Controllers have been an integral part of video gaming since players first slid that oh so familiar white paddle up and down the screen.
Since then, controllers have evolved sporadically, growing in size and utility to include multiple button inputs, joysticks to enhance playability for 3D games, mappable controls for left-handed gamers (something early controllers were notorious for not including), and even motion sensitivity.
Now at the peak of its technological life, gaming consoles offer tons of different options for interacting with their games to the point that many gamers are having trouble deciding which kinds of controllers they should be using. Here’s the rundown on which controllers will work best for all you Xbox 360 owners out there.
The first thing you’re going to want to look at is your budget.
On the high end, controllers can cost up to $40-50 and if you’re working with a limited amount of cash, you’ll inevitably turn toward 3rd party products. While most companies will discourage you from using 3rd party accessories with their products, that’s just because they want your money for their official products instead.
3rd party controllers like the Mad Catz or Afterglow controllers both work well and you can usually find them for around $20-25 retail, just be sure that you don’t mind a ridiculously bright LED if you go with the Afterglow model. One thing to keep in mind about 3rd party accessories of any kind is that if you run into compatibility or use issues, don’t expect any official support.
You’ll also want to look at whether you want a corded controller or you want to get a wireless one.
Corded controllers have some pretty long cords and will generally cost less, but many gamers don’t like feeling tied down to one particular spot while they play. If you want to spend a little extra on a wireless controller, make sure to pick up rechargeable batteries (or a rechargeable battery pack) to save money in the long run.
As far as first party controllers, they’re the ones I mentioned will cost $40-50, but you get what you pay for in quality and receptivity. First party controllers will never have issues with connectivity and often come with a limited warranty through Microsoft because they’re official products. Wireless official controllers originally come with a battery slot pack, but you would do well to purchase a rechargeable battery pack (and potentially a charging station) for quick charging and extended use.
There isn’t much of a difference between the corded and wireless, but there is one unique official controller that fighting gamers will particularly love. The transforming Xbox 360 controller not only looks cool with a silver matte finish and slick monochrome buttons, but with a twist of the base, its D-Pad converts from a plus into a disc, making it perfect for games that require more precise control than a joystick can offer.
One last thing to note, there are “modded” controllers available from third party companies or individual sellers that can offer bonuses like rapid fire, macro recording, and sniping assist for various kinds of games.
These controllers are a violation of many games’ terms of service and can land you some serious repercussions like being locked out of Xbox Live or having your console bricked. Just be safe and smart about which controllers you purchase and you’re sure to be fine.