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AFB’s Top 5: Game Controllers

N64 Controller

“you might need to have three hands to play on it”

5. Nintendo 64 Controller

[avatar user=”Jon” size=”50″ align=”left”]Jon[/avatar]Jon: (in retrospect this controller should be ranked #1) First things first.  The Nintendo 64 is arguably the most influential system of all time.  This is due to the fact that a lot of groundbreaking video games and gameplay types were on this console.  To name a few of those games:  Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Smash Bros., Starfox 64, Mario Kart 64, 007 Goldeneye.  I could keep going.  These games were built around the design of this controller.  Kind of odd at first glance, it looks like you might need to have three hands to play on it.  This controller introduced two extremely significant features to gaming: Rumble and the Analog Stick.  Rumble (vibration) in game controllers adds an aesthetic feel of realism to whatever you are playing.  It forced the hand on Sony to create the Dual Shock controller and II and III and IV.  Also it came standard in the original Xbox controllers.  I believe the Xbox One controller has something like over 30 different vibration points (correct me if I’m wrong, Steve) and honestly it makes you wonder if vibration in controllers would ever happen if Nintendo didn’t add it to their controller design with the Rumble Paks.  The Analog Stick speaks for itself.  The fact that Super Mario 64 was a launch title for this system and also the fact that everything was done almost perfectly on the first true 3d platformer ever made says something about Nintendo as a software developer.  As a hardware developer though? Take the perfect elements of Super Mario 64 and take the analog stick away.  It would be IMPOSSIBLE to play this game without the use of an analog stick.  And it would be impossible to play almost every single game in today’s console gaming industry without analog sticks.  Nintendo proved once again who the king was back in 1996 (after the Playstation’s 1994 launch) and forced them to put analog sticks on their controllers as well.  It’s an endless cycle.  Nintendo innovates, everyone else follows suit.

[avatar user=”Devon” size=”50″ align=”right”]Devon[/avatar]Devon: Jon said it best, Nintendo does something and the industry changes (mostly for the better). They introduced rumble, which blew my fucking mind back then and the analog stick changed how games were designed. Not so much with an additional button or two but with how we move in a game space. 3D was brand new at the time and Nintendo knew what they were doing with the one analog stick. They even figured out the camera issues with the four yellow buttons or as i affectionately called them “camera buttons”. They knew that a directional pad was not up to par when compared with something like a joystick and when your games included more directional movement than ‘left’ and ‘right’ you needed that.

The distinct design makes it the most interesting looking controller of the bunch. It is three pronged with the middle you could hold like a gun and press the z button that while not a trigger functioned like one. Button placement tells you right away what’s important and what is secondary. It was both a strength and a weakness of the controller in general. Games had to be designed around the controller and not the other way around.

[avatar user=”Jon” size=”50″ align=”left”]Jon[/avatar]Jon: @Devon Camera Buttons for you, OCARINA notes for @Steve and I

[avatar user=”Admin” size=”50″ align=”right”]Steve[/avatar]Steve: The N64 controller was the best controller to pretend to hold like a tommy gun and shoot the screen with after your umpteenth time failing the Shadows of the Empire Speeder Bike through Tatooine level. It looks weird but it’s pleasant to hold. It was essentially made for early 3D gaming. After this, everyone else started throwing sticks on things until we get the Dualshock 5 in the year 2033 and that is just 5 sticks on a brick with a vibrator taped to it aka the Rumble Pak.

[avatar user=”Devon” size=”50″ align=”left”]Devon[/avatar]Devon: DUAL SHOCK 5 FO DA WINZ

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