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Afterglow Controller Review

Updated on March 13, 2014

If you’ve never heard of an Afterglow controller, or have seen them, but want to know more about them, this review is for you. Currently there are Afterglow controllers for the XBOX 360, the Wii, and the PS3. I have played with all three and have come to a pretty simple conclusion: These things are cool.

The Glow

All three controllers come with their signature glow. When you turn the system/controller on, the controller lights up like a Christmas tree. Its standard setting is to stay lit 100% of the time, but you can also set it to glow only while vibrating or turn off the glow entirely. With the glow off, you can clearly see the inner workings of the controller—wires and all. Check this out when it’s vibrating; it’s amazing. The glow also comes in a variety of colors: purple, green, orange, pink, red, and blue. Green seems to be the most common color in stores, for some reason. I haven’t seen the orange, red, or pink Afterglows in action, but I can testify to the shiny-ness of the other three colors.

Note: The Wii mote Afterglow isn’t as bright as the others. Possibly because it has less space for the lights due to the speaker.

Where'd My Button Go?

One of the first things you’ll notice when you go to play with an Afterglow controller is the placement of the buttons. Every Afterglow controller has a slightly different layout than a standard controller.

It’s barely noticeable on the XBOX 360 Afterglow because the only things that moved were the START and BACK buttons. They’re in the same basic area, just at a different angle.

The Wii Afterglow has a few more changes. The HOME button has moved from the center of the Wii mote to the upper right corner, across from the power button. The + and – buttons have slid up the controller, and are on either side of the A button. This actually makes them much easier to reach, so it’s a nice change. Oh, and 1 and 2 are now at a diagonal, making room for the light.

The most startling change is the PS3 Afterglow. Instead of having both joysticks side by side, it opts for the XBOX layout, and switches the left joystick with the D-pad. Some players even prefer this layout, as it feels more natural to them. I’m impartial myself—it still plays nice.

Doesn't Come That Way, Sorry

There are some important things to note about what you can’t get with an Afterglow:

  • You can’t get a wireless XBOX 360 Afterglow. There are wireless PS3 Afterglows out there, so I’m not sure why this is. Wired versions for both systems, though, have a cord that’s at least six feet long. If this cord doesn’t reach your sofa, I don’t know what will.
  • You can’t get an Afterglow with the original button layout. So if the idea of separating the analog sticks on your PS3 controller is just too hard to bear, this isn’t the controller for you.
  • You can’t get an Afterglow Wii nunchuck, or so I thought when I originally wrote this. Apparently they’re just sold separately. There are a few bundles out there with both mote and nunchuck, but you’ll probably have to buy them one at a time. Dang.

They DO exist!
They DO exist!


I’m pretty average when it comes to controller use. I don’t handle them like they’re made of glass and I don’t handle them like they’ve been beaten against a wall. For average use they’ve held up really well—no button sticking or anything like that. The only issue I’ve come across is that I have to turn off vibration when I go to play Kingdoms of Amalur on my PS3, otherwise the left vibrator just goes nuts. (I have no clue why!)

So Now You Know...

…About the Afterglow. They’re shiny, a little weird, but fully playable. And since most of them run 5-10 dollars below the price of the standard controllers, these beauties are a bargain. The only question left is: Do you want one?

Would you buy an Afterglow?

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