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Whenever someone in fiction presses a button, how hard they press always determines the effect. For some reason, you can make something work better just by pressing the appropriate button harder, or by pressing it multiple times, even though there's absolutely no reason this would work in real life.

This uses similar logic to Tim Taylor Technology.

Examples of Pressure Sensitive Interface include:

Anime and Manga


  • In Gold Digger, defunct 1970's super hero team the Wonder Friends had a base full of hi-tech vehicles based on the Thunderbirds. The old members, now part of Agency Zero, still have access to them, and they still work... but the on-board AI's will only oblige to work if they are approached dramatically. Just pushing the launch button won't do. You have to SLAM it down while saying a battle cry!

Film -- Animated

  • In WALL-E, the Big Bad pushes a button to turn off the Holo-Detector and lower it back into the floor, but WALL-E holds it up. So, the Big Bad takes out an electric prod and pushes the button with that, and the Holo-Detector lowers faster and overpowers WALL-E.
    • Also averted earlier in the movie, when WALL-E, trapped in an escape pod about to blow up, presses the button for self-destruct to try and turn it off, then repeatedly presses it.


  • Averted in the Isaac Asimov short story Risk, in which an experimental hyperdrive failed to work because the robot at the controls, having been ordered to pull the activation level "firmly", pulled it so hard that it bent out of shape.

Live Action Television

  • From the old HBO Not Necessarily The News, "Sniglets" section:

  Elecceleration: The mistaken belief that repeatedly pressing the elevator button will make it go faster.

  • From Stargate Atlantis, the last season, where an abandoned ship that autonomusly travels through parallel universes carrying the heros meets a universe full of hostile aliens, facing them to attack. Needless to say, Ronan is jamming on the rail gun button, then Seppard says,"Take it easy,Chewy."

Real Life

  • Truth in Television. A common way of expressing frustration. Say you're in a hurry and you're trying to cross the street, and you pushed the button to cross, but the crosswalk light isn't changing. It's not uncommon in this circumstance to futilely press the button over and over. Similarly, if you click/double-click something on a computer and nothing happens, you'll be sorely tempted to do it again, even though this may just slow the action down further. I've also seen people playing fighting games start mashing the buttons harder as they get more desperate, even when it's just an ordinary digital button and they're only destroying the controller.
    • Heh, the crosswalk thing: I press it repeatedly (generally four times, 'cuz I like the number 4) because I'm never sure that the first one took, and I don't want to be stuck waiting for a long time before I realize that I need to press it again. In some places, they've fixed this by having a place where you put your thumb (not a button, a scanner sort of thing), and when it registers that you're "pressing" it, it beeps. No more doubt.
    • The "not sure it took" is the reason for most "press the button again" behaviors. That's why many elevator buttons (and a very few crosswalks) have an indicator light that says "Yes, I know you pushed me".
      • More a case of "You know you pushed me," really.
      • All British pedestrian crossings have an indicator which lights when the button is pressed (on older versions, it's an illuminated WAIT sign, and on newer versions a red light). People still press the button repeatedly.
        • Irish crossings have the light too. But sometimes no light means "no signal" and a light means "signal received"; sometimes it's dim light: no signal, bright light: signal received; and sometimes it's permanently a dim light. So people press it over anyway.
    • Some crosswalks at intersections that have been converted back to pure timer operation have their buttons disconnected, and pressing does nothing. People are already used to waiting, so nobody notices any difference.
  • Pressing a road crossing button more times means that the time between the last button press and the change in lights is shorter...I fail at logic.
    • Unless it thinks multiple people are waiting for the light and increases the urgency of the signal call.
  • If your computer is going slowly, pressing buttons repeatedly will make it realize that you're impatient, and it will speed up. Doesn't everyone know this?
    • On at least one system, this actually worked. The system was designed to give programs that interacted with the user a higher priority than background processes that didn't. Pressing random keys during a long calculation would make it treat the task as interactive, so the calculation finished sooner.
    • A lot of PC GUI applications scroll this way. If you drag to select text or pixels, and your pointer leaves the scrollable part of the window, the will slowly start to scroll. Some apps scroll faster if the user moves the mouse because they scroll one unit per "event", and the mouse sends an event every time it has moved one or more pixels since the display was last updated.
    • Some poorly-written applications on old cooperative-multitasked computers would do their processing only in response to OS messages. Meaning, the processing would go faster if you wiggled the mouse, or slammed on the keyboard, or otherwise did something to make the OS send more messages than usual. This could happen in Mac Classic applications, and 16-bit Windows applications.
  • Some car remotes do react to multiple presses, for instance 3 presses of "lock" will start the engine.
  • Most "close door" lift buttons aren't connected to anything. The lift doors don't close any quicker, but the user feels in control.
    • They are, but unless you're in operator mode, they don't do much. In an elevator running in operator mode, the buttons give you total control. The doors will remain open until you select a floor or close them. You can even override the doors and leave them open as you travel.

Video Games

  • Every button on the Play Station 2 controller worked like this. Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 were practically the only games that did anything with it, though. If you push the fire button and let go, you shoot, but if you push the button and lightly let go, you'll holster your gun without firing a shot. It was tricky as hell.
    • When the first game was remade for the Gamecube with mostly Play Station 2 controls, they got around the Gamecube controller not having pressure sensitive buttons by having you press Y, then A, in succession to holster your weapon.
    • Also, another Kojima game, Zone of the Enders, had a weapon that made use of the pressure-sensitive Play Station 2 buttons. A light push would result in a wide-angle, point-blank spray, while a hard one would increase the range from "melee" to merely "short" with a narrower spread.
    • Gran Turismo IV had the cars go faster the harder you push the X button.
      • Throttle is modulated by the X button, and main brakes are modulated via square. Handbrake and reverse (circle and triangle, respectively) are not pressure-sensitive. Same story for all shoulder buttons.
      • Likewise for some other racing/driving games (eg GTA).
    • Want to talk tricky? Squaresoft's 3D beat-em-up The Bouncer differentiated between light and heavy presses of the four attack buttons, and this was a critical part of the fighting system. Good luck to you if you're the kind of player who mashes buttons--or even just presses down hard--when things get intense.
    • The rhythm game Mad Maestro relies on this. Notes are color-coded based on how lightly or hardly you have to jam on the button, which also affects the volume of the music.
      • The original Japanese version, Bravo Music, had a special baton peripheral that made this much easier.
  • The Nintendo Gamecube had touch sensitive shoulder buttons, with another button at the very bottom of each the buttons
    • Luigi's Mansion used this function to control the Poltergust, pressing the button hard increased suction power, and pressing it all the way down makes Luigi stationary.
      • The same functionality was used in Super Mario Sunshine with the water pack F.L.U.D.D., where a light press will have the nozzle spray directly in front of Mario and he can move around, and a hard press will make him stationary but allow him to maneuver the nozzle freely.
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee also used this function. The shoulder buttons were used for shielding: lightly pushing the button made a larger but more translucent, and likely weaker, shield; pushing the button harder made the shield more compact as well as more durable and opaque.
  • And of course, the Xbox controllers (both original and 360) are loaded with pressure sensitive buttons. Not many games use them though, as the large shoulder triggers are more intuitive for that sort of thing.
    • In Morrowind, when using the white/black buttons to raise/lower price offers with vendors, how hard you push them determines how fast the figure changes.
    • Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball made good use of the face buttons's pressure sensitivity if enabled by the player. The harder you press, the stronger the girls spiked/served the ball. (If the feature was disabled, the A and B buttons were the "strong" buttons while the X and Y buttons were the "weak" buttons, similar to a fighting game's button layout).
  • Likewise, the Nintendo DS touch screen can tell between a light and a hard press.
    • In the Metroid Prime: Hunters demo (First Hunt), light presses on the menu screen options would give tooltips, while harder presses would actually select things.
    • Some games don't register light presses at all, forcing you to stab the screen with the stylus and pray you're not damaging it.
  • The earliest incarnation of the Street Fighter 1 arcade cabinets used giant pressure sensitive buttons for Punch and Kick rather than the traditional six-button setup used today. After kids and angry/enthusiastic patrons destroyed the hydraulic pumps that operated the buttons via furious mashing did Capcom realize this setup was not a very good idea.
    • Interestingly enough, the idea was reused for the EO versions of Capcom vs. SNK 2. The strengths of punches and kicks are determined by the pressure exerted on the L and R buttons in an attempt to simplify the controls for the Game Cube and X Box.
  • The difficult-but-rewarding "Second-Stage Quickboost" tactic in Armored Core 4/for Answer relies on the 360/PS3's pressure sensitive buttons. Specifically, pressing the quickboost button ordinarily will unleash the ordinary burst. However, by pressing the button to the point such that it almost activates, and then activating it with a light pressure will trigger this. Quick Boost is intended to be an emergency get-out-of-the-way burst of speed; properly applied, Second Stage boosting can and will outrun enemies using their supposedly faster Overed Boost.

Web Comics

  • In Bob and George the time travel suit is controlled by one button on the belt buckle. You have to practically type out a command in Morse Code with it to actually do anything. The duration and pressure of the press is important.
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