Controllers are made to break. Sony and Microsoft know your Xbox 360 or PS3 is a one-time purchase. Sure, they make money selling you games, but they can also pick up more of your cash when you need to purchase another controller. And if you're a passionate gamer, you will need to purchase another, and possibly another, and another.
Controllers are the dynamic link between analogue and digital; you being the analogue and the game being the digital. Unless you're the annoying type who takes overly exaggerated care of your belongings, that controller is going to be taking some abuse. I admit mine takes more than average, and not because I failed my anger management course, but because I use it professionally. And by professionally I mean it gets punched, squeezed, dropped, thrown, hucked, spun, tossed, hammered, stepped on, bit, yanked, and bitch-slapped. So far I have never lit one on fire.
Controllers bear the brunt of frustration, even when the game is responsible. It's sometimes difficult at first to tell if the problem is the game, but we take it out on the controller anyway. We press, twist, and push harder in an attempt to make our commands… louder, like raising your voice at an immigrant to make him understand you. Why don't they make home controllers the same way they make arcade controllers? Those can take years of abuse. The problem may be price. If they offered an indestructible, lifetime-guaranteed controller, I would have some mental issue about forking over the extra nine-dollars and ninety-five cents.
Yes, I know there are third party controllers available, and I've busted those as well. Remember the Batarang that came with the Xbox? Or the N64 Bat-Grapple? I broke those in a few weeks. And as the names imply, they were good for throwing.
And then there's the mouse. Some swear by it; I swear at it. The only reason it works is because PC game developers pander to it. We are one amazing, unbreakable controller away from using the PC exclusively for gaming. Note: To properly neutralize a mouse, turn it on its back and hammer the flat side with your fist. And I could mention the keyboard, but that's like homework or data entry. And it's not convenient to throw. I have not broken a peripheral device such as a lightgun, joystick, steering wheel, guitar, or dance mat. It's not that they're made better, it's just that I use them less. If you're a Guitar Hero junkie, I bet you've been through more guitars than Pete Townshend.
Then there's the aptly named nunchuck. The Wii sticks fly out of your hand as if under the control of poltergeists. No person, window, or TV screen is safe while mom is sweating to the oldies. So not only do you have to replace the broken controllers, but you have to call your insurance agent to assess the damage to your house.
Sometimes a controller will become less responsive over time. The contacts separate, and other wear and tear contribute to diminish its effectiveness. The affect is gradual. You have to use a new controller to gauge how bad your old one is. But don't smash the crippled controller. That's the one you give to your opponent when he comes over to play against you. Just remember to duck when that controller goes flying.
CCC Senior Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*