In a chat with Famitsu magazine this week, PlayStation designer Teiyu Goto explained how Sony deviated from the competition's flat, alphabet-laden game pads. In creating the company's first console, Goto said he wanted to keep things simple. "We wanted something simple to remember, which is why we went with icons or symbols, and I came up with the triangle-circle-X-square combination immediately afterward."
Elaborating on the thought process behind Sony's controller, Goto said each symbol has a meaning. "The triangle refers to viewpoint; I had it represent one's head or direction and made it green. Square refers to a piece of paper; I had it represent menus or documents and made it pink. The circle and X represent 'yes' or 'no' decision-making and I made them red and blue respectively. People thought those colors were mixed up, and I had to reinforce to management that that's what I wanted."
Goto also reminisced about the trouble he faced convincing management to drop Nintendo's flat controller designs. "The Super NES was a huge hit at the time, and naturally we wanted SNES gamers to upgrade to our system," he said. Management feared gamers wouldn't accept a radical departure. A flat PlayStation controller nearly made it out the door before CEO Norio Ohga stepped in with disapproval. "Management was still pretty peeved, but they felt like they had no choice but to follow him."