The Symbols On Your PlayStation Controllers Aren't Gibberish, They Actually Mean Something

Method to the madness.

One of the things that make the various generations of Sony’s PlayStation stand out compared to its rivals is its controller, the Dualshock. Not because it has some fancy tech or flashy lights (though it’s got both of those things). No, it’s because of its use of coloured symbols rather than letters for its four main buttons.

Why couldn’t you just use letters like everyone else, Sony?

Sony’s decision to use a square, circle, cross and triangle for the Dualshock was considered strange when the PlayStation was first released in the 90s because almost all video game controllers up to that point in time had used some combination of A, B, C, X, Y and Z.

But as it turns out, there was method to Sony’s apparent madness as each of those symbols actually mean something and not just a bunch of random shapes the designers picked out of a hat.

PlayStation designer Teiyu Goto explains (via Kotaku) that they wanted something simple for users to remember yet also something distinguishable from the letters everyone else was using:

“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.”

Just to clarify the circle and ‘X’ thing Goto mentioned, using a circle to mean yes is a Japanese thing whereas Western gamers tend to go the other way and use the ‘X’ button for yes.

While the button functions on a Dualshock ultimately don’t really differ from its competitors (except for Nintendo), the use of symbols wasn’t just gibberish and it ultimately turned out to be a great marketing tool for Sony

When you think of the square, triangle, circle and cross all together, you immediately associate that with PlayStation. You definitely can’t do the same had you went with letters of the alphabet.

The Weird-Looking Matt Damon Puppet In Team America: World Police Was A Complete Accident

The best jokes come from the unlikeliest of places.

If you were to name one of the many great gags in Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s great 2004 puppet movie, Team America: World Police, the answers are usually “Murica, F**K YEAH,” Kim Jong-il being “ronery”, the hilariously graphic puppet sex scene, and the weird-looking Matt Damon puppet that can only say his own name (which has held up fantastically well).

Whereas the Murica song, Kim Jong-il and the sex scene came about naturally in the writing process for Team America, the Matt Damon joke happened purely by accident.

Production on Team America was a chaotic and stressful affair for both Trey and Matt as not only were they directing and writing, working with puppets was ridiculously time-consuming and difficult. In fact, the pair were so overworked that they didn’t see the final finished product until the premiere.

Trey and Matt’s original plan was to make their version of Matt Damon intelligent and articulate. But when the puppet came out of the oven, he ended up looking, ahem, “retarded.”

But seeing as how busy everyone was and the lack of time needed to make a new puppet, Trey and Matt shrugged their shoulders and simply changed their Matt Damon’s personality from intelligent to an idiot who could only say his own name.

It was nothing but a last minute rush job given the circumstances but this ultimately became one of Team America‘s greatest gags that has not only stood the test of time but has essentially given Matt Damon a permanent slice of pop-culture capital he wouldn’t have gotten had be been portrayed as a regular character.

As for how the real life Matt Damon felt about being mocked by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (both of whom are his friends), he was understandably “bewildered” but took it in good stride and praised Trey and Matt as “geniuses” for their great satirical stuff and for including him in their work, even if he was portrayed as an idiot.

So there you have it, Team America‘s Matt Damon joke came about not because Trey Parker and Matt Stone hated the guy but because the film’s puppet maker messed up and everyone just rolled with it. But hey,

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