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Come back to my pad

d-pad.jpg

I’ve always loved the PlayStation D-pad, but it’s only just recently that I’ve realised exactly what’s so good about it. I hadn’t really used it for ages, what with most PS3 action games emphasising stick use, but then I went to Capcom to play Street Fighter IV. I tried to use a joystick, really I did, but after about an hour of clumsiness and frustration I finally gave up and requested a DualShock3. The difference once I had that familiar D-pad nestling beneath my thumb was both striking and immediate. I was 100% in control at last, pulling off special moves without fail, over and over again. It had been a long time, but the instincts were still there.

So then I got to thinking about why the PlayStation D-pad is so good. Why’s it so superior to the Xbox D-pad? And I think I figured it out. I might be alone on this, but to my mind (and thumbs) the faux-four-button design was a masterstroke. The PlayStation D-pad, like any other D-pad, is just one piece of plastic, but it’s sunk into the casing of the pad with each direction protruding as if it’s a separate button. Why’s this such a brilliant idea? Because you always know, with 100% certainty, whether you’re pushing in a straight line or a diagonal line. If you can feel one bump under your thumb: straight line. Two bumps: diagonal. Makes all the difference to me. By far the biggest problem I have with sticks and with other pads is knowing where a straight line ends and a diagonal begins – that’s why I always seem to jump and duck when I don’t mean to while playing Street Fighter IV with a stick. And I don’t care if it makes me an outcast among Street Fighter fans – I’m sticking with the pad.




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