Sunday, 11 January 2009


Ergonomics is design with concern to the users needs. When it comes to the ergonomics of consoles I haven’t ever really thought that much about them. When the PS3 came out my first thoughts weren’t that’s a practical method of cooling instead if anything I thought it was much more rounded similar to they way the Xbox 360 has been smoothed.

It seems the next generation consoles are trying to look more attractive to the consumer, well the 360 and PS3 by rounding them, I personally prefer the new Xbox design as it ‘flows’ better, the PS3 looks bulbous and the Wii is really a glorified rectangle.

The Atari 2600 controller was a joystick with no buttons and the joystick only had 8 directions. The main problem consumers found was that there was no pause button. Next the Atari 5600 controller which was similar to the 2600 but had full 360˚ movement and a pause button, Atari also added a numerical pad beneath the joystick and some buttons above which was apparently very difficult to use. The NES controller was the first to feature the D-pad which is still common place today. The NES controller was a basic rectangle with A and B buttons, this was quickly followed by the Sega Genesis which featured more buttons and actually looked comfortable to hold same as the SNES controller.

The PS1 has a grip which goes into the palm for more comfortable gaming, the PS1 console was the first to be able to play CD’s. On the N64 controller they couldn’t decide wither or not to remove the D-pad in favour of the analogue stick and without really meaning to created a verostile controller. I must confess I haven’t used these consoles so I quizzed a friend on them and the N64 is by far his favourite controller as the ‘middle part feels like a gun with the analogue stick above it making it wicked for FPS and 3rd person games, whereas the D-pad worked well for driving games and basically anything else. Also the button layout means less stress on thumbs’

Duel shock controllers for the PS1 allowed you to be able to feel when something fell or the character got shot enhancing game play. The dream cast controller ‘fits nicely into the palm however is bulky, the memory card fits directly into the controller which is a nice touch’

With the current controllers there all wireless. The PS3 controller features Sixaxis which is a good concept (it not trying to ripe offs the Wii) but doesn’t work very well. ‘The PS3 controller lends itself to driving games whereas the Xbox 360 is better for FPS.’ The Wii is different to the other two as it is many used one handed but can be used with both and is a basic rectangle however for the way its used this works well.

A good controller/console should work without having to think about it, on a controller your hands should be able to move seamlessly without discomfort across the controller. As for the console I would say atheistic are a plus as long as the performance isn’t scarified.

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