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Is the 'back' or 'select' button the most useless button ever?

  • It is quintessentially the worst ever

    Votes: 3 10.7%
  • It certainly has its uses

    Votes: 22 78.6%
  • There's a select button?

    Votes: 3 10.7%
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Ya'ver drink Brazilian bold from fkn dunkn donuts!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Since the beginning of my gaming time, virtually every console I have ever owned has had either a 'select' or 'back' button and in all honesty, I have rarely ever pressed it, rather relied on the more common face buttons to do the duty of selecting or deselecting options through gaming menus. So why did these console designers ever bother to put it into the design of the controller in the first place?

The N64 did away with such a button which makes sense to me, but in 2005 both Microsoft and Sony included a select button for their controllers, but to what point? The guide button for both is more than a welcome addition, but have they merely kept the select button in for legacy purposes? Or just to please the fans?

So is this fabled button truly the most useless button in gaming history? Or are there some hidden secrets that I have not been privy to for the past decade?
 

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The one and only
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3,660 Posts
it has it's uses, its just got the wrong name.
 

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You're already dead...
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5,472 Posts
hah interesting thread.

so i'm guessing theres some controllers that call the 'select' button the 'back' button? oO
cuz i don't think i've seen that.

anyways, the select button was used a lot in classic console games like nes games.
pretty much 70%+ of nes games that had a title screen used the 'select' button to switch the menu item.
usually the menu looked like:
Code:
  DONKEY KONG

|> Player Ia
   Player Ib
   Player IIa
   Player IIb
and the funny thing is most games only allowed you to use the select key to switch the menu arrow (as in, you couldn't use the up/down keys).
i guess it became some sort of standard that the more popular games started, and other games just followed.

also whats interesting is that in the original famicom system, there controllers were permanently attached to the console (you couldn't unplug them), and controller 2 didn't have start/select buttons...

other consoles before the nes were before my time, so i don't know if some versions of the atari consoles had select buttons on their controllers...
it would be interesting to know who first thought of the 'select' key.
might've originated in arcades?
 

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You're already dead...
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5,472 Posts
I don't know about the rest but the Atari 2600 only had one button on its controller, there was a Game Select switch on the console though :lol:.
wonder if that counts :lol:
 

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Registered
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281 Posts
it has it's uses, its just got the wrong name.
I agree poor name. Unless it's an obscene amount all in one place (cough >jaguar<) you can never have enough buttons. I have found it very useful in many games. At the end of the day it's just another button.

Then again the jag controller had just about the same amount of buttons as any other controller, just poor design all n all.
 

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The Hunter
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15,879 Posts
I vote for the L button on the N64 controller. When using the analog stick either need a third hand or a damn well coordinated penis to reach it.

As for the poll, I vote for the second option, I find it a good button for the reset car or camera functions in racing games. Opening world maps is a good option as well.
 

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...and now they do.
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20,002 Posts
It's just not used when it should be used. Think of fighting games. Instead of selecting your costume with the *gasp* select button, you have to use one of the punch/kick buttons.
 

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Heroes Might& Magic Champ
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4,713 Posts
I agree with you 99.9% snicko. Indeed usually its extremely useless.

However...however... there was one game that made all the these consoles useless key worth it.......and that was Super Metroid.




*Begs the gods of gaming to be merciful and forgiving to snicko for desecrating the holiest of holies* :p
 

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Ocean Soul
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1,420 Posts
weird I was just thinking about this at work yesterday. I believe it has it's uses. Been playing borderlands and it makes a great menu button. Just because all games don't use it doesn't mean the ones that use it well shouldn't be able too...
 
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