When Microsoft's first Xbox came onto the scene, it had to compete with both the mighty Sony Playstation2 and Nintendo's GameCube. Forcing a gap in the market and offering up a good amount of 'Xbox Exclusives', it gathered a large fan base thanks to such exclusivity in the games of Halo, KOTOR and games previously scheduled only for PC. To control their games though, they had to come up with something good - which that didn't manage at first with the original Xbox controller being a chunky handful dubbed the 'plate'. Eventually came this, the 'S' controller, a slimmer, smaller and sleeker model - being 3 of the possible identities behind its name - which was the original release in Japan (meaning the fatty was probably made to cater to chubby western fingers!), though offered no difference in gameplay other than size and layout. Most gamers know that Sony pretty much perfected the art of controllers with their Playstation's first release - which has remained unchanged (except introducing wireless technology) through 3 generation consoles. How did the 'S' compete? Well lets take a look shall we..
Coming in various colours related to the console, the 'S' comes in standard black, green and clear (crystal). The buttons are almost identical to that of a Playstation's, in that they have the same number and relatively similar concepts. The difference being the main 4 buttons, instead of being shapes, are A, X, Y & B in primary colours (+ green). Start & Back (Select) are lifted, as are clickable look & move analogue sticks, L & R triggers and the Directional Pad. Where the PS has 4 bumpers, the 'S' makes up for with the previously mentioned triggers and small black & white buttons. New models from several manufacturers would include wireless, turbo modes and even switches to enable/disable vibration, which is always on with this (a bit redundant as most games feature this choice in the options). Thanks to the preference of buttons over bumpers, the 'S' is more focused on using thumbs as only the triggers require index fingers. One thing that this has over its counterpart is its memory card slots - which are quite large and not much to brag about as most gamers didn't bother with the memory cards (what with xbox live) and so where only handy for transporting game saves/profiles. The length of the cable is around 2 metres - more than adequate (some time annoying as you must wrap it around the unit) - with a disconnector slot... which is another pointless addition as it bears no importance whatsoever. There are no flashing lights to distract, nor rubbery grips (except on sticks) that some variations include. Overal, the transition between PS and Xbox is practically seamless.
This is where the controller critically fails. Anyone who has held system link games with friends will know of the complications involved. Games with several people obviously require as many controllers and as such, someone may have forgotten or not own one and will either sit out of the fun or end up using a filthy 'glitchy' one.