Image by Flickr user Brian J. Matis (CC)

B.Y.O.C. (Bring Your Own Controller)

Image by Flickr user Brian J. Matis (CC)
Image by Flickr user Brian J. Matis (CC)

The following article was originally posted on Geek Force Network on November 7, 2014.

While out with friends the other night, a discussion about sharing arose. At first the topic centered around food and couples and the issue of “stealing” food from each others’ plates. The majority of folks (including my husband and I) couldn’t abide by the notion, saying that when each ordered a plate of food it was automatically implied that the individual meals would be consumed only by the person ordering.  Food from one plate would only be shared at the expressed verbal request by the other party AND the food owner’s agreement to do so.

And then I proceeded to steal a french fry from my husband’s plate. Partially in jest. Partially because I wanted a french fry.

As the conversation progressed, the subject of sharing broadened to possessions, especially collections of collectible toys, comic books and video games. What were the boundaries to sharing (and by extension, borrowing and trading) then? With friends? With children (your own and others)? Each of us at the table admitted to having at least one thing/collection that we would not, under any circumstances, share with other people. My thing was video game controllers.

I learned about the importance of possessing one’s own video game controllers during the years of playing Street Fighter with my brother. We wrecked a strong number of Super Nintendo controllers (and I swore up and down that I always ended up with the more broken controller, haha), and after awhile, my parents stopped caring about our broken stuff. Either we had to play less hard (yeah right!), deal with all the broken-ness, or buy own our controllers. I wanted to do the latter, but I ended up dealing with the pain because, hell, I didn’t want to spend my hard-earned allowance on a stupid controller! Those things weren’t cheap, and when it came right down to it, I’d have rather had a new game.

Shoot, I probably could have become a Street Fighter champion if it hadn’t been for a failing “B” button…but I digress.

Dealing with those busted Super Nintendo controllers developed a mindset that I had to have my own controller for any future video game systems that entered my life. This sentiment was reinforced when I met my husband and his PlayStation. I could play yes, but I had to use his “guest” controller (which eventually became “my” controller). Though it looked no different from “his” controller, it felt different, he said. He understood his controllers’ quirks, from the stiff d-pad to the triangle button that sometimes didn’t work too well. He didn’t want anyone to alter that feel, or worse, accidentally break it further. From then on, we had to have at least two controllers for every system so that each person could break them in (or, just break them, though hopefully not) at his/her own accord.

In some cases, like with the N64, Playstation 1, and Gamecube, getting separate controllers simply mean picking up two in different colors. But I eventually ventured out into the world of specialty and off-brand controllers just because I wanted something different. I had a number of Mad Catz controllers for awhile, but now only retain its wired Xbox 360 controller that I use for some PC gaming. For the PlayStation 2, I impetuously picked up a “mini” controller because never really cared for the wide feel of the PS controllers. I found it to be remarkably useful, especially for fighting games.

With that same distaste of the standard PS controller in mind, one we got a PS3, I searched for a controller of my own and ended up getting a Pelican Afterglow controller. It happily glows a menacing shade of red, which I’m sure strikes fear into the heart of my opponents! Um… actually, the thing was on sale, and me being a cheap bastard, I couldn’t say no. Also, despite the cool(?) factor, the poor thing hasn’t worn very well thanks mostly to, ahem, Street Fighter IV and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The rubber grips on the handles have come loose and the rubbery covering on the analog sticks is shedding. Still, the thing works and I like it more than the PS controller, so there.

The nice thing about having these non-standard controllers is that nobody ever wants to use them. So the really are all mine. (You hear me…ALL MINE!! Mwahahaha!) Of course, we do have extra standard controllers, but they really only serve as backups in case something breaks.

So come on over to my house and play games some time! You are all more than welcome and it’ll be a blast. Bring your high spirits, bring your competitive natures, and please, bring your own controller.

What’s your stance on sharing when it comes to your geeky/gaming possessions? Will you happily hand over your stuff for others to use, or are you like me, a bit more miserly in distributing your well-worn things to friends and strangers?

5 thoughts on “B.Y.O.C. (Bring Your Own Controller)”

  1. I basically don’t allow anyone to touch anything important that I own. No one can lay a finger on my figurines. My autographs. My games (especially the discs), my consoles, and…my controllers. Whenever someone else is playing video games, I can’t help but cringe at how rough some people can be, banging their control stick against the side like it’s on purpose. They can do that to their own controllers all they want, but not mine. Plus, the thought of someone else’s sweat on my precious controllers…. No way. Just…no.

    I’m terrible, I know… But, for the sake of my things, it simply must be this way.

    1. And if that’s the way it is, that’s the way it has to be! We devote time and care to our collections and, as such, we have every right to dictate how they should be treated. But yeah, game controllers, and especially one from recent consoles…like, you just get so used to how *your* controllers work and feel, and you don’t want anyone to alter that feeling in any way. Even between my husband and I — he has *his* controllers and I have *mine* — and if we accidentally pick up the wrong controllers, we know it immediately.

  2. In my circle of friends, I’ve always been the one that has the gaming stuff (systems, controllers, games, etc.) so like it or not I’ve always had to let everyone use my stuff when they were over. This was especially true in college when I was living with 3 others in the same room/suite. It was fine when it was just us (since they would be careful with it), but I would always store my stuff in my room, and would never let any of *their* friends use it. I used to let them use it as long as I was in the room with them, but there were a few too many close calls for that policy to continue.

    I’ve also always had *my* controller for each system whenever my friends and I play multiplayer stuff too. It’s not that I don’t trust them with it, it more like I’d feel weird using another one.

    1. Sometimes, you just got to draw the line, y’know? We have at least one “guest” controller for most of the systems we own — that helps keep things in check when people are over. Thankfully, we’ve not had to revoke anyone’s use privileges yet. :)

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