BAD'S Commentary Page


|| TITLE || Peripheral Damage
  || WRITER ||   BAD
  || DATED ||   12.31.2009


Not too long ago, my Xbox 360 shit the bed and it sucked, but it wasn't nearly as bad as some other cases. Where mine lasted for nearly four years, others were getting repairs done on theirs even before a year had passed! I felt somewhat lucky, but then my account completely screwed itself (thanks to a sudden "change" in credit card terms), and that was the icing on the cake. Even when that happened, I realized nothing could really be done, so I tried to make sense of it and accepted it. But there was one other nagging Xbox 360 hardware defect that is not going away, no matter how many times I buy replacements.



Me and Headquarters were talking about this whole Xbox 360 controller debacle, and how long Microsoft has dragged their feet on fixing it. It's not just the Xbox 360 systems that are defective; the Xbox 360 controller is defective, also. I've just bought another replacement controller after having already bought three defective ones, all brand new, in a row. From the looks of it, the controller is just as defective as everyone says the system is. Each one has been defective in one way or another, and all were similar in the way that they were only "partially" broken. Some had defective buttons that wouldn't respond unless pressed hard, while others had stick issues that spun the camera in action games. There were times when my thumb wasn't even touching the left analog stick, yet my character onscreen was running his ass off! These "minor" defects are so irritating that I end up actually breaking them out of complete disgust and frustration, making them completely defective. And all of them were broke in some way, shape, or form when I got them out of the sealed packages I bought them in (from large, known retailers). The stock controller I got with my original, "Pro" system package, however, worked for a long time (longer than any of the other new controllers I bought after it). Shit; even the controller packaged with my second system was defective!




What the fuck? Why is it I spend so much money on these "official" stock controllers if they don't even work? How the hell can I possibly know which sealed new ones are going to work properly, and which ones aren't? Why is it that I can't go out and buy a new, official Microsoft controller without bringing it home to find it's a defect like the others? This is ridiculous, and it's a shame it isn't reported and/or talked about more. $ome $ay guy$ like u$ (who have gotten the$e expen$ive defect$) are ju$t unlucky; I $ay it'$ just Microsoft cutting corner$ on quality a$$urance to $ave money. Way to treat people like us who pre-order often and buy tons of accessories to trick-out their Xbox 360 systems. We really appreciate the lack of support, man! And Sony, don't think you're any better; you pulled the same shit with the PlayStation back in the 32-bit era! To this day, I have yet to get a working-but-defective "new" accessory from Nintendo or Sega, on any platform (new or used). It's hard to understand why Nintendo can make cheaper, reliable controllers for their cheaper "kiddie" system, but Microsoft can't do the same for their expensive "adult" system.

I even tried to fix them, but it's no use because the stick parts are so easily broken. Funny how in putting the damn thing back together, I noticed how intricate and complicated its design is; then I remembered why I took it apart in the first place. For some girl-pants emo shit (like Star Ocean), accurate input probably isn't very important, but for games that actually require skill (like Street Fighter IV) and/or timing (Lost Planet), accuracy is essential. There really is no compromise, and if the controller is making you walk longer or not throwing out attacks to button presses, it can mean a whole match. Likewise, if shots aren't coming out when your finger is holding the trigger (buttons) down, something is wrong. Then you got the digital pad issues, which are a whole other can of worms that even more people are disgruntled about; a common complaint that has only been addressed for European Xbox 360 owners. Why is it that only Europe got a special limited version of the wireless controller with a fixed digital pad that actually works for more than one game? Everywhere else in the world we're forced into buying an official wireless controller with a d-pad so finicky and oddly flawed that simple actions like crouching or walking forward are harder than they should be. Except Bionic Commando Re-Armed, though, where for some odd reason, it seems to control as if the flawed d-pad were made for that particular game! I was surprised to see that it's one of the only games I've played with it that seems to have very few (if any) of the aforementioned input issues. But still, there are so many games on the hardware that I could enjoy more if the damn input hardware was more reliable, and that's no lie!



Microsoft has the strongest, most versatile hardware on the market, and they make probably millions of dollars day, but they still drag their feet on these controller issues. Why? Ergonomically, the controller is fine, but all these kinks with the rest of the controller need to be addressed to that all the awesome games on the hardware it provides input to can be enjoyed. If I'm getting brand-new defective Xbox 360 controllers around every corner, in some way, shape, or form (from different retailers at different places and times), then I have no choice but to arrive at the conclusion that they are overpriced. It'd be different if we were paying full-price for something that worked as advertised, but we're not. There isn't much else to choose from because unlike previous generations (when we had a good number of third-party manufacturers like ASCII offering officially licensed input hardware with similar or better feel and control), Microsoft's strict compatibility policies have narrowed third-party options down considerably. This factor alone makes stock controllers more essential than they were before, simply because hardly any third-party makers want to pay so much to be licensed. Optional controllers shouldn't be essential, though, and we should be able to use the stock controllers that were designed for use with the system. As the default input for a system, stock controllers should always have the prerequisite of reliability for serving its sole purpose of use. But since Microsoft refuses to address the issue seriously, their unreliable control hardware should, by all rights, be cheaper.