August 27, 2006

[OPINION] Bottom 10 Buttons

Kyle,

The top 10 controller buttons feature was the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. But some Russian Warez site linked to accidentally so it got like a billion hits in the last 24 hours. We need to milk this for all its worth. Can you follow up with a bottom ten buttons list, or an 11th to 20th best buttons list, or a 46-56th best buttons lsit or SOMETHING. It doesn’t matter, just turn it in by midnight TONIGHT!

-Nathan

(Pasted to remind me of the assignment. Editor: Please remove)

1. L (SNES): I’ve already been through this in some detail in my discussion of the totally awesome R button (See top 10 buttons, No. 5) but, to recap, the L button breaks the natural, perfect balance between one hand (left) for moving the player and one hand (right) for hitting buttons and such. When the SNES’s L button broke this balance, the controller was forever maimed, never again to attain that perfect balance achieved by the NES controller. The L button has tried to make up for this by doing things like firing guns and scrolling the screen to the left, but nothing can make up for this original sin of controller design. NOTHING! Also, you can’t usually reach it on the N64.

2. L2 (PlayStation): As if one L button wasn’t enough. As far as I’m concerned, the entire L button family can go JUMP OFF A CLIFF!

3. Select (old, crappy systems, Sony systems): There has never, EVER been a game that required the select button. EVER! I mean, you can just use the directional pad to navigate any menus, right? Except on those stupid NES games that MAKE YOU reach WAY OVER with your right thumb to hit the select button to navigate the menus. Nintendo long ago realized the futility of this button, and Microsoft has wisely changed it to a slightly more useful “back” button on its consoles, but this useless, vesitigial button – the appendix of buttons, if you will — still lives on in consoles through the Playstation line. This is why I have been taking part in a lonely, blanket boycott on all Sony products for the last 11 years.

4. 4 (Jaguar): While the entire number pad on the Jaguar seems ill thought-out and uncomfortable, The 4 button is particularly annoying. Why? I’m not sure really, but this is No. 4 on the list, so I thought it’d be cute to put a “4” button here, so it gets singled out. And now I’ve officially written enough to move on the the next entry. Oh wait, not quite. All right… there.

5. Power (PS2): So let me get this straight… if I want to turn off my PS2, I have to reach around to the BACK of the system and flip a hard to find little switch? If I wanted to rearrange my entertainment system every time I wanted to turn something on or off, I would… um… I would do that. But I don’t want to do that. I know you can hold down the reset button on the front of the system for a few seconds to put the system into standby mode, but who has time? I’m a busy man, with cheeseburgers waiting to be eaten! I don’t want to have to bend over for THREE SECONDS just to turn off my freaking PS2.

6. Z (GameCube): Oh how the mighty have fallen. The Z trigger was the proud king of the N64 controller, representing the experience of firing a gun like no button since the trigger on the NES Zapper (see Top Ten Buttons., No. 3). But in one short generation, the button has gone from a proud, central position to a malformed little nubbin completed dwarfed by the humungous R button behind it. It won’t be long before the Z button is out of work, selling pushes for two bucks a pop just to get by.

7. II (Turbo Grafx 16): Roman numerals? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? NEXT!

8. Block (Virtua Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Crappy Arcade Fighters): YOU STUPID GAME I WAS BACKING AWAY YOU FREAKING KNEW I WANTED TO BLOCK DON’T GIVE ME THIS DUMB CRAP ABOUT HAVING TO HIT A WHOLE ‘NOTHER BUTTON JUST TO FREAKIN’ BLOCK YOU FREAKIN’ KNEW WHAT I WAS TRYING TO DO ARGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!

9. L3 (PlayStation 2): Stupid controller designer: Here’s an idea! Let’s put a button on the controller that gets activated when people push in the analog pad! And lets not label it so that EVERY FREAKING GAME has to say “(push in the left analog stick)” every time they say “L3.” And lets make it really easy to accidentally push so you change your target or somethig stupid right in the middle of a big battle. R3 is ok.

10. Triangle (PlayStation) First off, any button that thinks it’s too good for letters and numbers is already on my shit list. But triangle has the audacity to not only be a shape, but also to be incredibly annoying to use when writing out cheat codes (unlike fellow PlayStation buttons X, O and []). Just look at this excerpt from an actual code (http://www.cheatcc.com/psx2/sppsb.html):

Hold R2 + Right and press Triangle, Square, Triangle, Circle, Triangle.

Just think how much disk space (or printers ink, if you enjoy killing trees) we could save if we just called the Triangle button something simple like A. This code alone has 21 wasted characters writing out “triangle” instead of a one-letter button name. That might not seem like much, but it adds up. Those are 21 bytes that are clogging up the internet, helping to slow down your porn downloads. Think about it!

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