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29 Controls of Christmas
Sony PlayStation Control
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 11, 2008   |   Episode 15 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at 29 of the best known video game controls of all time, from the Nintendo Entertainment System to the Nintendo Wii remote. We're going to review each and every one of them, and then give you a short haiku. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 29 Controls of Christmas!



The original PlayStation control wasn't perfect, but at least you didn't have to sit it on its side to play games!
Brief Synopsis: While Sega opted to completely change their Saturn control when bringing it to these shores, Sony decided what worked for the Japanese would work for America. How right they were. While it's hard to think of a PlayStation control without two analog sticks protruding from the bottom, the original PlayStation control was just that. On the surface it looked like a Super NES control, only this control featured a couple of handles to hold on to and a second pair of shoulder buttons. While other companies had dabbled in ergonomic design, it was Sony that got it right. The PlayStation control (even without the analog sticks) just felt right. The only problem was the disjointed D-pad, but even that was easy to overcome once you got used to it. Years later Sony would release the an analog alternative, first without rumble and then with. There's no doubt that the dual shock was a better control, however we'll review that design when we get to the PlayStation 2. In the mean time, this PlayStation control got the job done. Visually it wasn't the most appealing control on the market (the Japanese Saturn control is definitely a sexier beast), but in 1995 you could not find a more comfortable controller.

The Style: It's not that the PlayStation control was ugly ... but without the two analog sticks jutting out of the bottom it makes those handles look way bigger than they actually are. In a lot of ways Sony decided not to take any chances. The controller is the same color as the console, the D-pad and button layout is no different than the Super NES and the only real difference

Can somebody remind me how we played 3D games like Jumping Flash using nothing but a D-pad?
is the second set of shoulder buttons. The control was comfortable; one cannot simply write that off. However, it wasn't a revolution when it came to video game controls. Style wise the control was functional, it wasn't the best looking control but it was one of the most comfortable.

What the 17 Year Old Me Would Say: PlayStation, eh? That's kind of a stupid name. Oh hey, this is going to be the station where I play, whoooo! It's not like the Saturn, now that's a cool name. And Genesis. Sega really put some time into thinking up their consoles. Except for Game Gear, that's a pretty stupid name too. But I'll give this PlayStation a try, after all it's the only place I can play Mortal Kombat III. Right off the bat I'm not sure I like the D-pad, it's not connected and it feels strange. I do like these handles, though. This is actually kind of comfortable to hold. It feels like it's missing something ... I don't know what.

What I Would Say Now: I'm sitting here holding my original PlayStation control, wondering how I ever used this thing. It's not that it's bad, it's certainly comfortable and all of the buttons are in the right locations. But it just feels so foreign without the analog sticks. What's more, I am guilty of taking for granted some of the minor changes Sony made to the Dual Shock 2 and 3. It's strange to think that Sony was pushing 3D games (Jumping Flash, Twisted Metal, Warhawk, etc.) with a standard D-pad. It's a good thing those two analog sticks came around when they did, I'm not sure how excited I would be using this control for the next three consoles.

The PlayStation Control Haiku:
Original pad.
Missing the analog sticks.
It does its job well.
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