The top videogame controller buttons - Part 1

X-button – PlayStation 2 – 2000

This button is about as good as the PlayStation’s X-button, but in case you can’t tell, the color is a bit closer to black. There’s a line of thought that if a button is a classic, there’s no reason for it to change. On the other hand, it had been five years since the first PlayStation introduced its line of buttons, and maybe they could have added a space foam surface or some jazzier name, like a pentagon button instead of the triangle one. The X-button performs well, but lacks the innovation of some of the other buttons of its time.


Left Mouse Button – Any Mouse

The primary load-bearer of human-computer interactions is the left mouse button. Unlike many of the other top buttons, the LB shirks the traditional round or square shape. Instead, it’s, well... shaped like the left side of whatever mouse you’re using. The left-button can boast being the original (“O-G”) mouse button, which the right button was modeled after. You may be familiar with this button already, but if not, have a look at your right hand’s index finger. There should be a left button directly underneath.

Above: Nobody remembers this anymore 

The Left Button does sacrifice some of its wheel-ability for a stable base and comfortable, regular clicking, but compared to the center mouse-wheel’s rolling, the left button is completely outclassed. In fact, if we were pressed to quantify exactly how much this button can spin, we would have to say “not at all,” because it can’t. Luckily, it makes up for it in ease of use and a good personality.


Power Button – Xbox 360 – 2005

The 360’s power button is, in our opinion, one of the most beautiful buttons on our list. It creates a slightly concave surface in a world of convex button design, drawing attention to itself not by popping out like a ribald upstart shouting “Hey, look at me!” but through importance, dignity and neon-green light.

The importance of the power button cannot be understated. It is one of the gatekeepers to our Xbox 360s, and without its favor we couldn’t even play the old PC re-releases on XBLA. At first, we were going to give this Top Button spot to the wireless power button on the 360 controllers, but how can you turn on your 360 with your controller if you need to turn on your 360 to calibrate your controller the first time? What is the sound of one hand clapping?

We did, however, take a couple points off for this:


A-button – Xbox 360 Controller – 2005

The second A-button to be in the top buttons, the 360’s “A” is the synthesis of 20 years of button engineering coupled with scientific breakthroughs. Like its predecessor, the NES’s A-button, it’s made of plastic, but is green instead of red. The B-button on the 360’s controller, on the other hand, still retains its ancestral red shade.

Aesthetically, the A-button makes it apparent that developers are putting more effort into their controller designs, and that the games industry has grown over time. The face of the button is clear, with a thick-lined relief of a capital letter “A” cemented into the core of the button. The face of the “A” and the background appear in signature Xbox green. The strongly structured lines of the “A” and clear plastic face, coupled with the pleasing roundness and “pop” of the button, create an A-button that is both modern and utilitarian. The 360 controller’s A-button is simply some of the most fun you can have hitting a button.



  • inSovietRussiaDatesRecallBrettElston - April 6, 2011 12:44 a.m.

    i remember eagerly anticipating a part 2 and then getting super disappointed that it never happened
  • KrazyGamer - February 14, 2011 1:46 a.m.

    Funny Article.
  • coolbeans - October 26, 2009 9:28 p.m.

    i hit my screen when i saw that big red button...
  • Hydrohs - October 26, 2009 2:27 a.m.

    I read this article before reading the author, and the writing style seemed so familiar; then I finally looked at who the author was and everything made sense.
  • super0sonic - October 25, 2009 6:59 a.m.

    Wow this was really interesting in a silly way. I hope to see a Part 2
  • Phazon117 - October 24, 2009 4:54 p.m.

    "We’ve pushed it several times, and encountered no difficulties whatsoever." It's comments like this that make the article so god damn enjoyable.
  • CAPST3R - October 24, 2009 8:40 a.m.

    @nadrewood999: the alphabet's made up of 26 letters, not 26 words. you're even more gramatically incorrect than the article! BTW GR, you forgot two tiiiny little buttons... THE ANALOGUE STICKS AND THE ANALOGUE CLICKS! lol, that rhymed. and the l2 button is used in nearly every game you morons, what are you talking about?
  • Willy105 - October 24, 2009 1:51 a.m.

    This article fails for having the Playstation controller more than one time, and fails even harder for not having the best one of all time: The N64's Z button. OF ALL TIME.
  • Kytl - October 24, 2009 1:05 a.m.

    wheres the Z button? thats my favorite button after the A button
  • secretsearcher - October 22, 2009 8:30 p.m.

    You guys have waaaaaay too much time on your hands. But I will say this. The X button on the Gamecube should have recieved some recognition. It would be very hard to stay alive in Smash Bros. if you couldn't jump. (p.s. I know you CAN jump by flicking up on the control stick, but really, no one does that.)
  • bilstar - October 22, 2009 7:37 p.m.

    Great article.
  • Claymore17 - October 22, 2009 6:57 p.m.

    paul ryan??? whhaaattt?? isn't that the really deep voice guy that says "that's pretty funny" on tdar? i thought he left gamesradar
  • rxb - October 22, 2009 1:05 p.m.

    Strange article. Also you can turn as 360 by pressing the disc tray button.
  • AHolyMonk - October 22, 2009 1:49 a.m.

    Excellent Article! I did notice the absence of the Intellivision controller wheel, the granddaddy of all modern analog sticks. What a beautiful mix of form and function, no?
  • JoeMasturbaby - October 21, 2009 9:36 p.m.

    "(“O-G”) mouse button,..." HAHAHAHAHAHA great article, O-G buttons fo lyfe!
  • TheHolyHandGrenade - October 21, 2009 8:41 p.m.

    Great artical! never seen somone spend four pages on controller buttons before!
  • THEBIGJ3 - October 21, 2009 7:34 p.m.

    Great read! Very informative! haha! Being left handed though, I've never used the W button on the keyboard for forward, not once, so the UPARROW key get's my vote there, and the zero on the number pad for those all-important, super-accessible, Call-Of-Duty, little-finger reloads... Also another lefty issue with the mouse: "You may be familiar with this button already, but if not, have a look at your right hand’s index finger. There should be a left button directly underneath." However the left button is, as you suggest, quite legendary. No button under here, just a beer. :-D
  • bloodyshadow - October 21, 2009 6:45 p.m.

    This was absolutely hilarious! Great job, as usual Mr. Ryan.
  • TreeWhale - October 21, 2009 6:38 p.m.

    I am a Whale And i live in a tree but squirrels don't like me because i am in a tree I am a Whale
  • MagicalSarai - October 21, 2009 5:55 p.m.

    I anticate and eagerly await the second part of this article.

Showing 1-20 of 64 comments

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