The Ten Most Epic Video Game Controller Commands

By Kyle Orland in Lists!
Friday, September 10, 2010 at 11:00 am
Press A to jump. Press the right trigger to shoot. Press X to reload. The standard button mapping for most video games is just so... so... boring.

Video games are all about doing amazing, epic, over-the-top stuff, bt too often you have to press a whole mess of buttons or execute a long string of commands to get that awesome stuff to happen. Where are the controller commands that put epic awesomeness at your fingertips? Where are the games that make doing amazing stuff as simple as pressing a button?

Well, actually, they're right here after the break.

WARNING: Minor spoilers for Heavy Rain and Metal Gear Solid contained inside.

Duke Nukem Forever - Press Left to Beer

The control that inspired this list, as seen on the configuration screen from the recent PAX  unveiling of the game's first playable demo. I'm told the "Beer" option didn't actually work on the show floor, but I can't imagine Gearbox would throw this joke into the controller configuration screen if they didn't actually intend to include single-button beer-pounding in the final game.

A Boy and His Blob - Press Up to Hug

With so few buttons on the Wii Remote, you'd think the developers of A Boy and His Blob would be forced to map every single one to some sort of vital gameplay function. But no, the game is so simple and so cute that these developers had the opportunity to devote an entire button, for the entire length of game, to the simple act of giving your blobby partner a big squeeze. And I've got to tell you, the game is better for it.

'Splosion Man - Press Any Face Button to 'SPLODE

This one's not all that epic on the face of it; as 'Splosion Man's only in-game action (besides running), 'SPLODE-ing is really just a glorified jump/attack. But the simple action makes this list for the hilarious "Controls" screen shown above. Not only did the developers go to the trouble of actually labeling each face button on the Xbox 360 controller with the "'SPLODE" command, they also let you (quite uselessly) try to remap the button to some other, nonexistant commands. This is made even more epic by the "Master of Controls" Achievement you get for loading up the screen and "Master[ing] the mastery of controlling your controls." Ten Gamerscore Points have never been so hilarious.

Earthworm Jim - Press X to "turn on the porch light of Mrs. Schultz in Germany. So quit pressing it!"

Of course, the X button actually does nothing in the actual game, which makes the ridiculous description in the instruction manual for this 16-bit title even more epic. Whole minutes of googling couldn't turn up a scan to prove this quote exists, so you'll just have to take the word of both me and TV Tropes for it. (Thanks to Chris Furniss for this suggestion)

Heavy Rain - Slam SixAxis Down to Cut Off Your Pinky

A lot of the context-sensitive controller movements and button combinations in Heavy Rain are pretty pointless. After all, pushing up on the right stick to open a door isn't that much more interesting than just pushing X to do the same thing. But one of the game's climactic scenes -- where main character Ethan Mars has to cut off his own pinky to satisfy the demands of a sadistic kidnapper -- is made surprisingly more affecting by some clever use of motion controls. When you slam down that controller and hear main character Ethan Mars cry out in pain, you know you've reached the point of no return.

Metal Gear Solid: Press Select to Submit to Torture

Has a single button press ever had a more profound effect on the course of a game's story? Not only does submitting to torture at the hands of Revolver Ocelot lead to Meryl's death and the "bad ending" for the game, but it saves you from a Game Over screen from which "there are no continues, my friend," as torturer Revolver Ocelot so elegantly puts it. Plus it forever brands you as a wimp who couldn't press the O button quickly enough to resist a few tiny electrical shocks. Wimp!

Steel Battalion - Press Eject to Eject

Of the dozens of buttons on Steel Batallion's massive, expensive mech controller, the eject button might be the most important. Why? Well, if you fail to flip up the protective plastic casing and mash the flashing button before your mech explodes, the game will actually delete your save file from the Xbox hard drive. Permanently. Talk about realistic game design!

Phoenix Wright - Shout Objection to Object

Is a microphone a controller? Can screaming really be as epic as pushing a button. I'm going to say yes to both questions, mainly because of the incredibly epic way Phoenix Wright handles objections in his courtroom melodramas. Wright's trademark yell and the on-screen image that accompanies it have become iconic in the gaming community, inspiring cosplay, fan art and even forum thread macros. For a close runner-up in epicness, see the Wii Remote version of the objection motion.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - Press L1 to Rewind Time

After playing the PS2-era Prince of Persia games enough, you might start to take for granted the time-reversing powers of the Prince's Time Dagger (pictured). But think about how amazing this ability is. With the push of a single button, you can undo any mistake, re-right any wrong, literally reverse the flow of entropy and death itself! How is that not epic? Plus, the sound effect is cool, right?

WarioWare: Smooth Moves - Thrust the Wii Remote to Pick Your Nose

Presented without comment.

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