Monday, June 8, 2015

Mapped Controllers Are Ruining the Fighting Game Experience

While doing research on mods a while back I happened upon a disturbing Youtube video about modded controllers, and a new feature called "Button Mapping". It's basically a series of buttons, or switches that could be added to a gamers' controller for a certain price in order to allow said gamer to program button input sequences in a single button fashion for easier control. It was initially meant for the FPS scene, but unfortunately the guy hosting the video, and others like him let the whole damn world know that the single button mapping add-ons could be used in fighting games as well. While you won't find many gamers admitting to having such a controller mod (because the little turds want you to think that they are genuinely skilled) you will see a sh*t ton of advertisements online in social media trying to grab gamers' attention with their offered mods. The really disturbing thing about this growing trend of gaming experience augmentation is that it ruins the intended experience for gamers who put in the time, and effort to actually learn how to play a game properly. Furthermore, in a fighting game scenario it changes the output effects of combos, finishers, and special attacks ...

In regards to the fighting game scene mapped controllers actually change the way characters act, and perform in-game. For example, a mapped special attack is going to activate quicker because the motions, and button inputs are programmed into a single button. The same goes for combos that use additional directional inputs as well as finishers that use the same kind of motion, and button combinations. You have to realize, as a fighting game player that it takes a good second to do the motions, and press the proper buttons to initiate, and finish attacks. With a mapped button tied to a specific special, combo, or finisher though these attacks can come out abnormally fast, and in full giving the mod user a distinct advantage (especially with mix-ups) over an unsuspecting non-mod gamer.

With a keen eye to detail, and a proper background in fighting game functionality a legit gamer can easily spot a gamer using a mapped controller in a fighter. You'll notice (if you check out the mod retailer shops) that only a total of four mapped buttons can be added due to the space on a controller, but rarely more than that. If you encounter a gamer who is repeatedly doing the same four combos without any change-up in combo formation for mix-ups, or that they are spamming specials at a rapid pace it's more than likely a mapped controller user behind that character facade you are battling. You also have to pay attention to how fast these attacks come out in comparison to how you are able to utilize the same specials from the same character. If something seems off it probably is.

To make sure (if you have your doubts) go into the game's training mode after confronting a shady gamer, and try to learn, and execute the same combos, and specials as your online opponent. After some decent practice take your new skills online to see how quickly you are able to dish out the same combos, and specials that your opponent used against you in an online environment. One important thing that I forgot to mention is that it is necessary in this process to save the match replay in question as reference when trying to prove that the gamer was using a mapped controller. Save that replay, and the replay of the match where you try out the same combos, and specials online. Finally, in a back to back comparison view each replay, and notice the speed at which each attack is delivered. If you notice a speed output difference, and an abnormal frequency of special attacks/projectiles you've more than likely encountered someone using a mapped controller. Of course it goes without saying that an experienced fighting game player will be able to spot the differences easier than a gamer who has just begun playing games from the genre.

Outside of that method you'll find that a gamers' PSN ID, or Xbox Bio can clue you into the nature of the person you were fighting against. While this may sound judgmental I have found through lengthy observation that some gamers on the PS4, and Xbox One use modded consoles to create fake, or extra accounts with different usernames as to not get caught in their actions. An easy way to spot the fake accounts is to check out their ID's, and Bios. In the case of the PS4 you'll notice that most mapping offenders, hackers, and modders will have accounts with low trophies, or achievements. They'll also have the free, or no avatars in place, and often times will use trolling type avatars that coincide with their devious real world personality. In their PSN Bio description you'll also often times see odd messages that will make you think that they know that you are looking at their ID. Others will have trolling comments tied to said description. There are plenty of ways to spot the cheaters in console gaming, and all it takes is a little detective work via the consoles dashboard, or user interface.

In closing I'm gonna make a prediction. I believe that what has happened to 'Call of Duty' is going to happen to the fighting game genre, and any other competitive gaming genre that becomes popular. By that I mean the thugs, yoloists, and trolls will ruin it for everyone. You have to understand that cheaters, hackers, and modders love to wreak havoc online, and hear people bitch & moan about what they have done to them. They are sadists who find pleasure in the torment of others, plain & simple. The only way I can see this situation improving (since console moderators don't seem to give a damn) is for legit players to not buy competitive online games, and instead leave the hackers, modders, and cheaters to duke it out with themselves for a good while. Once they've tormented each other enough, and endured said torment themselves maybe they'll have learned their lesson.You won't have to worry about your favorite gaming genre failing during your abandonment either as there are no doubt thousands, if not millions of scumbag gamers willing to buy the games in your absence. Just stock up on RPGs, and indies, and you will be fine. Trust me.


  1. this is food for thought as i'm big on the sf series.i'm in touch with matters in the sf community and i hardly ever come across people bringing up the modded controller issue. like you said earlier sf4 is apparently too slow to use that kind of device. so frankly this issue doesn't bother me at this point as i have a kind of not-in-my-backyard attitude.sorry. but it sure is a bad trend. all i hope is sf5 will be spared.

    i often look up words relevant to games for casual tweets but all i see is annoying bots advertising hacking and shit.yes, that's really aggravating and getting worse.

    it's always fun reading your blog. keep up the good work

    1. Actually modded/mapped controllers can effect USF4 as well. As I mentioned in the article the mapped controllers can be used to program single button special attacks, and in the case of USF4 Ultras as well. The combo aspect of mapped controllers is somewhat useful to USF4 players as well since some characters can actually perform lengthy combos. If you see a players spamming projectiles with ease, and in rapid succession this could point towards the use of a mapped controller. Also if the opposing player is pulling off their Ultras with ease, and ridiculous accuracy this too could point to the use of a mapped controller. I've personally not ran into the problem in USF4 much though, and most of what I said pertains to fighters like MKX, GGXrd, and other combo centric fighting games.

      I'm glad you enjoy reading my blog, and that you continue to leave comments. It's all appreciated!

  2. i've watched a modded controller user pull off an insane punishment with ultra when opponent poked at a distance. i surmise he could do that because the execution was just hitting a button. what do you say?

    1. Modded controller users can pull off some insane stuff. What you have to understand is that simplifying an Ultra's required motions, and button presses to a single button makes the Ultra come out quicker than it would have if the player were using a standard controller.


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