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What Do The Buttons On The PlayStation Controller Mean?

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The buttons on PlayStation controllers have always been a bit of a mystery. Why those weird colours? Why those wacky shapes? PlayStation designer Teiyu Goto explains.

Goto, who designed not only the PlayStation but the PS2 and PS3 as well, has told Japanese magazine Famitsu that it was all about keeping it simple.


"That was...pretty tough," he says. "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."


Before you ask, in case you didn't know, the circle meaning "yes" is a Japanese thing (most functions in a Japanese game performed by it), whereas over here, we contradict this by predominantly using the X button, which despite intended to mean "no" is in a more logical position for Western gamers (who associate the bottom button as the "main" one).

All About the PlayStation 1's Design [Famitsu, via 1UP]

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