At first glance, I had to wonder what difference the subtle mods on the Evil Controllers new Evil D-Pad Controller for the Xbox 360 could possibly make. From the first moment I held the controller in my hands I knew. It was like slipping into a well-worn pair of boots and within a few hours of it arriving at my home, it became the controller of choice for everyone in my family.
The D-pad on the Xbox 360 controller has been problematic since – well since conception. To help understand how brilliant the Evil solution to the D-Pad problem is, it helps to know how the D-Pad operates. Under the circular D-Pad there are four buttons; one each for up, down, left and right. The diagonals on the D-Pad are not individual buttons but rely on pressing a combination of buttons – So when the D-Pad is pushed to go diagonally up and to the right – both the up button and the right button get pushed. And while it’s easy to blame Microsoft for everything from D-Pad shortcomings to Global Warming, this solution has been around as long as video games – including the first keyboard games and even the original Atari joystick.
What the Evil D-Pad does is take the old D-Pad out of your way and replace it with the four buttons that get actuated under the D-Pad. This is what we math-geeks would call an “elegant” solution. Brilliant, beautifully simple and deadly effective. The four buttons are spaced exactly like the A, B, X and Y buttons and are the same size. Want that diagonal on the D-Pad? Just straddle the two buttons and press. Complete control. To see how easy it really is, just try straddling the A and B buttons with your thumb and press them both. Being able to feel both buttons completely eliminates the guess work introduced by having a wobbly circular pad mounted over the buttons.
The addition of the Evil Sticks that replace the standard joystick caps could easily be overlooked – mainly because they blend into the controller so well, and are of such high quality, that they appear to be stock – they look more “stock” that the original sticks – but they are far different to the touch. The tops are not concave like the stock caps. Instead they have a gently textured dome and the height is slightly lower. They make the joysticks feel more responsive. I could go into the math explaining the shorter arc (representing the range of motion) that is the result of moving the said arc slightly closer to the center point by reducing the radius. Instead, let’s just say it’s Evil and that you get quicker response with less thumb movement.
So – you hate third party controllers…
I know the feeling. Most third party controllers are about as comfortable as kissing your sister. Awkward. Evil Controllers are not third party knockoffs or refurbished used units. An Evil Controller starts as a BRAND NEW Genuine Microsoft (or Sony) controller that is cracked open and dipped into 666 wonderful flavors of Evil. Over the past three years Evil Controllers has risen to the top of controller mod culture with mods ranging from simple controller case color and pattern changes all the way to added buttons, custom sticks and programmable rapid fire buttons. They have even put together completely custom controllers with accessibility options for gamers with even the most severe physical limitations.
The quality of Evil Controllers mods are top notch. In order to replace the D-Pad with buttons, a new top half for the controller shell had to be molded – and it is perfection – indistinguishable from the original – in texture, sheen and quality. This is not some half-ass, slap it on with double-face tape, only gonna work for a little while upgrade. This is top notch work by seriously talented people who have an eye for detail and would rather do it right and have it cost an extra $5 or just not do it at all. Evil Controllers warrants their modded controllers for 90 days with an option to extend that to one year – the same as the Microsoft standard warranty.
The Evil D-Pad Controller comes in both a wired (currently discounted to $54.99 US / $64.99 US MSRP) and wireless (currently discounted to $74.99 US / $84.99 US MSRP) version and can be custom tailored to you with a myriad of additional options.
I’m sold, completely. If fact, I’ve already contacted Evil Controllers about getting the parts to add these mods to every controller in my house – then maybe I’ll be able to use my Evil D-Pad Controller all the time and not share it with anyone – so go get your own!