News, Views, and Reviews
In my opinion, the Microsoft brand Xbox 360 controllers are just about the best available. The size and shape fits comfortably in my hands, and I can play for hours at a time with no discomfort. For some reason, it’s becoming harder to find the wired-USB Xbox controllers. Microsoft does sell an Xbox brand controller for PC , that comes with the necessary USB receiver, but I’m not convinced I need a wireless controller. I’ve experimented with several 3rd-party brands of Xbox controllers, mostly from my years as a game center owner, and the Afterglow controller is an easy recommendation.
Some of the off-brand controllers are shaped slightly differently than the official model, and for some people, that’s a deal breaker. They have to have THE controller and no substitute is acceptable. I’m not as picky as that, but even if I was, the Afterglow controller is about as close to the same shape as you can get. The thumbsticks feel a little looser and taller than normal, but the handles and button spacing are nearly identical. Of course, a wired controller is going to feel lighter than a wireless controller, as it doesn’t have the battery pack on the back. The rumble feature is also well represented on the Afterglow version.
Of course, the neat feature of the Afterglow controller is that, well, it glows. A small button on the back allows you to toggle between three modes: no light, lights only when it rumbles, or the light is always on. As I mentioned in my PC Overkill blog, I picked the green color – and it is bright!
My only hesitation with recommending the Afterglow controller is that they do break. The rubber coating on the thumbsticks can wear off, and repeated use of the “L3” function (pushing in the left thumbstick like it is a button) can wear it out. Games like Call of Duty that have you push in the thumbstick to sprint are especially guilty of causing this. HOWEVER, this seems to be true of ALL the controllers I bought for the game center. My personal controllers don’t suffer the same abuse. The Afterglow controllers retail between $25-$30 which makes them cheaper, anyway. That might just be a personal choice: pay a little less for something initially, and then it doesn’t feel like a big loss if you have to replace it.
In the meantime, I have a wired Xbox controller that I can use for both my PC and my Xbox. I don’t have to worry about wireless signal loss, dying batteries, or USB receivers. With a 10′ cord, I can sit across the living room on the couch if I want to. And, the bright green light matches the green lights on my PC!