I meant to post this interesting little history lesson on controller mapping since the NES a few weeks ago, but an ill-fated department camping trip to the wilds of SoCal got in the way; Matthew Gallant of the aptly named 'Quixotic Engineer' takes us down memory lane and on a flying tour of the evolution of various controllers:
There’s always been a minor niggle at the back of my mind when I played the Nintendo DS. “They’ve got it backwards,” I thought, “The A button should be on the left and B on the right. That’s how it’s always been… I think.” A speedy investigation showed that my memory was a little foggy, and that the answer was significantly more interesting than that. Therefore, I present to you a brief history of gamepad button mapping.
It's a short and sweet look at how our controllers have evolved (or not) over the years — including issues of localization. Some questions are still unanswered (like where the 'A' and 'B' designations originated from, though it would appear that the NES was the first), but an interesting little wrap-up nonetheless. A Brief History of A & B [The Quixotic Engineer via GameSetWatch]