I finally worked it out. My peeve with most modern console games.
A brief history first - I'm a PC and console gamer. I've owned consoles from the Atari 2600, to the Master system, snes, yadda ya you get the idea. I fell out of love with consoles when they went to analogue controls. More on that in a bit.
I got into PC gaming later, starting with a P4 as my first gaming system. The first thing I did, interestingly, was go into a PC world and find a mouse that would fit my wee girly hands. You probably know where this is going now.
My skill rating on games is as follows:
PC - expert
Retro consoles - expert
Current gen consoles - novice/medium
In every driving game I oversteer constantly. In every shooter I overaim. Turning sensitivity down just means constrant frustrations over not being able to move my reticule fast enough. I've been gaming years and I just cannot get used to modern analogue sticks.
Then the other day it dawned on me, at last. I don't know if it was the dull ache in most of my fingers, or the fact I was playing "Infamous" on EASY (ffs!) and literally screaming in frustration at not being able to aim for shit in the missions that kind of require it. At dying all the time. For those not in the know, to aim in Infamous ont he ps3 one must hold L1, aim with the left analogue stick, and fire with R1 or some other button for a special power.
Where was I.. ah yes the lightbulb above my head. I looked at the controller. I looked at my hand. It just clicked. This controller doesn't fit my hand. My hand is killing me. On the left side I have to hold L1 pretty much constantly, using my little finger to balance the control and my thumb to aim. On the right side, a similar setup but perhaps less analog use, though I do tweak the cam all the time as well (right stick).
Imagine if your hand was about 30/40% smaller. I figured out that it's the thumb sticks themselves that are the problem. They are too high up, the stick too elevated. It means that my entire hand is stretched out way more than is comfortable and it really, really affects accuracy - also causes pain.
The Xbox controller is even worse, it feels like it was designed for someone with twice my hand's span. If you take a ruler and measure from little finger to thumb tips - what do you get? I get 17.5cm - and the peripherals are designed around a much bigger average.
Well, one one hand (no pun intended) I'm kind of relieved to find out why I can't get on with console games anymore. But on the other hand it makes me very sad. It's not like any hardware manufacturer would ever care or try to fix this because we're too much of a niche and multiple versions of controls wouldn't get off the whiteboard. Shame, cos I'd be happy to pay a premium since I accept I'm in the minority.
Man, I miss my megadrive controller. It was perfect for my hand, I never got tired when using it.
I'm not saying it's impossible for us girls to play, but certainly for any chicks with hands my size, they're playing with a handicap even if they don't realise it (i.e. if current gen consoles are all they've ever known). Interestingly I have the exact same issue with guitar hero guitars but it's worse - I literally can't span the buttons at all making the game unplayable. Good job I'm a drums person eh!
Well there we go. I'll still play console games but I think at one point I'll just give up the ghost. I'm so sore from playing Infamous but I want to complete it so heh.. I'll battle on.