# Anyone who says cross is a cop.September 8, 2019 3:36 PM   Subscribe

We've all been calling the DualShock's X button the wrong name. [Eurogamer] “That symbol in the southernmost position of the four buttons on your DualShock controller. What do you call it? If you're of rational mind, you'll probably call it the "Ex" button, right? That's what I call it. That's what my pals call it. I mean, we've all seen detractors, those unsettling people who call it - wait for it - "Cross"! Ha! - but they're just being contrary. We all know the truth. We know we're right. Except we're not.” According to @PlaystationUK: [Twitter] “🔺⭕❌🟥 If Cross is called X (it's not), then what are you calling Circle? 🤔”
posted by Fizz (62 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

They have the problem that the SNES established "ABXY" as the buttons, which tends toward letter names over shape names.
posted by Scattercat at 3:39 PM on September 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

The distance between the ends of an X are not defined by geometry. That is typography, and yes there are fonts where the ends of the X make a square.
Of course, X is also a shape. As for a cross making a square, I believe if you look at most churches you will see that it looks more like a kite when you connect the ends...
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:47 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Crosses are shaped like the letter t where even are you Scotland or somewhere?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:47 PM on September 8, 2019 [16 favorites]

I say "two," but that's really just me being ornery.

The buttons are "one" "two" "three" and "four" and I will die on that hill!
posted by MengerSponge at 3:51 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

square is box or L7.

I blame 'Happy Days'.
posted by clavdivs at 3:53 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

True fans use the ORIGINAL JAPANESE NAMES
Maru batsu sankaku shikaku, you baka gaijins.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 3:55 PM on September 8, 2019 [18 favorites]

I guess we need some sort of orthographic consistency on game controllers, but how many times must we have the descriptive vs. prescriptive argument?
posted by aspersioncast at 3:57 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

What the hell. It's clearly X, as in xmas or xtian.
posted by rodlymight at 3:58 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

The meme is "press x to doubt" so checkmate, atheists.
posted by brook horse at 4:04 PM on September 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

did everyone have an extra helping of stupid pancakes this morning
⭕ = zero
❌ = ten
how is this not obvious
posted by phooky at 4:12 PM on September 8, 2019 [20 favorites]

Clearly it's a saltire.
posted by slkinsey at 4:17 PM on September 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

@PlaystationUK: [Twitter] “🔺⭕❌🟥 If Cross is called X (it's not), then what are you calling Circle?

It took me a good 5 minutes to realize that they were asking "If you call this shape ❌"X", why don't you call this shape ⭕ "o". I guess it's weird that X is (in the USA at at least) a shape AND a letter, but it seems even weirder to avoid calling X's "X" just because we don't call circles "O's".
posted by 23skidoo at 4:18 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

whydotheycare.jif
posted by grumpybear69 at 4:20 PM on September 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

whydotheycare.jif

Surely, you mean gif? ;-)
posted by Fizz at 4:23 PM on September 8, 2019 [6 favorites]

I prefer to think of them as the hugs and kisses buttons.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 4:29 PM on September 8, 2019 [8 favorites]

It took a while puzzling through all this talk of X’s and crosses before I realized all y’all were talking about the Drunken Plus button.
posted by ejs at 4:39 PM on September 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

The times button
posted by Going To Maine at 4:55 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

⭕ = maru (まる) = 🙆
❌ = batsu (ばつ) = 🙅
posted by peeedro at 4:58 PM on September 8, 2019 [7 favorites]

Tent
Nought
Cross
Tent Seen From The Side
posted by 23skidoo at 4:58 PM on September 8, 2019 [10 favorites]

I think the fact that the purpose of the X and O buttons are swapped between Japanese and Western markets is way, way more interesting than whether it's called "X" or "Cross"
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:05 PM on September 8, 2019 [7 favorites]

I just lament that Playstation controller managed to reverse the UI from the Nintendo standard, but only in the US.

I'm told Japanese PS games use the 🙆 vs 🙅 dichotomy, just like the SNES and every Nintendo controller setup since. But for some godawful reason someone in Sony US decided americans think of 🙅 as 'select' and 20 years later, I'm still cursed with having to recall whether I'm playing a Nintendo or PS version of a game.
posted by pwnguin at 5:08 PM on September 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

pwnguin, are those supposed to be emoji or am I seeing the wrong unicode characters?
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:35 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Ummmm, but I do call the round one 'O'.
posted by pompomtom at 5:45 PM on September 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

If ❌ is 'cross', then the current X-comics would be 'Powers of Cross' and 'House of Cross'. Which they're not, because that would be ridiculous. So it isn't. Q.E.D.M.F.
posted by signal at 5:52 PM on September 8, 2019

Letters? Numbers? Symbols? We just call it "the blue button."
posted by Phssthpok at 5:58 PM on September 8, 2019

If you have to think about what it's called before you press it, YOU DIED
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:00 PM on September 8, 2019 [15 favorites]

I assumed they were "ex," "oh," and a coupla dingbats, all in a modified Herb Lubalin font. Probably Avant Garde. Why they chose a font so closely associated with the 1970s, I couldn't say, but the type designers on Avant Garde were all absolute legends, so why not?
posted by surlyben at 6:03 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

X as 'accept' instead of 'cancel' has caused SO many accidental (fake) purchases, overwriting of game saves, and time wasted listening to long monologues for the seventh time in a row. If it's supposed to be a cross (as in CROSSED OUT) then it should fucking be 'cancel.' But it's not, so you don't get to have it that way, Sony.
posted by brook horse at 6:05 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

This will all end in tears. Or bloodshed.
posted by sexyrobot at 6:08 PM on September 8, 2019

pwnguin, are those supposed to be emoji or am I seeing the wrong unicode characters?

They're emoji on my Ubuntu laptop ---and my Apple laptop--for human making X and O as borrowed from peeedro.
posted by pwnguin at 6:53 PM on September 8, 2019

Oooh, ok. I thought she was just cheering. Duh, I should have seen that.
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:17 PM on September 8, 2019

Aaaand circle gets the square! Wow, that's gotta hurt!

-Kenny Blankenship, Esq.
posted by loquacious at 7:36 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

I think Sony USA decided gamers were used to using the lowest button to accept, and that O wasn't the obvious Yes button it is in Japan.

In hindsight, they should have just worn it. X still means No, and they probably could have set a new standard if they'd held their nerve.
posted by Merus at 7:44 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

I remember reading somewhere—a quick search didn't find corroboration, but it's incredibly self evident—that the buttons are shapes made up of one, two, three, and four line segments. Circle, cross, triangle, square. Cross is the odd one out, since it's not a polygon and also looks like a letter, and the other two game systems have X buttons (three if you count PCs), so it's no surprise that people call it X, even if it's not intended as an X.

To which I say, what's the harm? There's no way that I'll ever read an onscreen prompt in a video game as "Press cross to use." This whole discussion reminds me of reading a disclaimer from Lego Inc. insisting that they never be called "Legos," but rather "LEGO bricks and toys." Good luck with that!
posted by ejs at 7:56 PM on September 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

The weird shape names is how you always know you are playing an imposter game system based on a failed SNES CD prototype.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:25 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

"Let's play Noughts and Crosses. You be Exs, I'll be Ohs."

We are very inconsitent beings and I'm fine with the contradictions.
posted by adamt at 9:24 PM on September 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

brook horse: "X as 'accept' instead of 'cancel' has caused SO many accidental (fake) purchases, overwriting of game saves, and time wasted listening to long monologues for the seventh time in a row."

Last night we had a typhoon, so I was up in the middle of the night playing video games because the wind wouldn't let me sleep. Hour after hour of "Open menu, select craft, select materials to craft with, hit "O" to confirm--fuck!! damn import games!!--open menu, select craft, select materials to craft with, hit "O" out of pure muscle memory--FUCK!!"
posted by Bugbread at 10:02 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I was going to chime in with the TicTacToe explanation.
They call them Exes in USA and Crosses in UK english.
Both UK and Japan drive on the right.
Therefore they also use Cross.
(Consequentially, they use of Cross is precisely as incorrect as driving on the right is.)
posted by bartleby at 10:07 PM on September 8, 2019

But now I'm pondering what I would have called them under different button configurations:
ABXO = ay bee ex oh
Diamond, star, three wavy lines, ...cross?
posted by bartleby at 10:11 PM on September 8, 2019

Oh, also X is Select / Confirm in the US because we fill in a lot of standardized forms. The most clear and positive way (and also leftover from the age of typewriters) to make an indication in a
Select One: [ ] Meat [ ] Fish [ ] Vegetarian
is to put an X mark in the box next to the correct option.
So X contextually means 'yes, that one' when presented with a list or scrolling through a menu. Even though X might mean Cancel or No in another context.
posted by bartleby at 10:22 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

The o and x were "yes" and "no", but the triangle, circle and square also match Shinto's Sanmi-Sangen shapes. These appear in Zen art too.

Kyoto's Kennin-ji temple has a famous garden based around the idea that "all things in the universe could be represented by a square, triangle or circle". It was inspired by a a calligraphy piece called "The Universe".
posted by BinaryApe at 10:56 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ex, zero, square, triangle due to being sane.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:14 PM on September 8, 2019

Wherefore wouldst thou accept the opinion of Playstation UK, the only place that calls an X a cross? Would you also yield if Playstation USSR jumped in to say, nyet, it's actually a "huh"?
posted by team lowkey at 12:55 AM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Letters? Numbers? Symbols? We just call it "the blue button."

This is what all my Danish friends did when I was young (and I think still do)! Yeah, everyone I knew speaking English was shouting "press x ['ex']" or "press circle" (or triangle, or square) but in Denmark they were shouting "blå!" (blue - x) or "grøn" (green - triangle) etc, etc.
posted by Dysk at 2:10 AM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

(Also, "if that's an x, what do you call circle?" Easy. Circle. You're trying to get me to say "oh" but no, it's way too fat for that. We don't tend to render the letter O as a perfect circle.)
posted by Dysk at 2:13 AM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've never owned a playstation-type device, and possibly have never played on one, so I have no skin in this game, but I find it hard to argue against 'fork'.
(But if the question is 'what do I call it?', the answer is 'ex', and I'm prepared to be told I'm wrong)
posted by MtDewd at 4:24 AM on September 9, 2019

I'm pretty sure this is to protect their branding. Any "unauthorized pronunciation" of X as "ex" might conjure evil thoughts of competitor XBOX (even though the symbol is still RIGHT THERE!).

I'm thinking this is the same reason XBOX controllers have evolved the old "Start" button with the universal "Play" symbol (▷) to the new "Menu" hamburger symbol (☰).
posted by JJtheJetPlane at 7:04 AM on September 9, 2019

Oh no, I got to the thread late!

So, any title published on a Sony platform has to pass a certification process called FQA. FQA is a phone-book sized digital document of things that you MUST comply with in order to release. Some of these are major and technical (You must call API x at moment Y for thing Z), but some of them are stuff like this. There is a BRUTAL spreadsheet that's like 250 rows long and 90 columns wide of what to call what button in what region in what context.

It will break you in those grueling weeks ahead of release.
posted by GilloD at 7:23 AM on September 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Of course it's a cross. The other three are triangle, circle, and square, so it's a shape not a letter. Context matters.
posted by Francis at 7:49 AM on September 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

🔺 = plǝᴉʎ
⭕ = hole
❌ = cross
🟥 = box
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 7:59 AM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Triangle, square, hug, kiss.
posted by ODiV at 8:14 AM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

I went PS1 > PS2 > X360 so I call the A button X ("ecks") and the X button "square", etc.

Based in part on those weird random-battle quiz enemies in FF9(?) I suspect the correct names for the DualShock's X and O buttons are "batsu" and "weeaboo" respectively.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 10:52 AM on September 9, 2019

$\Delta$
$\square$
$\bigcirc$
$\times$
posted by mhum at 11:31 AM on September 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

it's well established history that the keys are either

kick
punch
block
chop

or possibly

crack
egg
into
bowl
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:07 PM on September 9, 2019 [5 favorites]

Should have remembered that. I've been posting here since my Mama was a baby.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 12:19 PM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

All I know is, the surface of an X is perfectly smooth.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:34 PM on September 9, 2019

Circle = 1 line
Cross = 2 lines
Triangle = 3 lines
Square = 4 lines

I'll let Nintendo and Microsoft fight over the correct configuration of A, B, X, and Y.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 7:43 PM on September 9, 2019

> "If ❌ is 'cross', then the current X-comics would be 'Powers of Cross' and 'House of Cross'. Which they're not, because that would be ridiculous."

Listen, buddy, I've been reading Cross-Men comics since before Professor Cross died the FIRST time all the way up until the ResurrCrossion, including titles like Cross-Factor, Cross-Force, Mutant Cross, Cross-Infernus, Ecrosscalibur, and Ecrossiles, so please do not sully the memory of such notable teams as the Cross-Statix, the Cross-Terminators, and the Cross-Treme Cross-Men with your nonsense.
posted by kyrademon at 2:43 AM on September 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

Circle
Square
Chevron
Saltire
posted by Dysk at 3:41 AM on September 11, 2019

posted by Dysk at 3:56 AM on September 11, 2019

The PlayStation button symbols are genius, by the way. It's telling that when the Xbox first came out, basically everything they added except for the triggers got abandoned by the next console, and even then you could argue that the GameCube controller got there first. (And I would, because the PlayStation controller is damn fine but the GameCube controller is still my all-time favourite - the big central A button with the kidney buttons around it was so clever.)
posted by Merus at 7:47 AM on September 11, 2019

Apparently, they were originally "paper", "viewpoint", "yes" and "no".
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.
posted by lucidium at 8:24 AM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

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