I Stand On My Soapbox is a series of editorials that cover more specific topics in the games industry and community. These articles are a little more extreme than normal editorials published here, and could just degenerate to outright ranting. Have fun and enjoy the show!
“The next generation is a wireless one.” That was the slogan for the Xbox 360 controllers that were advertised during the launch of the 360. This was going to be the new standard, as opposed to previous gens where your wireless fix came from third party manufacturers, or you spent more money on the official one. But this generation, nah-ah, you got a wireless one right in the box. Before you knew it, that slogan proved very true, as the PS3 and Wii controllers were wireless too. Finally, no more lowering or raising the wire to let people pass, or them tripping and potentially dropping the consoles from whatever precarious ledge the console was perched on (like my Gamecube… 6-foot-drop, still lives). So far, the only thing that is wired on the consoles now is the TV cables and the power supply (and you know they’re not going wireless anytime soon), and they’re in no one’s way. So with this new found freedom to game anywhere in the house without worry of bodily harm to the console, I have one question: Where the hell did I put my controller!?
In all honesty, I don’t think many people thought this was going to be a problem. I mean after all, we were all thrilled knowing there was gonna be this much freedom when playing games like this, right out of the box. We could lie down, slouch, and take a dump while gaming. Every time we got a new console, we treated them like premature newborns and made sure nothing messed up the console and anything related to the console, controllers included. Of course, once we got used to having the console and the novelty of newness wore away, that’s when the neglect would start. What’s the first, and most common, thing that gets neglected? The controllers of course. It’s the most used, the most tossed, the most germ ridden thing we have for the console. And now that it’s wireless, we can pass it to Buddy across the street like freakin’ CC Sabathia (when he isn’t choking). So now when game time is over, the controller is placed not on a holy pedestal, but on the couch, or the floor, or on the TV, or in the kitchen, or in Buddy’s house on the floor on the TV in the kitchen… somehow. Two days later, it’s game time again. And now we’re spending a good five minutes trying to find that damned controller. We find it behind the bed because someone fell asleep and kicked the thing behind the bed while sleeping.
This becomes even more of a problem when you get more than two controllers (especially since all consoles are capable of having 4 players in a single room). Many times I’ve found myself losing my controllers. There are two controllers for each of the current gen consoles in my house. The Wii seems to be the most problematic to lose because not only do I end up losing the remote itself, I’ll lose the nunchuck and the classic controller too. I didn’t have to deal with this shit last generation when everything was plugged in and wired. I’d follow the wire and simply pull to bring the controller to me (and knock the lamp over in process). Now? Now I have to arrange a search and rescue operation and bring in a Canine Unit to look for the damned controllers!
All of this mess can be fixed with one thing: beeping. Say you don’t know where your controller is. Just press a button on the console itself (like maybe the sync button), and your controller will beep to tell you where it is, and stop beeping upon a button press on the controller. So far the Wii Remote is the only controller that could make it happen, but with the Wii U on the horizon, Nintendo isn’t going to do that now. The other two consoles are screwed here as their controllers have no built-in speakers, so there’s no way for them to beep. But this is still a possibility for the next generation. So please, console manufacturers, put some sort of beeping locators on your controllers for the next generation. While I’d like for the next generation to be a wireless one, not having the hassle of being wireless would certainly be nice.
And Nintendo and Microsoft, no more of this AA Battery bullshit.