Video games have been a huge part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. I’ve played a lot of games across a lot of different platform and with that said, I’ve played in a lot of different ways.
First of all, forget everything about even the slightest mentioning of the names Commodore, Amiga or Super Nintendo – because I was simply not around back then. My journey through the many worlds of interactive entertainment started around the turn of the millennium when I played my first game on PC. That game was the original Age of Empires, which I played almost constantly. I remember being awfully bad at it and that I always used cheat codes in order to spawn either a sports car with mounted rocket launchers or a guy with a laser gun. However, that is not the point here – the point is that I set off into gaming with a mouse and keyboard, which is actually quite odd, given that I’m at the complete opposite of the spectrum now. Throughout the first part of the 00’s, I was a PC gamer – not because I was certain that PC’s are, oh, so much more powerful than everything else, but because it was what I had. Nevertheless, playing on PC made my fingers go WASD – my fingers became WASD and have stayed like that ever since. It’s probably like your first language or riding a bike – once you’ve learned it, you never really forget. And when I had gotten WASD under my skin, I certainly didn’t forget. On top of that, I thought that I would forever remain a PC-WASD-gamer and certainly didn’t expect to play any games – besides maybe FIFA – on console.
Console releases came and went, and flame wars erupted. For the first couple of years I didn’t partake in any of that, but eventually I had to pick sides. Despite my fingers’ love for the computer keyboard, my wallet said otherwise, when conversation fell on graphics cards and new computers entirely. I had already waved by arms around with the WiiMote in hand, playing golf or tennis or maybe a bit of Legend of Zelda – but the Wii never really grew on me. And so I made my real choice, strongly influenced by how much money was available. Asymmetrical analog sticks sure sounded weird, but nonetheless I got my first console, the Xbox 360 in 2008 a couple of months after the release of GTA IV. I was head over heels in love with that controller, despite friends complaining about its weight, its size and its stupid asymmetrical analog sticks. But didn’t they see the shear brilliance in that controller? The weight was perfect, the analog sticks certainly weren’t stupid, and the triggers – oh the triggers – were shaped like heaven. I’ve played many great games with the Xbox 360 controller in the palm of my hand – From Left 4 Dead to Viva Piñata to Mirror’s Edge. Every now and then, I crossed the great pond and played a couple of games of FIFA with friends on the PS3. I wonder what the designers for the Playstation 3 controller thought to themselves, when they came up with the idea for such an atrocity. “Let’s make a controller that is too small for anyone but children, and then throw in slippery analog sticks and rounded triggers with a weird spring feeling to them.” That must have been it. Many years went by in company of the Xbox 360 controller – with the occasional FIFA match on something a bit… Worse. Then 2013 came along and changed everything about that. It’s possible that the very same designers for the PS3 controller had jumped ship and gone to Microsoft only to think up things like “always online”, and “single-use game copies” – at least, I would like to think so. Despite my love for the Xbox 360 controller, Microsoft’s bizarre idea for the Xbox One had made me think about other alternatives, namely my former arch enemy that is the Playstation.
As you might have deducted from reading this little trip back in history, I really, really liked the Xbox 360 controller. It is actually my favorite controller – or at least it used to be my favorite controller, until the Playstation 4 controller made its way from a lousy factory in China all the way to my hands in Copenhagen. Just looking at it, nothing much has changed from its older, much worse sibling. The base design was still the same, as was the button layout, (besides from the huge touchpad in the center of it) but something had still changed. Due to the huge touchpad, the controller had gotten wider, and I no longer felt as if my hands were headcrabs, trying to suck out the life of the controller. Also, Sony had finally realized that triggers should be shaped like actual triggers instead of rounded sweat traps, just waiting for your fingers to slide off. And the analog sticks – no, they hadn’t become asymmetrical – were finally shaped so fingers could actually move them around. It was love at first sight – or touch so to speak – and the controller no longer felt like a slippery, sweaty mess. We’re only a few months into the next generation of consoles and my hands are aching to play. I’ve already played my fair share of Don’t Starve, my beloved FIFA and Battlefield. Now I’m just waiting for that special something. Give me something like Limbo or Spec Ops: The Line – then I will finally be happy.
As I’ve said already, I’ve played in a lot of different ways throughout the years. I started off, strictly playing on PC. Then I took a brief detour to play a bit on the Wii, which then led me to the Xbox 360 and its magnificent controller. I think I’ve finally found the perfect controller – Sony, you’ve really screwed up with Playstation 3, but boy, have you nailed it now. Please don’t ever change it, it’s just that good.