Friday, February 22, 2008

Control Pad Stress Test: PlayStation 3 SIXAXIS

Whenever a new game console is released to market, one of its key features is the control pad. Consumers look at ergonomics, button layout, and even aesthetic design, in addition to functionality issues such as the Wii remote's motion-sensitive inputs. Now, after an unprecedented year-long study, Insult Swordfighting is proud to present the results of our intensive stress test of the control pads for the three major game consoles. Today: the PlayStation 3 SIXAXIS.

The Game: Devil May Cry 4

The Scenario: A final, almost tacked-on battle against a nearly defeated Savior, in which Nero must attack the Savior's right hand with a Buster (simple) and then leap and grab the Savior's left hand with the Devil Bringer at a precise moment (IMPOSSIBLE WTF).

The Stress Test: Experimenter remained seated and released the SIXAXIS in a shallow downward motion, simulating disgust and frustration. As always, it was impossible to replicate the exact force and trajectory from one test to the next. In this case, mitigating factors were the oblique angle of the throw, and the area rug that may or may not have been at the first point of impact.

Impact on Aesthetics: Devastating. The plastic pieces between the R1 and R2 buttons, and the L1 and L2 buttons, have both detached -- as has the R1 button itself. R2 and L1 are both loose. The front and back pieces of the controller's body are coming apart. In addition, the four face buttons now feel loose and lack tactile feedback.

Impact on Performance: Substantial. With the R2 button hanging by a thread, a sweeping upward motion is required to press it. The R1 button is missing entirely, and thus unusable. The L1 button has been knocked off its axis a bit, although it still works. And the PS button is stuck in the depressed position. Analog stick functions seem to work fine, as does patented SIXAXIS tilt control, insofar as patented SIXAXIS tilt control works at all.

The Verdict: Kaput. The SIXAXIS was unable to stand up to our rigorous stress test, just as its Dual Shock predecessor was when pitted against the turtle-like boss in Shadow of the Colossus. (You know, the one with all the geysers on the ground and it flips onto its back and you climb up and if you fall off while it's turning over you have to do it all again and oh my god.) A new SIXAXIS will be required to play future PS3 games.

But Insult Swordfighting Labs feels that scientific knowledge is worth the cost, as the benefit to humanity from these tests far outweighs short-term material considerations. Toward a better and more prosperous future!

15 comments:

jeffk said...

Sony controllers have a history of this sort of design deficiency. I once had a DualShock splinter into dozens of pieces simply because I repeatedly smashed it with a hammer. It was entirely unusable from that point on...although the cheating whore bastard Winning Eleven A.I. learned a devastating lesson that afternoon.

avixe said...

I demand you continue these tests with controllers from yesteryear, and also a Game Boy.

Mitch Krpata said...

@jeffk: $600 for the system, $50 for a second controller -- you'd think the least they could do is make them impervious to being run over by a pickup truck.

@avixe: Test case 1: What is the effect of swinging an NES controller around like a lasso before releasing it into a moving ceiling fan?

Daniel Purvis said...

Nice job. I've written a little on how I prefer the softer face buttons and responsiveness of the SIXAXIS when compared to the 360, however when you have as few funds to spare as I do, you learn restraint in the face of adversity haha.

Matthew Gallant said...

@avixe: When I was younger, I had a subscription to Nintendo Power. One of the running themes in the magazine was that Nintendo consoles/controllers/etc were effectively indestructible. People would write in with crazy stories like "my SNES fell out of a two story window and it still works!"

Claims like this demand thorough testing, you should apply for a grant, Mitch!

Dagbert said...

I've been throwing my sixaxis during heated Warhawk sessions. One time in particular, I spiked it off the floor, and it bounced across the room and smacked into my door. Still works ok, but something seems to actually be wrong with the connection in the PS button.

Sweet blog.

Spiderbait said...

The SIXAXIS sucks. The first little accident the controller had and the R1 button dropped off along with the little plastic thing holding it on and the metal bar that makes it possible for the R2 button to tilt broke the plastic that was holding it in place. I managed to get the R1 button back in place but it's loose and has a habit of falling off. The R2(D2) button is beyond repair and wont work unless you make an effort to push the button upwards while squeezing it.

Anonymous said...

I dropped and chucked my six axis tonnes of times and it is fine. Although the one remote feels a bit loose and if you get the remote a squeeze it really hard you can feel the remote popping open.

You should do a stress test where you grind the anolougue stick round lots of times like some one would on a FPS

Prism_zet said...

the only problem i've had so far, is that my oldest controller, after being dropped probably a quarter thousand times is a piece of plastic that broke inside the controller that wegdes behing the R1/R2/L1/L2 buttons and can jam them.

Also i was extremly frustrated at blazing angels, in teh ice level with ice canyons, and d;flashf;slajfds;
nearly twisted the controller in half (up on right half, down on left) it creaks a bit and feels loose, but still works fine.

Anonymous said...

My 360 was recently attacked by my dogs... they practically ate the bottom half of it. But it still works flawlessly.

robyrt said...

You know you don't need to jump and Devil Bringer the boss's left hand, right? You can just Buster it again. :-P

Mitch Krpata said...

This I don't need to know!

jen said...

Keep up with these great test!

Kiara said...

Continue with all your test... I just wanted to pass this along. I love playing Download Games. Whatever the controller is, I'll still continue playing and have fun! :)

Anonymous said...

my r1 button acts as my r2 button my select button is broken and the l2 button doesn't work i need these for far cry 2!