Many people have stated problems with the design of the dpad on the Xbox 360 controller. With Street Fighter re-releases via XBL Arcade, I can say that this could be a problem. I’ve had my own problems with the dpad in Call of Duty 4, as it’s used for ‘special’ weapons (C4, claymore, air strike, etc etc) and if the dpad chooses that time to fail you, it generally results in your ass being handed to you.
Opinions on the ‘best’ dpad from the gamer community vary. The PS2’s “original” dpad, which wasn’t actually a ‘pad’, so much as 4 separate buttons. Having these buttons independent, however, made it harder to oops the wrong direction, and easier to make the ‘quarter circle’ movements popular in so many fighting games. The NES’ controller, in my opinion, was superior to anything I’ve seen since. Simple, yet perfect in its functionality. If only M$ didn’t wait so long to get in the game, perhaps they wouldn’t have been so screwed by patented technology.
3rd party options are somewhat limited, due to the lack of ‘official’ support. The “Mad Catz Gamepad” has most of the market, but that appears to perhaps be a good thing: the dpad on their gamepad looks reasonable and has gotten some pretty good reviews. It even comes in NFL team colors, for you Madden-ites. Although you can say hello to wires again if you go with this one, or any 3rd party 360 controller for that matter. Last we heard, Microsoft is still not allowing anyone but themselves produce wireless controllers for their system.
The alternatives are grim. There are numerous ‘hacks’ on the net, from sanding down the surrounding area, to complete reworks of the dpad’s inner workings. I can’t say I’m quite to the point where I risk my controller’s functionality for it, but if too many more instances like this occur:
Sweet, perfect time to use my C4, but I have to be quick
*night vision turns on*
*night vision turns off*
…I just might be getting out my eyeglass screwdrivers and sandpaper.