Monthly Archives: November 2012

Never linger in front of a door: Interface lessons in Borderlands 2

Writing about glitches and less-consequential aberrations in video games is my way of rehabilitating bad play experiences through (hopefully) good analysis. Landing at present “squarely” in my sights (a pun in the making here; stay tuned) is the mapping of game actions in Borderlands 2 to the buttons of a PS3 gamepad.

I find gamepad mappings fascinating, and I often examine them in detail to discover how a game’s “verbs”—the possible, meaningful actions in a game—have been arrayed for interactive use. While detailed, printed instructions for playing video games have become relics, infographics of available gameplay action are still published within a video game’s liner notes and tucked into “option” screens on the game’s main menu. As a practical matter, these gamepad “maps” communicate to the user an equivalent of “You are here” for the thumbs and fingers.

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