Top 5 Buttons

Buttons have long been a central part of gaming, but it seems we’re going to be saying goodbye to them soon. With the ever rising success of incredibly accurate and nuanced systems such as Kinect capturing every movement with such perfect precision how can we ever possibly go back to something as tactile and responsive as buttons? The answer is we can’t. So as we wave a fond goodbye to our pass time’s old stalwart of control why not look back at some of the best buttons we’ve ever been blessed with. These are our top 5 buttons.

5. Select

Oh select, you’ve always been there for us, for some reason. Sat to the  left of Start, to the right of the d-pad or joystick, basically doing nothing but always lingering just in case we’re playing an open world game and want to open the map a bit quicker. Yes, Select has been on the gamepad since the days of NES, where it was used to confuse players as a way of navigating menus sometimes, but never consistently given a use. Select has gone by many guises, on an Xbox controller it’s called “back” as in “Back in the day I was called Select” and also “-“ on a Wii controller as in “Hey – I used to be called Select”. Select has a fond place in my heart, never pressed often and usually a sign of designer excess, Select sits among the best of the buttons as a proud number 5.

4. The Black and White Buttons on the Xbox Controller

I know what you’re thinking, “But Lewis, that’s two buttons!” Oh naive little you, you see the Black and White buttons were actually just one button with two ways to press it. No game ever required you having to press both, and if it did it was a ridiculous game. Unlike Select the Black and White buttons only appeared once in gaming history, but what an appearance. I think it was used maybe 4 times in its entire history, yet the only one I can remember was Halo 2 using it for a torch. But their uselessness was endearing, comical and helped bulk out that ever so tiny Xbox pad. The Black and White buttons deserve their place on this list. I also had to choose both otherwise I’d be called racist.

3. L3

What a button! L3 is unparalleled in its use as sprint in most modern FPS’s. Having to hold down the stick you are also pushing is simply genius design and in no way infuriates me in every game I’ve played with it in. L3 was brought to us in the PS2 era as a way of shortening the life of your Dualshock 2 and has since become a standby button on both the PS3 and Xbox 360. For some reason Nintendo didn’t put it into the Wii nunchuck, but the WiiU is set to break that pattern by introducing a button that is also a stick to controller that is also a screen. L3 eludes the casual player, having no visible means of knowing it’s there without innate player knowledge. L3 shall be missed in it’s use as the sprint button and absolutely no other function.

2. Orange on the Guitar Hero Guitar

Now here’s a bit of an obscure one. Orange is by all means the single most impressive button on the Guitar Hero Guitar for one simple reason: you will never press it unless you play hard. This button is so advanced, so complex and so difficult to press mid song that it is actually fenced off from the everyday gamer. “No,” it says, “you are not ready young one. You must first perfect Cliffs of Dover on Medium before you dare press me. I’m not like your whorish Green, or even your slightly coy Blue. I am Orange, keeper of the end of the fret, and I am not to be pressed by all and sundry. Hear my name and quake, for I am a god amongst buttons.”

1. That Button on the Top of the Classic Controller That Doesn’t Actually Do Anything

Enigmatic. Mysterious. Elusive. All of these words have now been used to describe that button on the top of the Classic Controller that doesn’t actually do anything. It rests there, like a unicorn in a field of dreams, settled betwixt the shoulder buttons, the proudest of all raised plastic. It taunts you, invites you to push it downward, to discover its purpose. Yet, when the player suspends their awe and dares push it… nothing. The button on the top of the Classic Controller that doesn’t actually do anything… doesn’t actually do anything. Some think it was put there by Miyamoto for a game design considered too dangerous to complete. Some people think that the Classic Controller’s design is used in a Satanic ritual and that the button on the top of the Classic Controller that doesn’t actually do anything stops it from becoming a conduit to hell. We shall never know what it does, but suffice to say it deserves its position at the top of this list, mostly because I fear it, as should you. All hail the button on the top of the Classic Controller that doesn’t actually do anything. HAIL I SAY!

About Lewis Dunn

Lewis got into gaming as a child, when he was handed the portable version of crack cocaine, known colloquially as Tetris. He would spend hours trying to make blocks form lines so they would disappear never to return. At the age of 8 he had his first existential crisis as to what happens to blocks that disappear. Lewis has a deep love of humour in games, with some of his favourites being No More Heroes, Brutal Legend & Portal. Lewis enjoys writing bios in the third person.