Gamepad Wars

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Given that Sony and microsoft have each placed their console offerings on the altar of gaming, with little more than arty pictures available now is the time for wild speculation and hearsay, and to kick things off let’s have a look at each console’s control pads.

The control pad is more important than the hardware’s graphical capability and processor speeds and we’ve seen enough pics to start forming opinions. Obviously Nintendo‘s response will only be coming later today and rumours are currently wild at best, suggesting everything from button-less touch-screen devices to some kind of weird ball thing that you wave your hands over, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. However, impressions of the Xbox360 and PS3 controllers are plentiful so its time to compare…

Using the Xbox Controller S is a bit like trying to wrestle with a black plastic brick and the black and white buttons are only reachable to people with an extra thumb. It certainly seems that microsoft has learned from its mistakes, the white 360 has matching controllers that look delicate in comparison to the Controller S. These beauties are also wireless but also have the option to plug it in to the USB port and let it charge whilst you play. It has now opted for sets of two shoulder buttons instead of those awful triggers and ditched the black and white buttons.

Conversely, Sony’s Dual Shock 2, despite its alleged copyright infringements, was a piece of perfection and in my opinion the best control-pad available to the consoles of its generation. Every button seems to be in just the right place and allows for long and complex button combos with much greater ease than any of its competitors. The GameCube’s controllers also have received a lot of praise from gamers, especially the wireless Wavebird but, to me, the DualShock 2 still just beats it. But looking at the pics of the PS3 controllers is a little worrying, Sony obviously hasn’t heard of the old adage "if it ain’t broke…". I’m not sure whether you press the buttons or just sling it viciously at the telly (perhaps it will come back if you miss). Its not certain whether its wireless yet, but the in built Wi-Fi technology in the PS3 suggests that it’s a strong possibility.

Despite being a strong Sony fan for many years, the events unfolding around E3 2005 have started to make me think that the Xbox360 might just have the edge for the moment and I still await Nintendo’s offering with huge anticipation. For more gaming info and live updates from E3 2005, check our sister-blog Games Digest.

shel

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