Wednesday, November 19, 2008

control standards?

Should consoles have standards, hard or soft, for which buttons on their controllers do what?

You don't have to play many games or play often to be annoyed by disparity in controls. One game uses Left Trigger to aim and the next uses it to direct squad mates. One game uses the Y button to jump, another B, another Left Bumper. It would sure make life easier for gamers, especially occasional gamers, if we could count on some familiarity in controls.

By the way, this is one of the reasons occasional gamers get discouraged from becoming regular gamers. Every game's controls are a challenge to learn, because little is familiar.


  1. On the topic of controllers, since getting a 360 I am amazed at how good it feels to use & an ideal weight too. The PS3 controller in comparison is very light & not such a tidy fit.

    Back on topic, I really don't like the idea of a standardised system of functions for the controller in every game. Part of the experience of the game is learning to use the controller in a new way - this doesn't mean I like badly designed control systems though & Alone in the Dark seems to suffer badly from this condition.

  2. Players should at the very least have the ability to re-map their controls in any way they want. Or even a standard setting for the player's profile that propagates into the games (clicking left stick always crouches, for example).

    But I do know that Microsoft has (some) required standards for their controls. For example, A is always used to go forward and B is always used to go back.

    Interesting fact: though not a control standard, MS also has a rule that if a game has a loading time greater than XX seconds (30 maybe?) the game is required to teach the player in some way about the game, be it information on the world, what the different buttons do, and the like.

  3. That's interesting. I've noticed that on the loading screens of my 360 games, but never would have guessed MS required it. I have noticed that B is always back on the 360, which is great.

    Yes, being able to re-map controls would solves the problem for many, though that tedium at the beginning of every game would be annoying. But occasional gamers would not likely be aware of such freedom unless it was explicitly pointed out in the game's intro (not on a loading screen, but actually during gameplay).


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