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29 Controls of Christmas
Original Xbox Control
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 16, 2008   |   Episode 20 (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 pictured Xbox and control weighs in at a hefty 200 lbs.
Brief Synopsis: While we could spend a whole show talking about the similarities between the Xbox and the Dreamcast, when it comes to the controls it definitely has more in common with another Sega console. Like the Saturn, Microsoft decided that it was a good idea to give the Japanese and Americans two different controls. The Japanese control was small and somewhat attractive, while the American control was the largest thing you have ever seen. I've seen satellite dishes smaller than this control. The control was the size of a small planet. You could use the control as a weapon when you went into battle. In other words, the control was large. Enormous. The size of a small elephant. What was Microsoft thinking? The PR material that went out before the Xbox launch lauded the control as "the perfect control" that was "made by the best gamers in the world." I don't know where they got these gamers, but apparently they have more fingers than I do. This control had randomly placed buttons, control sticks and pads that were too far away from each other, a confusing layout and a hugely unnecessary logo that took up half the real estate. You couldn't even push the logo or anything, it was just there taking up space. Not only was it big and pointless, but it was also gaudy. If you didn't know this was Microsoft's first stab at the home video game market, you surely would after looking at this horrendous control.

The Style: At a glance the original Xbox control looks a lot like the Saturn analog control. It's big, round and has two legs ... it looks a lot like a sumo wrestler. But at least the Saturn control didn't have a giant logo taking up half the space on the control. What is going on with the style of this pad? It's as if somebody forgot what the most important part of a control is. Apparently they thought the purpose of this pad was the advertise the Xbox brand. I'm sorry, but that's completely unnecessary. If I'm using your stupid control pad then chances are I already bought into your crappy system. Maybe if that logo did something;

Okay, Peter Moore, we get it, you like tattoos! Now put your shirt back on and answer my question about EA Sports!
but no, it just sits there looking stupid and pushing all of the buttons and analog sticks away. This is a ghastly control, just the ugliest thing seen in the 21st century.

What the 23 Year Old Me Would Say: Good lord, how large does Microsoft think my hands are? Actually, this kind of looks like that Saturn control, the analog one. Except this one is a little bigger, really stupid looking. Does this logo do anything? It doesn't seem to click down or anything. But seriously, they wouldn't just put this logo here for no good reason, right? Guys, I'm serious, this logo does something, right? No? Oh give me a break. I think I'm going to go back to that PlayStation 2 control. Wake me up when Microsoft redesigns this thing.

What I Would Say Now: The me of seven years ago is right, this is one big and ugly control. What is truly offensive is that we didn't have to get this ugly game pad, Microsoft could have given us the Japanese pad right out from the get-go. They had already made the second design, so what would have been the harm in just scrapping this pad and giving us the one we all wanted. At least put it to a vote. If they had focus tested the control they would have seen that this original control was much too large and ugly to make it to retail. I'm sure there are people that still stand by this control, saying that it fits their hand better. Well, those people are wrong. And they really need to get a life.

The Original Xbox Control Haiku:
This pad makes me say:
Oh my god this thing is huge!
That's what she said.
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