PS1 designer on the fight for controller handles, what the button icons really mean

[Image: Game Watch]
Teiyu Goto is responsible for the design of the original PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 -- all very different-looking consoles, with one exception: the controller. This, too, was Goto's design, and in an interview with Famitsu (translated by 1UP) he shares some of its history, including the origin of its "handles" and the meaning behind the now-iconic symbols on its face buttons.

According to Goto, Sony management was initially resistant to the idea of the PS1's gamepad being too far removed from the design of Nintendo's SNES controller. "We wanted SNES gamers to upgrade to our system," Goto said of the corporate mindset at the time, "[management] said it had to be a standard type of design, or gamers wouldn't accept it." Goto disagreed, as did Sony's then-president, Norio Ohga. A pilot, Ohga liked Goto's prototype, which featured the now-standard handles, and made his feelings clear in an executive meeting. "They showed Ohga the flat controller again later and said that this is what they wanted, but Ohga was about to throw the model right back at them," Goto recalled, saying that Ohga's outrage let him know that the boss had his back -- and the handles stayed.

As for the button icons, Goto had an interesting explanation. While most people know -- or could guess -- that X and circle were meant to indicate "no" and "yes," respectively, Goto said that "
the triangle refers to viewpoint; I had it represent one's head or direction," adding, "Square refers to a piece of paper; I had it represent menus or documents." These icons went on to represent the brand as a whole.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.