There are many options. Lot of video game controllers. There are both good and bad controllers. Nearly anyone can hold a controller. But why is this possible? What makes a controller so useful?
My opinion, and this is a very amateur one, is that there are three key elements that make a controller worth using: build quality, button layout, bells and whistles, and build quality. All three elements are essential for a modern controller.
Building quality is a complex conversation. Every controller is sturdy until it breaks, so it’s hard to say which ones are actually well-built. The Nintendo Switch Joy-Con is a terrible modern controller. The two-split controllers designed primarily for use in the console’s handheld mode look nice, but in five years, I’ve cycled through more than I can count. They keep breaking. Drop them a couple of times, play too rough with them, squint at them too hard… anything out of the ordinary will obliterate the Joy-Con.
Nintendo is losing the race for build quality. Its competitors are all far more competent. S Controller.|S controller. I’ve been using one on my PC for months, and it’s become a staple of my backpack. It’s been dropped and mishandled, I admit, but it’s stood up to the abuse shockingly well.
You can choose the layout of the buttons. I prefer the PlayStation 5 DualSense. Sony did it right with the ‘90s and every PlayStation controller since has been laid out more or less identically. My fingers feel perfectly aligned on the joysticks. The X-button is distracting to my Nintendo-addled brain. However, using symbols for the rest of buttons feels natural. This all comes down to the individual.
To a normal person, bells and whistles are the least important part a controller. They’Re the icing. I think like an 8-year-old, and I lick the icing out of my cake. This is my most important area. For a long time, I figured you couldn’t get sillier than a pair of Joy-Con. It’s a controller split down the middle with motion controls and “HD rumble,”This is what really matters at one terrible party game (1-2 Switch). In 2017, it was the platonic ideal of bells and whistles, a striking response to Xbox’s long-time “make sure it works” philosophy. But now, Sony’s DualSense has a rumble system to rival Nintendo’s, a touchpad that’s entirely useless and triggers that can literally resist a player’s touch. Necessary? No. But these are all fundamentally toys, and from that perspective, it’s tough to get better than the DualSense.
DualSense is my favorite control. It feels good in the hand, it’s full of silly features, and it looks damn good. A videogame controller can be compared with a Starbucks order: I love mine, but others might find it offensive. Everyone has different tastes so it is important to know what you like.
Sorrel Krüger-Jung is a sophomore studying virtuality game development at Ohio University. Please note that columnists’ views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Sorrel via twitter: @sorrelkj.