Now that PlayStation Move is finally in the hands of gamers across Europe and the UK only has a few more hours to wait, it seems as good a time as any to lace up our nostalgia shoes and take a look at the various control methods used on PlayStation systems over the years.
1995 – PlayStation Control Pad: Shaping the Future
PlayStation hit shelves and, along with the D-pad, came four shapes – triangle, circle, X and square – that, together, would visually represent a new global culture.
1997 – Dual Analog: More Power to Your Thumbs
Two years later, a pair of thumb sticks was added to the original controller and we’ve never looked back. The general design of the Dual Analog controller went on to become a games industry standard that is still in place to this day.
1998 – DualShock: A Shock to the System
The first PlayStation controller with vibration feedback and the last to be released for PlayStation, the DualShock let you physically feel the force of a Tekken 3 beatdown. Some developers realised that having two motors allowed for stereo vibration feedback; the helicopter scenes in the original Metal Gear Solid were particularly impressive in this respect.
2000 – DualShock 2: Analogue Accuracy
It looked the same as its predecessor but the first PlayStation 2 controller was built for accuracy. Its stiff analogue sticks tracked degrees of movement and pressure, allowing games like Gran Turismo 4 to become masterpieces of realistic physics, and the textured analog sticks were built with greater grip in mind. Also, the face buttons were pressure sensitive so that your PS2 could detect how firmly you pressed them.
2003 – EyeToy: We Can See You
You are the controller. This hyper-intelligent little piece of kit captured the motion of your body and fed it back to PlayStation 2, bringing gaming out of your hands and letting it loose in the living room.
2004 – SingStar Mics: The Sonic Boom
With the arrival of SingStar, gamers learned to use their lungs as well as their thumbs. The game’s microphones, which went wireless in 2009, turned millions of fans into pop stars. Now, no party is complete without a bit of SingStar.
2005 – Buzz! Buzzers: Life is a Gameshow
Fun to hold; more fun to bash – it’s the controller that no one can resist picking up. Just answer the question by hitting the right button faster than anyone else – a concept so fun and simple that anyone from five to 85 can join in.
2006 – Sixaxis Controller: Look… No Wires
Roll it, tilt it or lift it – whatever you did, the new PlayStation 3’s controller tracked it in six axes of movement, letting you change the direction of a Warhawk, a MotorStorm Big Rig or a rampaging Chimera with the flick of a wrist – and without a connecting cable.
2007 – PlayStation Eye: Look, Listen and Chat
A bit like EyeToy – but with superpowers – this camera gave us four times the resolution, twice the frame rate, close-ups and four-way directional mics. The result: it doesn’t miss a blink – perfect for the new world of augmented reality (and cheeky EyePets).
2007 – DualShock 3: Return of the Rumble
All the power of Sixaxis – now with added vibration feedback. The ultimate evolution of the PlayStation controller delivers analogue and digital signals simultaneously. In 2007, it won the snappily titled Emmy Award for Peripheral Development and Technological Impact of Video Game Controllers.
2010 – PlayStation Move: Let Yourself Go
It’s been a long journey, and we’ve learned a few things along the way. The satisfaction of accurate control. The thrill of augmented reality. The fun of a microphone – or gun, or racquet – in the hand. The sheer joy of movement. When you engineer sixteen years of PlayStation into one object, what do you get? Something you’ll never, ever want to put down. It’s time to Move.