Home Editorial “Press Start to begin. Or A. Or any button, really.”

I know this isn’t about tactics. Hell, it’s not even about gaming, really. It’s about one little thing that has irked me for the past couple years.

It used to be that if the main menu of a game said “Press Start to begin” it meant you had to press the Start button to play the game. It really wasn’t particularly complicated. In some games, it would say “Press A to begin.” Fair enough.

But one thing I’ve noticed becoming more and more common in the current generation of gaming is that no matter what the screen says to press, the Start button is nearly always interchangeable with the A button (or X button on Playstation). And, in some games, you can press damn near any button. Hell, you can hit “Back” in some games, and the menu drives you relentlessly forward.

All right, fine. I get it. Developers want to make it easier to start the damn game. After all, pissing off the tiny percentage of the audience unfamiliar with the button layout from the get-go probably isn’t the best idea. The Idiot demographic is, after all, a key marketing target.

Will this trend extrapolate further into the future? Will Xbox Kinect display “Say ‘Start’ to begin” and then accept “Xbox, shut down” as a valid command to start the game? Will it simply start the game when it notices that you’ve winked? Will consoles just play games by themselves with no input from any user?

No matter how accessible the game is designed to be, there comes a point where dumbing down even the preliminary UI controls is overkill. If you’re going to make any button start the game, just write “Press any button to begin.” It’s not that complicated.

2 replies to this post
  1. My game (in Python) on the Title says “PRESS ENTER TO BEGIN…” And when it says that, you gotta press enter. No other button works. It just appends it to the press enter text.

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