Oooo! A new d-pad! …so what?
The new 360 pad: seriously – what’s the big deal?
I awoke to the news – nay, fanfare – that Microsoft had unveiled a new pad for the X360 this morning, and while I’m perfectly happy with the matte black pad that came with my Elite, I was naturally curious. I’d imagine a lot of 360 gamers, mostly happy with their current controllers, were of a similar mind – so flicking through several images of what seemed like a grayscale Photoshop picture of a standard 360 controller, it occurred to me only after the nth time I stared in denial at the same image that this was the holy grail of peripherals that everyone was raving about.
So that subtle change in design on an otherwise mundane exterior must conceal some revolutionary technology, right? Something that will change the face of 360 gaming? Something that will enrich my life, make me feel better about myself, help me lose 28 pounds in a day and compel attractive women to love me? No, better than that: it houses a d-pad that – wait for it – raises and lowers whenever you twist it. Sodding hell… stop the press, notify the Prime Minister and tell the Palestinians/Israelis to stop fighting, because we now have the answer to the meaning of life.
I can appreciate that this may or may not solve some pad issue for a niche group of people, but most serious fighting genre fans I know own a Street Fighter IV fight stick, which you can pick up for around the same planned RRP as this new 360 pad ($64.99 in the US, price TBC in Europe). What galls me as much as the price is the ridiculously incremental design, something I thought only Nintendo and Apple subscribed to with their endless iterations of the DS and the iPhone.
Hmmm. On second thoughts, it’s not quite as extreme an example as those. Still, it really doesn’t even approach being interesting, let alone essential enough, for me to buy at that price. I’ll be saving myself money (and saving the environment) by skipping this superficial peripheral altogether.