Consider this answer as an illustration of how awkward the rectangular <kbd>-tagged keys look as console controller button:

And compare with this mockup of controller button images:

Each button image could be added to the site's sprite sheet, which has a ton of unused space. Special "insert controller button" menu could be added to post editing bar. They could have a syntax like [key-xbox:A] and [key-ps:x].

Other SE sites have their own special features, why not add this handy thing for Arqade?

  • 4
    Well, for one, we're Arqade. And another, sounds like a ton of work for little benefit. It doesn't really add much functionality. And you missed the Wii/U.
    – Frank
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 3:12
  • 6
    Don't forget the Ouya. And the N64. And the Genesis. And the...
    – SaintWacko
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 3:33
  • 9
    @Frank Sounds like similar reasons to not have lazers. Are you saying you don't like the Lazer Mothership? Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 4:10
  • 4
    @RavenDreamer Lazers is a straight up image change. No big deal. What's being asked for here is...slightly more complicated than that, especially for the custom markdown. And I don't think it really offers anything of value.
    – Frank
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 4:18
  • Sure, what I described is a bit difficult to do. Not very difficult, but considerably so. I don't know much about much, so I assume some of the more tech-savvy people who actually do this kind of stuff could come up with a much easier way to implement these icons, so don't take my rough sketch as a "do it or drop it" proposition. It's just how I, from far away, saw this could be done, in theory. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 5:36
  • Well then, I'd be happy if someone could shop up all the buttons and post that as an answer so I could accept it. My photoshop skills are way below publicly acceptable level. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 5:43
  • See also meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/316/…
    – badp
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 11:36
  • @badp guess what? They look like crap. Even Steam has implemented a "smiley" button into their chat to paste terribly visible unicode chars. This isn't a desired solution at all. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 15:52
  • @badp I would suggest this answer as a better alternative for the console buttons.
    – Batophobia
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 18:04
  • @Batophobia this is intolerable. Even if the font smoothing is on. I mean, circled characters maaaybe, but look at those pathetic excuses of arrows. No way. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 18:10
  • Perhaps you prefer this for A and this for B.
    – Batophobia
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 18:13
  • @Batophobia those are the same links. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 18:48
  • Yes, on a NES controller A and B look the same.
    – Batophobia
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 19:32

1 Answer 1


For some reason, we have been stuck with (jjj) these not-great-looking kbd tags that just don't work well in most contexts, such as when used inline (notice how their baseline is lower than normal text and how those j's and this line right here, look, hit the box) or inside lists.

Some people think this is, after all, okay. I don't agree with these people, but I'd rather not make the problem even worse through javascript hacks.

Besides - what if we need to tell people to press the A button on their keyboard?

I think the problem is that it's not just awkward to use kbd for console buttons. It's awkward to use kbd period.

Even just these three small CSS tweaks would make things better:

padding: 1px 4px; /* instead of 2px 4px; also fixes baseline */
border-radius: 16px;
font-family: sans-serif;

enter image description here

  • The kbd tags on MSO look good imo and would fit here just fine.
    – 3ventic
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 11:48
  • 1
    @3ventic They'd look like this (don't pay any mind to the links; I just imported the whole MSO css for that picture.)
    – badp
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 11:52
  • 1
    I think something along these lines would be a pretty reasonable compromise. My biggest problem with the current kbd tags is that they're explicitly styled to look like PC keyboard keys, when those tags are often used for controller button inputs and other decidedly non-keyboard things. Since platform-specific images are probably not practical, this seems like a reasonable middle ground.
    – Cloudy
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 15:29
  • 1
    This would probably look fine if SE's UI designer paid us a visit. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 15:54

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