You'll see these things marketed a variety of ways, from a dance pad adapter to a guitar controller converter, but they all do the same thing: make PS2 controllers work with your PS3. This has a few distinct advantages, from saving battery life in the cordless PS3 controllers to reusing controllers yo've already invested in. It also has a few disadvantages. Let's take a closer look.
When I bought my PS3 over a year ago, dropping about $500 for a console was asking a bit much, and when you throw in a couple games with that, its enough to wipe your savings out quick. The system came with one wireless controller and a two-foot USB charging cable, hardly long enough to play from the couch if your batteries are low. On top of that, you can't swap out the batteries should the controller wear out down the road, and at $50 each, I'm not eager to buy more PS3 controllers. I was in need of a better solution.
Enter these controller adapters. Granted, the one mentioned in the title is one of the first, and I don't think it's actually in production anymore, but several other manufacturers have stepped in to pick up the slack. Most of the complaints I've heard about these things are leveled at the fact that Guitar Hero 2 doesn't work properly with them. It does work, just not exactly how it should. You can't properly execute hammer-ons and pull-offs for some reason. The controller doesn't register buttons until and unless the strum bar is plucked. However, this was explained pretty clearly in the documentation that came with the adapter. I don't see how people can be that upset when they put it right on the box.
Also, don't people play anything besides GH2? What about God of War or Need for Speed or any of a thousand other excellent games? When the adapter works for all but one or two games among hundreds, I have a hard time feeling that bad for those who fall down crying about it. Of course, being able to play any of these PS2 games on your PS3 depends on which model of the hardware you got. I have a 60GB, which was the last model to include the original full hardware backward compatibility. From what I understand, the 40GB model doesn't feature hardware or software compatibility for PS2 games, and once the 80GB is phased out, word is that unfortunately PS2 backward compatibility will be nixed from all future PS3 SKUs.
This begs the question: does the adapter allow you to use PS2 controllers to play PS3-specific games? The answer is yes, most of the time. The main thing missing is Sixaxis support since PS2 controllers simply don't have the built-in hardware to do that, and fortunately, not many games rely on it heavily (I'm looking at you, Lair and flOw).
The other thing you'll run into is rumble, or a lack thereof. In both PS2 and PS3 games, rumble has not worked yet through these adapters. However, with rumble being included from now on with the Dual Shock 3, a firmware upgrade may make it work. As it stands, on a 60GB PS3 with firmware v2.41, I get no rumble with a PS2 controller running through one of these adapters playing The Incredible Hulk. If ever there was a game that cried out for rumble, that was it. It's supported in the game according to the Options Menu, and probably works with a standard $60 Dual Shock 3. But hey, you could get three PS2 controllers for that much, and just live without force feedback.
So what about the PS button? Obviously it's missing from the PS2 controller, but if you look not-all-that-carefully, you'll notice one thing it has that the PS3 controller does not: the Analog button. Yep, this is emulated to work as the PS button, and works perfectly, near as I can tell. You can reset the console with it, toggle the controller on or off, check the battery charge (always full!), and do anything else you'd use the standard PS button for.
With the restriction of four (or fewer, depending on your model) USB ports, you'd think you may be limited to only four (or fewer) players. When considering the PS3 hardware by itself, that may be so. However, I plugged a Targus four-port PC USB hub into one of the PS3's slots, plugged two PS2 controllers into the hub via these adapters, threw PS3 Lego Star Wars in, and voila: two players through one USB port. I don't have more than two adapters to try, nor do I have a game handy that supports the max of seven players for PS3, but all indications are that you can add as many as needed with a single hub.
I can't speak to the functionality of every make/model of controller adapter out there now, but despite a few minor problems, my experience with these early ones has been just fine. Newer adapters may have fixed problems with specific titles, and should certainly offer better emulation for PS3 games at the very least. In any case, they're a fraction the cost of standard PS3 controllers to continue using an older one you're already familiar with. The corded connection also means you don't have to worry about interference or signal interruptions between the controller and the console.
All in all, I've been using these off and on for over a year and have hardly any complaints. If you're on a tight budget and want to both extend the life of your PS3 controller batteries and add more players to your system, these adapters are a worthwhile addition to your living room. As an added bonus, they even allow your PS2 controllers to work with PC games when plugged into USB ports there (tested and worked fine in WinXP SP2). For the price, these can definitely extend the life of yester-year's most popular game input device.