The custom controller masters over at The Controller Shop have built a photo-realistic lab for their website, where customers can create and save their dream creations. As you can see, this is not always the best idea.
Blue sparkly directional pad? Check. Candy red buttons? Check. Pink and black metallic tiger striped face? Yup. Green Xbox gem? Why the hell not. Add a white rabbit decal and some yellow stick caps and you've got yourself a $224.97 custom controller that looks almost exactly like the one I designed on the website.
Can you spot the differences?
For one, the black and pink are reversed in the final product. The plastic surrounding the gem, shown blue in the design, was left black. There are no menu or option symbols on the buttons of the finished controller.
The discrepancies aren't particularly glaring, and there is a disclaimer at the bottom of the lap page: "Due to the fact that each of our controllers is hand-painted individually, your controller may not look exactly as it does in the lab when it is produced." It's hard to take umbrage with the minor differences.
It's perfectly okay to get angry over a chip in the paint, and shoddy paint job around the edges of what would be the 'B' button, were it labeled. There's also a chip out of the paint where the two pieces of the left hand grip meet. If I had to guess, I'd say my unit was rushed through production and skipped through quality control.
Which is a shame, because before I got in really close, I was pretty much in love with the design I'd created. It's hideous and garish and obnoxious as hell, but... well, no buts. It fits right into our family dynamic here. I'm surprised the plain old Day One Xbox One controller hasn't fled in terror.
Flaws aside, the controller does the job of an Xbox One controller admirably, because it is an Xbox One controller, just with paint all over it and those lovely analog stick covers. And man, I do love the Omni grips — not enough to ever buy them separately, but enough to get all happy when they arrive pre-attached.
I'm also a huge fan of the rubberized handles. They're a subtle change that make a whole lot of difference in terms prolonged controller comfort.
The Controller Shop has come a long way since 2012, when last I sampled its wares. Over the past two years they've managed to completely overhaul their ordering system, providing the visual creation system that was so sorely lacking. They've added PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers to the mix. The number of options for designs and decals is rather impressive.
If you're in the market for a custom controller, I'm much more likely to recommend The Controller Shop today than I was two years ago. Just keep an eye out for flaws — if you're paying a premium, you deserve a flawless product.