Recently, a friend who is newer than me to the world of console gaming asked if I could go over the Xbox controller, as she was feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything. This will more than likely be like the blind leading the blind, but here goes nothing!
(1) The Directional Pad – So far, I have only really used the directional pad in one game, and that’s BioShock. Even then, I didn’t use it that often, as its only use was to switch a weapon’s ammo if it had more than one kind. For example: The shotgun can use 3 different types of ammo, and some are more awesome than others when it comes blowing away a Big Daddy, but we can choose between regular Buck shots, Electric Bucks and Exploding Bucks. The directional pad can sometimes be used like the left analog stick or old school Nintendo controller as far as movement is concerned, but it’s usually not worth bothering with, as the left analog stick allows greater movement control.
(2) The Left Analog Stick – The left analog stick controls all of your physical movements, but NOT your camera angle (See 7 for camera angle):It allows you to move forward, backward, strafe side to side or spin in circles until you’re dizzy. In some games, pressing down on the left analog stick will make you crouch.
(Not Shown) Left/Right Bumpers – The left and right bumpers are at the top back of the controller, right above the triggers. In games like Halo or Gears of War, the bumpers are what you use to reload your weapon(s). In BioShock, you use the bumpers to switch between your currently equipped weapon and plasmid.
(Not Shown) Left/Right Triggers – These are pretty self explanatory. The only time I haven’t seen the triggers work as intended was in the Lego games. Most of the time (if you’re not dual-wielding weapons) the left trigger is used to throw grenades.
(3) The Select Button – Usually brings up your map if you’re lucky enough to be playing a game that gives you one.
(4) The Power/Menu Button – This is the button that turns your Xbox and controller on or off. If you tap it while in game, it will bring up the Xbox menu allowing you to exit to the dashboard, check/send messages, fiddle with settings, sign a profile on, etc. Tapping it a second time will close the menu and bring you back to the game.
(5) The Start Button – Just like every other Start button on a controller. This will pause the game or movie while you go for a smoke, make dinner, or download porn on your PC.
(6) X, Y, B, A Buttons – These are action buttons. A is usually for jumping, Y is usually for a swap of some kind (weapons or bodies), B is usually for melee, and X is kind of a wild card. If you don’t use the triggers, X can be your attack and in some games X is what you use to reload weapons.
(7) Right Analog Stick – This is strictly what controls the camera angle. It can take some getting used to, but will become second nature soon enough. In some games, pressing down on the right analog stick will zoom in your view.
(8) Chat Pad – This is an accessory that does not come with the controllers, but is pretty useful if you send a lot of messages. I only included it in the picture because I was too lazy to pull it off.
The controllers can seem pretty intimidating at first, especially if you’re not used to console gaming. I admit that I was pretty frustrated with everything when I first started playing- and it was probably a bad idea to jump right into Halo 3 after being a PC gamer for 7 years. It took me about 2 weeks of playing 2 hours or so every day before I got comfortable with the controllers.
The best advice I can give is to start out small and with something silly and dumb, like Lego Indiana Jones. The game is pretty forgiving, while at the same time getting you used to the controller in a relatively relaxed environment. Just have fun while you get used to things, don’t push yourself too hard, and give it 2 weeks. If you still hate it, throw the controller through the window and sell your Xbox. 🙂