Yes, i know; it’s a matter of preference, but despite what most gamers say nowadays, i’ve always considered the PlayStation controller to be the best video game console controller ever. Anyway, that’s not the point here.
What we are looking at today, is one of the PS controllers’ most distinctive features: its buttons. In an era where everyone used letters on their controller buttons, Sony went on with the famous square, triangle, circle and X symbols.
Up until now, i though that the shapes were just a design thing. Little did i know though that each shape actually meant something! In a 2010 interview at the Famitsu magazine, Teiyu Goto, a Sony engineer who designed the original PlayStation and its controllers, explains why he went with these specific icons and their original meaning: (the article continues after the ad)
Other game companies at the time assigned alphabet letters or colors to the buttons. We wanted something simple to remember, which is why we went with icons or symbols, and I came up with the triangle-circle-X-square combination immediately afterward. I gave each symbol a meaning and a color. The triangle refers to viewpoint; I had it represent one’s head or direction and made it green. Square refers to a piece of paper; I had it represent menus or documents and made it pink. The circle and X represent ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision-making and I made them red and blue respectively. People thought those colors were mixed up, and I had to reinforce to management that that’s what I wanted.
What’s also interesting in the interview, is the fact that Goto had to “fight” with the management in order to get his design approved as they preferred a controller similar to that of Super Nintendo; you know, this one:
Goto preferred that his controller had handles and eventually, he was able to convince them thus sending to the production line the PlayStation controller we all know (and some of us love).
And now you know!