Share button vs Select button face-off

This morning I remembered that Sony is removing (Or apparently already removed? Cant be bothered to check) Twitter integration with their consoles, which was one of the main reasons why they got rid of the select button and replaced it with the share button.

My question is, do you miss the good ol' select button in modern games? Let's put aside the fact that the Dualshock 4's and DualSense's touchpad is basically the same thing but in a very dumb way. Do you think having a dedicated select button would improve any of these modern titles? What about older consoles? Is there any particular implementation of this button in any game that you like?

I don’t know if there is a sort of History of the Nerdy Anglophone Internet wiki available online but, during one of the many Insert Credit reboots/downtimes/crisis in the mid-Aughts, preceding the (first generation) Action Button era, I remember there was an offspring forum created by the community and called Select Button, which was created not long after (and therefore likely took its name from) an entire discussion on IC on the modern (de)merits and modern value of the Select Button.

I can’t for the life of me remember if _that_ discussion started as an essay on the Insert Credit front page or as an organic discussion turned weeklong poseur orgy, as the Insert Credit forums would somehow regularly spawn back then, but it was indeed a pretty fun discussion, and I have always half-seriously wondered if it somehow had an impact on modern hardware designers suddenly questioning the merit of the Select Button, especially at SCEA/SIEA (Sony America).




I don’t mind changing the name of the SELECT button, just like the PC Engine gets a RUN button instead of START. What I do mind is when these stupid buttons get inscrutable pictograms as labels. I have no idea what "two squares fucking each other" are supposed to be called, Xbox-sempai.

I‘m embarrassed that I know it’s called the view button on Xbox controllers.

The select button is such a waste. The NES controller has 8 buttons, one for each bit in a byte:


That real estate could have been spent on putting another whole face button on the controller, a la the Genesis (or Batrider), but no. We instead got a button that is so awkward to press that its main use was to select 2 player mode at the load up menu, something that the dpad was much more suited for anyway. To Nintendo's credit, they not only created this vestigial organ, but they also removed it for over a decade, so I think the true blame lies with Sony on this one. Sega, God bless them, never once used it.

Also, tangential question : there is pretty much a word for everything, so what’s the word for a thing which is actually physically shaped/designed in the name of the thing? Like, a weird teapot in the shape of the cursive letters “teapot”, or a rug cut out to spell RUG?

Because the Switch buttons, unlike the Wii and Wii U’s ー and + buttons, are not labeled as such, but are literally “a shape of a ー” and “a shape of +”, and everyone shrugged and gladly went for it since day one, but it’s actually quite odd!


Outside of sporadic examples of the Select button being used for UI, like a map you can toggle, I can’t think of any use of it that I am endeared by.

I have never had Sony’s Analogue button work, either.


@“◉◉maru”#p141377 This is something I've wondered before! And, embarrassingly, I worked out with a friend (we studied latin together) that if such a word existed, it would logically be onomatographia.

Other words that demonstrate it: bed, filigree

Ah, yes, the share button. I‘m not at all bothered by its inclusion. It’s the touchpad that causes me problems. That thing is the world's largest select button, and despite it having a useful functionality, developers seem to rarely, if ever, utilize it effectively.

One example is in Dead Rising 2 Remastered. When grappled by a zombie, you are expected to waggle the left stick. This does not play well with the touchpad. It brings up the map on the slightest graze because someone decided it should have touch functionality. This meant that almost every time, I would bring up the map when in that QTE.

Truth be told, I wish Sony wouldn't bother with all these controller intricacies and instead devote to basic user functionality. The Series X/S controller has become my favorite gamepad for this reason. You have the button that takes you back to the home screen and a share button that's located in between the start and select buttons. None of those take up any space in comparison to the DualShock 4 and DualSense.


@“Salloumi”#p141381 I worked out with a friend (we studied latin together) that if such a word existed, it would logically be onomatographia.

Thanks! That does seem legit.


@“TracyDMcGrath”#p141376 That real estate could have been spent on putting another whole face button on the controller, a la the Genesis (or Batrider), but no. We instead got a button that is so awkward to press that its main use was to select 2 player mode at the load up menu, something that the dpad was much more suited for anyway.

Many of you surely know the trivia that follows, but it might be relatively little known if one didn’t pay close attention to the PC Engine’s rollercoaster of a hardware & accessories legacy: Nec and Hudson quickly realized their mistake with the `SELECT` button, as more and more companies would start using either `SELECT` or `RUN` as a third action button.

This became a widespread problem with arcade ports as the new industry-wide JAMMA standard, established pretty much concurrently with the release of the PC Engine circa 1987, adopted 3 action buttons as their standard. I am pretty certain that is what motivated Sega, singularly involved in both the arcade and console businesses at the time, to go for the `ABC` buttons on the Mega Drive one year later. "Arcade Perfect"!

And so, even before NEC and Hudson eventually caved into the Street Fighter II craze like Sega and released the Avenue Pad 6 in 1993…


… They had already released another evolutionary "upgrade" to the PC Engine controller, the Avenue Pad 3, in January 1991.


The trick comes from the leftmost switch, which cleverly allows the players to allocate a different role to the button `III` depending on each game. It can either be turned off, act as `SELECT` or act as `RUN`. If you have a grasp of the major PC Engine games released in 1991 and 1993, you’ll surely see the value of this helpful switch.

In 1992, to drive the point home on its usefulness for arcade conversions, NEC Avenue even bundled their own (impressive) port of Forgotten Worlds – which absolutely needs two rotation buttons and a fire button – with an Avenue Pad 3.


@“HyggeState”#p141379 from my experience the analog button was mostly for PSX games. Analog vs digital was an either/or proposition for some games. The d-pad wouldn't work if analog was enabled.

I like a select button. How else am i supposed to select which kong to use? Or enter cheat codes?

The existence of the select button allowed the start button to be a pause button. You could put all the menus on the select screen so that you could pause in the middle of the action without anything else breaking your immersion. Back in my day you were even able to pause cutscenes!

Nowadays any time you want to pause you get all kinds of highly animated menus, microtransaction stores, and extraneous stuff that used to be on a select menu. Start button can confusingly become a 'skip' for cutscenes but not always so you better not press it.... and some games won't even let you pause at all any more.

Anyone celebrating the death of the select button should be careful, because the start button is next on the chopping block. Nintendo isn't making you press L1 + R1 on the title screen for your own health. Playstation "Plus" moving the start/select to the touchpad isn't helping either.

[it’s already been said, but] Select button is a leftover from Nintendo’s 8bit design where it was intended to be used to swap between stuff like 1P and 2P mode on 8bit title screens. Basically a digital version of the difficulty switches on ATARI consoles and plug n plays of the 70’s lmao.

If backwards compatibility with PS3,PSX games is a concern, then yes it will be missed. I would never want to loose it for older games that used it.

Otherwise I don’t really care. 🗿 Consoles can do whatever they want at this point and I just won’t care so much. It’s 2023. I already don’t want to use a PS5. Plenty of controllers in the past had no select key and let’s be real: that simplification was appreciated! We have enough buttons on controllers nowadays: it seems like _back paddles_ are on their way to becoming mainstream again! (They were mainstream on N64 and Wii, btw)

I often find the configuration of START SELECT SHARE HOME and equivalents to be frustrating across different controllers. When I remap Bluetooth controllers to retro consoles, these buttons become very ugly places to put *anything* gameplay related. It’s like using the MODE button on a SEGA controller for gameplay…. But worse. You may as well go to radio shack and buy a micro switch and use that to fire. The home button was already enough on top of start and select. Taking screen shots was easy enough on the PSP and 3DS using a button combo that included the right shoulder button to simulate a camera’s shutter button.

I’m not versed in Maru’s legendary SELECT BUTTON discussion. My stance is I loved it back then, but don’t give a flying cannoli nowadays what sony does anymore.

And yeah the Xbone’s symbols piss me tf off. That’s the biggest flaw in that controller. Back and forward made more sense.


@“JCP”#p141382 That thing is the world’s largest select button,

Came here to post this. Also the way the Brooks adapter boards handle it for emulation in arcade sticks is exactly the same way. You hold the joystick to indicate left, center, or right and push the emulated touch-pad button in one of those three regions. This confirms that no game has ever required us to meaningfully interact with this feature (other than in _Astro's Playroom_ (which is my daughter's favorite game)).


@“TracyDMcGrath”#p141376 That real estate could have been spent on putting another whole face button on the controller, a la the Genesis

This is a brilliant observation and is so obvious in retrospect after you have made me realize it which means that it is **even more brilliant** in its insightfulness. The only challenge here is you got a lot of games on the Genesis that used "C" as the "accept" button which I always thought was a bit weird from a UI perspective, but at least you had another ice button on the default controller!


@“treefroggy”#p141397 Back and forward made more sense.

I actually think taking the now-ubiquitous hamburger menu icon for the start button makes a lot of sense and is about as synonymous with PS's settings button as you can get while nonverbal. Console HID designers have an ideological decision to make: is the start button for pausing the action or for checking a menu, and then does checking a menu imply pausing your game? (not always)

I'm not sure what they were going for with view though as it mirrors Windows' own window restore button.

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@“JCP”#p141382 This does not play well with the touchpad. It brings up the map on the slightest graze because someone decided it should have touch functionality.

I *really* enjoyed being able to touch the trackpad with my thumb to bring up the HUD in games like HZD when I got my PS4.

I was thinking, while reading your example of having to shake a thumbstick to free your character from something in-game—a mechanic I've always kind of hated because it's always more effective to stuff the head of the thumbstick into the meat of my pollicis muscles and shake my whole hand back and forth than to try and wiggle the stick fast enough using either of my thumbs—that it would have been nice if swiping back and forth on the touchpad had caught on as a replacement for stick waggle.

That trackpad's fine, people just need to map stuff to it!!

man, the ps4/5 touchpad is such a missed opportunity so much of the time! everyone just uses it as One Big Select Button but there‘s obviously so much that can be done with it, even within the realm of opening windows and menus! like, it tracks finger position, so you can do things like, push it in on the left side to open menu a, push the right side for menu b. i don’t remember what game it was but at least one game used swipe gestures on it to do different functions depending on what way you swung your finger over it. hell it‘s even just a MOUSE, which i’ve used in ff14 but like… idk man. the touchpad is a little silly and does get in the way in frantic situations, but i think it can be used real well but most of the time it's the guinness book record holder of largest Open Map button which is sad

I also love the three button pc engine controller.

I kind of want one now, but I can just use my NSO Genesis controller with my Turbo BT adapter.

I, for one, find the Genesis 3 button controls for RPGs to be awesome, when B in the center is always cancel, and both A and C are select (often times bringing up two different menus as well a La shining force) makes so much since to me, it’s how I map golden sun to the NSO Genesis pad.
It’s like the best of both worlds: the Nintendo right-left A/B design, and the SEGA left to right design!

In fact, again for golden sun, in order to simulate SF controls, I have A mapped to _**SELECT**_, B to B, and A to C!!!!

I have accidentally taken many screenshots on both Playstation and Switch hardware by hitting the share buttons.


@“TracyDMcGrath”#p141376 Sega, God bless them, never once used it.

I never thought about this, but it's true! Sega continues to be the best.

At the same time, I also like the incredibly stupid avenue pad 3 and the absolute mess of pc engine games choosing to use select as run and run as a third button. two wolves inside me I guess!!