for instance. I think some of these stuff were released in Japan with Rez HD, but I’m not sure.

  • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

    I like my Dualshock3 controller, for the most part. It’s got some problems that most usually agree on, like the analogs shape and the R2/L2, but it’s largely unchanged design from the Dualshock 1 is a testament to its functionality and feels like a worn glove for those who have stuck with the Playstation brand.

    Other controller parts I like: just about everything on the SNES controller, the Genesis D-pad, N64 z button, smooth PS face buttons, big turning circle of PS analog sticks, useless but cute Dreamcast VMU, Dreamcast triggers, size/ shape/ texture of 360 analog sticks, shape of 360 controller, size and shape of the Gameboy Color, hefty weight in general but not brick heavy (i.e. DS3 is perfect).

    Controller parts I don’t like: The made-for-aliens N64 layout, floaty Gamecube analog triggers, slippery Dreamcast analog stick, just about every bit of the original xbox controller, clicky 360 bumpers/ poppy face buttons, puny PSP analog stick, cramp-inducing portable button layouts (most of them).

  • lostinblue

    Well… Nintendo 64 controller is still my favorite 3D controller ever (would obviously need to be reworked for todays standards, it lacks weight, thus I use the rumble pack at all times and the joystick is admitedly poor compared to what’s used now); having large hands I also always use the same position while holding it; I never hold it by the central handle but the outside ones.

    Runner ups: the SNES one is my favorite 2D one and I like to play fighter games with the Saturn controller.

    And when it comes to new-gen controllers I really like the Wiimote solution.

  • Code

    rar, I have to admit all controllers have quirks this generation for me, nothing quiet does everything I want, although most of them do have aspects I really love. I have a terrible time I think being unintentionally hard on my controls, I’ve wore out/broken 2 PS2 controls (one died, the other the shoulder buttons broke), 3 GameCube controls (all wore out from SSBM/SSBB x_x), 1 Wiimote (died), and 1 PS3 controller (L2 became loose and would constantly trigger) and a 360 control which broke my wall when it unintentionally slipped out of my hand after a particularly intense match in Blazblue x__x; amazingly the 360 control took that wall down like a champ, and still works perfect. They did swap a little paint though, which makes me laugh because my cat paws at the mark on the wall because she thinks it’s a fly >w<' For me the worst move this generation goes to Sony and the PS3 control, I really liked the PS2 control’s design but PS3’s mushy L2/R2 buttons are terrible. It feels like it should have been an easy call to say that those buttons would have benefited from more housing. Also I find the d-pad on the PS3 control a lot tougher to break in then a PS2 control, PS2’s d-pad was just a bit on the mushier side (in a good way), the PS3’s feels like it has a stitch more resistance, it’s a personal preference thing, but doing rolls back and forth on the d-pad in Blazblue I feel like PS2’s mushier quality wouldn’t be as hard on the thumb after so many matches. PS3 through still keeps most of the PS2’s designs intact which is good, I still think it’s a fairly universal control but R2/L2 really feel like a silly mistake.Wiimote feels good but is still pretty new and unconventional it’s hard to really mentally place them up against older controllers. I still have to laugh in most games though when using Wiimote/Nunchuk I still hold them side by side as if the control was the width of a PS2 controller, like there’s a ghost body between the two pieces. Classic Control was okay not great though (had those weird shoulder buttons, d-pad, and sticks placement) but most of the issues, Classic Control Pro fixed. Classic Control Pro if it had it’s own power supply, would definitely be one of my favorite controls this generation, the big issue though I worry about the longevity of the control sticks, they seem comfortable, but much-much too soft to last in the long term.360 control I went in really pessimistic, but man after a year of using it it’s a really comfortable control. D-pad still is a issue, I hate even calling it a d-pad since my experience with trying BlazBlue on 360, made me realize it works much better if you slide the whole pad with your thumb, over pushing individual directions. I’m not fond of it’s L1/R1 (whatever there called zoz) buttons I find there almost hidden into the design of the control, and don’t give enough feedback when pressed imo. But I do really like it’s R2/L2 (WHATEVER SHUTUP) to me it’s everything I wish the PS3’s R2/L2 were, there fun to press, they read quickly and your fingers rest on the comfortably. Everything else on the control is pretty comfortable, also like the concave’d sticks on it, it’s a bit heavy but the control feels solid. And it can apparently smash into walls like nothing.Both PSP and DS in general I find a little awkward for holding, I don’t necessarily find myself getting hand pain from it, but I don’t exactly find it terribly comfortable either. DS I find troublesome when it comes to games that ask you to use the buttons and touch screen in quick succession which only causes fumbling and risk of system dropping. PSP although I’m not one to complain often about it needing dual sticks, god it feels like that small difference would have helped on so many levels. To me PSP always feels a little too fragile though, it’s a system I play very cautiously on, god forbid my meat gloves crush it during a particularly intense round of Monster Hunter. Any ways this post has been kicking around all day, slowly getting more and more obsess, to the point I want to stop looking at it — POST ACTIVATE!

  • even I am more familiar with PS controller and still using Xbox360 gamepad in my PC, but the best controller for me is Gamecube Gamepad

  • even I am more familiar with PS controller and still using Xbox360 gamepad in my PC, but the best controller for me is Gamecube Gamepad

  • cmurph666

    The PSP is horrible on the hands.

    I had to buy one of those Dual Shock shaped holders just so I could play Crisis Core and Birth By Sleep.

  • kyuketsukimiyu

    My very favorite controller is the Gamecube controller. It fits the curve of my hands perfectly, and all the buttons are fairly easy to get to.
    My least favorite handhold was probably the SP. While the clam shell shape was cool the small square shape caused my hands to cramp up really quickly. My Favorite was probably the advance, just because the size and shape sat very comfortably in the hands.

  • karasuKumo

    I agree with Anton the PS3’s controls are great but I sometimes get pain in the joints of my thumbs because of the analogues. The PSP is too short and I can’t play it for more than an hour without complaining about pains XD. The DS has it right if you buy the XL console.

    I have to agree with the comments about the 360 controller, that out of place analogue looks really odd. The original XBox controller felt to me unplayable, it was un-necessarily round and felt like a failed rip off of the Gamecube controller.

  • I guess I’ll never understand the complaining too much. There has never been a controller I didn’t get adjusted to after 1 day of playing. Most people just have a preferred controller for their favorite systems. One controller I really enjoyed was the Ascii one handed controller for Super Famicom and Playstation. I played both of those into the ground for my tactics games and they still work wonders.

    • Aoshi00

      Are you talking about this guy? I bought it years ago during the Super Famicom days for novelty’s sake but haven’t really played w/ it much, what games do you use it on anyway.. I think I still have it lying around somewhere..


      Where have you been man :)?

      • Actually, it’s this one: (made for both Super Fami and PSX) http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-kj-49-en-70-1e7o.html

        I use it for stuff like Tactics Ogre, Front Mission(s), Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy’s (or RPGs that the button layout work well for).

        Life has been busy but don’t worry, I’ll be striking up an email soon. I still read SE all the time, I just don’t comment much anymore. Especially since I try not to say anything to people when I don’t have anything nice to say. ;)

  • Joanna

    Never really had problems with controllers. I think the first time was using the stylus for prolonged periods with Knight in the Nightmare. I got hand cramps playing it for more then 2 hours. But other then that, I don’t recall any controllers I didn’t like. I do agree that PS2/3’s controllers are some of the best and really comfy. :3

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