Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Emmy? We don't need no stinkin' Emmy!

The Playstation 3's SIXAXIS Dualshock controller may have just been awarded an Emmy but where is its place with regards to the rest of the controllers from recent years?

I've decided to go ahead and conduct a wholly unscientific study to rank the controllers of yesteryear and beyond. The list that follows is merely my own opinion, you are welcome to your own. If you feel the need to share, get an account with Blogger, or Live Journal, or 1up and go to town. Someone will always disagree. Don't say I didn't warn you.

  • 7. SIXAXIS:
    Every Playstation controller seems to cute name to go along with it (Dualshock etc.) but what isn't cute is the lack of innovation on the part of Sony's engineers. New features in an old form factor just won't cut it anymore. Emmy or not.

  • 6. Xbox "The Duke":
    One word: huge. It's big; it does what you want it to do but you have to have monstrous man-hands.

  • 5. Dualshock 2:
    Just like Tag Team in the 90's that good old form factor is back again. At least this go around there was an excuse as the PS2's backwards compatibility was highly touted. Plus it rumbles. But is it Emmy worthy?

  • 4. Xbox Controller S:
    The tiny hands brigade get their wish and the Xbox controller scales down into something manageable. It's still a pain to deal with those gem buttons though.

  • 3. Wii Remote:
    The jury is still out on this one. So far its a unique experience that makes comparisons to standard controllers unfair. But who says we have to be fair?

  • 2. Gamecube Controller:
    Just plain comfortable. The varied button sizes, awkward z-button and c-stick aside, this controller is a joy to hold. Some of the components appear to have been lifted directly from the Game Boy Advance. The Gamecube's heritage in the N64's three-pronged controller of doom keeps this one from taking the top spot.

  • 1. Xbox 360 Wireless Controller:
    Third time's the charm for Microsoft. Comfort, versatility, and rumble without wires. The 360's wireless controller takes everything that was right about the Controller S and makes it better.

Honorable mention:

  • Wii Classic Controller:
    An elegant solution to several problems. I'm still not wild about the stick placement though.

  • Wavebird :
    Wireless done right. An inspiration for everything else.

Edit: It appears that Sony was a little premature in declaring that the SIXAXIS won. Seems the progenitor of the form factor, the Dualshock, won the award.

1 comment:

Colin said...

I think that if I'm drafting controllers, I definitely take the WaveBird above the HUNGRY MAN(TM) original XBox controller. Despite my reservations about the Gamecube's button layout, the sheer awkwardness of the XBox controller trumps any mere aesthetic concerns. I have reasonably large hands, but I can't reliably find the crystal buttons on the XB original - in a moment of stunning ergonomic sadism, they put the smallest buttons farthest away from the hand operating them.

Also, I first pick the Dualshock 2 over even the 360 wireless set. It has a D-pad which clearly sits at the design apex. I haven't had a chance to use a SIXAXIS off the wire, but I suppose that if I had, I might pick it even above its distinguished predecessor.

My draft would go something like:
1. Dualshock 2 (with uncrossed palms for ergonomic merit)
2. Xbox 360 Wireless (everything in its right place, plus really nice triggers)
3. SIXAXIS (but it could be #1 if I got a chance to try it in wireless mode)
4. XBox S (hate those crystal buttons, but otherwise pretty nice)
5. Wii (Innovative, but weird)
6. Wavebird (hate the whole button layout
7. Gamecube (hate the whole button layout, plus wire)
8. HUNGRY MAN(TM) Xbox Controller (actually painful to use)