You must forgive my fingers… they find pleasure in the most unusual places
Have you ever dreamt of touching something night after night, only to wake up and face the cold reality that it’s out of your grasp? I have.
Every night I retire to my queen bed, pull the covers over and close my eyes to dream once more of the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller. I sleep in naught but a silk robe that barely clings to my body, hoping though futile it is that when I awake I’ll find a DualSense lying softly against my bare chest, the weight of my forearm across its handles keeping it safe and warm.
Every morning I awake to the drone and din of the city, the robe adhered to my skin from the sweat of the hot nights. Next to me is not a DualSense, though I’m not alone. A DualShock 4 lies askew on the pillow beside my head, and in the morning sun I notice more than ever the wear of time on its face. Hoping for some small reminder of the passion I first felt years ago, I gently run my fingers across its handles and place gentle but intentional pressure on its PlayStation button. It doesn’t wake, perhaps completely spent from an hours-long session the evening before. It pains me to look back on those first few months and know that it’ll never bring me as much excitement as it did then, but I’ve seen new possibilities. I’ve seen the DualSense.
In my dream, I’m holding the DualSense in both hands. Its handles pressed firmly into the cups of my palms as my fingers extend over its porcelain face. I know my way around the DualSense already, it’s not the first controller these hands have held after all, and it may not be the last. Still, I find pleasure in learning its nuances; the texture of its sticks, the click of its buttons and the firm squeeze it takes to bring its triggers all the way to their base. My index finger rests atop the PlayStation button, pressing down, and the DualSense responds in kind. The gentle glow of its face letting me know I’ve sufficiently turned it on. In this dream of mine, magic is about to be made.
It takes mere seconds of touch before the many splendours and pleasures of the DualSense come to light. Almost immediately a cacophonous show of colour and sound fills the walls of the room in a way that I’ve never experienced. As my hands navigate the entirety of the DualSense’s body, rocking from the front to back with speed and skill, it reacts in ways that are entirely new to me. I feel the world in its face, its handles tell me stories through touch alone and when I speak it hears my every word. I pull down on its triggers, hoping to hold them at just the right spot in some effort to assert my prowess, but to my surprise the DualSense exhibits an innate control of its own triggers. There’s a natural resistance that, by pushing back at just the right point, tells me all I need to know about what I’m doing.
This is a night of firsts, it seems, as no sooner have I discovered the DualSense’s talented triggers than I’m commanded to pull it’s entire body closer and gently push the air from lips to the tiny opening on its underside. This new development hardly surprises me after experiencing the controller’s various other proclivities, and I willingly oblige. My hot breath awakens something inside the DualSense, and I’m again struck by a reaction that touches my many senses; touch, sight, sound. Though I’ve had the pleasure of these phenomena in isolation, never has a controller taken me to all places at once, and I fear this may be a peak I’ll never transcend elsewhere. I’ve honestly, truly, never felt this much… feeling.
I awake, eventually, as I always do. The DualShock 4 beside me catches some of the morning light across its Berry Blue features and for a moment, for a fleeting moment those original feelings come rushing back and I remember our earliest of adventures. Of swinging through the streets of New York City in Marvel’s Spider-Man, of saving the world of Erdrea in Dragon Quest XI and even the time it helped me live my masochistic fantasies in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. In that moment I realised that, although we grow apart and although my mind wanders to an exciting future, I wouldn’t trade our time for all the Wii U Gamepads in the world.