Know your Xbox 360 controller… guide, bumpers, shoulders, triggers?

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When the Super Nintendo Entertainment System made its debut in 1990, it introduced the “L” and “R” buttons on the top of the controller. The PlayStation took it a step further with the “L1” / “L2” and “R1” / “R2” buttons. The Xbox 360 continues that tradition, but the buttons are clearly marked “LB” and “RB” – and then a pair of triggers.

The confusion comes in because different games use different names for these buttons. Generically, you may hear “LB” referred to as the Left Bumper, or the Left Shoulder Button. Same goes for the right side. The Triggers are generally called by the name left or right trigger, but are sometimes simply designated as “LT” and “RT.”


You can press in or “click” each of the analog sticks, as well. In games, these are sometimes referred to as “L3” for the left analog stick and “R3” for the right analog stick.

The face buttons are all well labeled, including the Back, Guide, and Start buttons, and of course the main X, Y, A, and B “skittles” as they’ve been nicknamed. One more button worth pointing out, found only on wireless controllers, is the Sync Button. The Sync button is pressed only when you need to synchronize a controller with an Xbox 360, for instance, if you just bought a new controller, or are taking your controller to a friend’s house.

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