What ever happened to third-party controllers? While I’m not a big fan of every last alternative controller, lord knows some have been bad ideas, it is worrying that many are now gone because the console providers have locked down the core technologies surrounding wireless.
Enter Evil Controllers and their contemporaries who will gladly make you a custom controller with all the built-in features right off the bat, albeit by essentially taking a hacksaw to the ones provided by the first party companies.
Now normally these controllers only actually offer either cheap alternatives or extra flashing lights when compared to controllers provided by the first party developers. We have a bit of fresh air with the Evil Controller Back Plate (Vision) which should help handle battery problems with wireless Xbox 360 controllers. While I can say their solution isn’t as permanent as they claim, I should also say it could be the last battery you buy until you get the Xbox 720 or what have you, and in that sense it does earn its “life time” namesake.
Now while I’d love to bang on about third-party controllers and how they are now hit or miss, I think what’s really worth talking about are the controllers that made gaming easier. Game-Cube controllers that had the extra Z button and the overall design of Evil Controller’s Vision battery enhancements, which directly address a design flaw that should be handled earlier in design. Cramped fingers seems like something you can stress test and disorienting design can be prevented (cough n64 controller cough).
Decided to have my mom try out my controller and her first reaction was that the standard controller would cause cramps, While I have some discomfort personally I have to say that these things don’t feel great when you’re on a 5-6 hour bender.
It’s facts like these that make me hope for third-party controllers even though I realize I might not see those with every console. Wii U will be at the mercy of Nintendo, but I don’t see why. Especially with us planning on having the PS3 and 360 last for another couple of seasons despite game developers complaining that they can’t have some Evil Third Party Controllers to compete with the main stream.