News Article

Video: A History Of Nintendo Controllers in Less Than 30 Seconds

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

The N64's is still the strangest...

Nintendo has often played the role of innovator with its control schemes, particularly in more recent times. When not innovating it's been satisfied with simply producing the best controllers of their kind — in the NES and Super NES variants — with the Nintendo 64 starting a trend for curious designs and fresh ideas.

We all have our favourites, whether they have every gadget imaginable like the Wii U GamePad, or simple evolution like the shoulder buttons on the SNES pack-in controller. Animator Chris Koelsch has produced a 25 second video covering the evolution of Nintendo's main home console controllers, with a funky tune keeping it company.

Check it out below and reminisce about your favourites in the comments, if you like.


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User Comments (67)



BenAV said:

If there's one thing I'm going to miss now with the Wii U, it's my GameCube controller support.



Stargazer said:

LOL I love the 'Game Over' on the Wii U controller. I wonder if that was intentional.



Luis_Gimpy said:

@BenAV Go buy an adapter for the gamecube remote. available online and very few stores. The adapter plugs into the Wii remote and has a port for the GC controller. It will act as a classic controller. Works while playing SSBB on Wii Mode.



ThomasBW84 said:

@Stargazer Indeed, to be honest I think it was just a use of a popular soundbite to round off the video. If you buy into the "Wii U is doomed" perspective it can be interpreted that way, but I don't see it that way myself



RevolverLink said:

When the N64 first came out, it took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out that my left hand was supposed to (almost always) be on the middle grip of the controller, and not on the leftmost one.



GamerZack87 said:

@RevolverLink: I thought I was the only one in that situation!

Hey, wait a minute...what about the Virtual Boy controller?!

Also, why does this post have so many surprised smileys?!



Ralizah said:

SNES controller is best controller. Only better design is the dual shock controller for Playstation.



Bluezealand said:

I like it... except for the the US design of the SNES controller they used in this animation. I like the original better.




I always liked the way how the N64 controller looked and felt when they made it back in 1996. At the time to me, and I'm guessing to everyone else probably, it made you feel as if you were holding a controller from the future in your hands.



HeatBombastic said:

I like the gamepad the most, since that crazy touchscreen. Call me crazy, but my second favorite is the Wii remote. The controller pro for the wii u is also fantastic.

@Ralizah I never really understood how the Duelshock is the best. I'm all for playing favorites, and you probably were just using implications rather than saying general best, but I just don't get it in a general rational way



DESS-M-8 said:

@Ralizah Dualshock has no design, it is a poor immitated rip off of a SNES controller. The best traditional control pad is the GameCube control pad. The best motion controller is the Wiimote, the best overall pad is the GamePad. Personal screen is the future of gaming. Sony knows it which is why they're hammering the 'you can use the vita as a Gamepad' drum and forcing all PS4 games to support this function, shame that will all set you back about £600-£700 compared to the £400 for a Wii U AND 3DSXL!!!! Hahahahahaha
Having all NES SNES N64 GameCube wii, mega drive, neo geo, (hopefully Saturn Dreamcast amongst others) plus Wii U titles all downloadable from eshop into a 2tb drive so the greatest catalogue of games plus the latest wii u has to offer all just seemingly playing straight out of a handheld device or on your huge HDTV is surely the most amazing innovation on offer on any console in over a decade????



DrKarl said:

The Hori Gameboy Player controller is my favorite Nintendo controller. All the engineering brilliance of the Gamecube button layout combined with non-analog shoulder buttons and a perfect, large d-pad.



dumedum said:

I like the Wii Remote the best, but only with coupled with the nunchuk, it gives a lot of freedom.



ultraraichu said:

One of the thing I love about nintendo is every gen. they change the controller completely instead of keeping one look and just adding features. Feels like a new system rather then just an upgrade.



The_Fox said:

I probably liked the Gamecube controller the least out of all of the Nintendo controllers. The tiny d-pad and yellow analog stick bothered the heck out of me. As for favorites, the SNES controller holds a special place in my heart.



JJtheTexan said:

I've owned at least one of each, and of the above, my favorite would have to be the Super NES controller... with the Wii Remote my least-favorite. But my all-time favorite Nintendo controller isn't even listed... that would be the Wii Classic Controller Pro. If that thing was wireless and had force-feedback, it would be PERFECT.



MetalKingShield said:

GameCube's was the best, with its perfect contours and analogue triggers. It just had everything you need.



ULTRA-64 said:

N64 was the best for me ( apart from the analog stick wearing out).
will never forget the day we figured out how to swap the different coloured halves round!!! Green/yellow was my favourite=)



sonicfan1373 said:

My favourite Nintendo controller of all time (actually it is my all time favourite controller) right now is the Wii U Gamepad; if it had analog triggers, a longer battery (by default), and a way to turn the screen off in any application (without having to do it in the Home Menu) then it would be perfect.

The Wii U Pro Controller is also great and comfortable and right now I consider it tied with Dual Shock 3 and Xbox 360's controller (they are tied because they all have some great features but they all have their issues as well).

The Wii Remote and Wii Remote Plus were fantastic in games that made good use of it (I found a new appreciation for it after playing Skyward Sword).

The GameCube controller was probably the most limited of the 6th generation controllers but it was the most comfortable to use (except for its tiny D-Pad). Personally it felt really great in action-adventure games and platformers. The Wavebird made this controller even better by making it wireless.

The N64 controller really impressed me because it made 3D games much easier to control. However, it felt strange in the hands and the analog stick eventually wore out.

The SNES was a great extension to the amazing NES controller. These two controllers created a new standard for traditional gamepads and they were really great and comfortable.

My least favourite Nintendo controller that I have used would have to be the Classic Controller and the Classic Controller Pro; these controllers have no rumble, contain badly spaced our buttons, and also have a limited number of buttons. The Classic Controllers and the Xbox Duke Controller are probably the worst official console controllers that I have held in my hands (although that is just me, I know some people really like these controllers, and I know there are worst official controllers out there that I have not tried).



ThumperUK said:

I do still love my GC Wavebird, even better than the standard GC controller.

The WiiU Gamepad has to be best though - I recently had to give up my Xbox due to the controllers killing my arthritic hands (don't even get me started on how uncomfortable the PS pads are). However the Gamepad has to be by far the most comfortable controller I've used, & I'm able to continue gaming.



DerpSandwich said:

Gamecube controller is still my favorite. Never has there been a controller that so perfectly fit in my hands, and the button layout is the best. The variable R and L buttons were also really awesome, so it bums me out that they didn't stick around.



Syntax said:

Ever wondered what happened to the middle part of the N64 controller?
Well you held it in your hand if you played Wii sport boxing



TenEighty said:

The Gamecube controller is the best ever! The N64 comes in second and the SNES is third.



Auracle said:

Is it just me, or is the Wii U Gamepad in the video based off of the prototype design? Those looks like slider pads, not sticks. Awesome video, though.



Rafie said:

@DESS-M-8 Way to turn a tribute for the Nintendo controller franchise into a bash session against Sony. People have their opinions man. Just let it be. If he like the Dual Shock the best...than its the best in his opinion. You wouldn't believe the amount of people who believes the 360 is the best controller to ever grace this planet. It's their opinion at the end of the day. No need to bash the other companies.

For me I have to agree with some that stated the Super NES controller is the best. That's my personal feelings on it. Followed by the Dual Shock, and finally the GC controller.



DualWielding said:

Nintendo can create great controllers, the Wii Classic Controller is probably the best controller ever, but after the SNES they seem to care more about gimmicks that about making a good controller for the default console controllers



Expa0 said:

With the exception of N64 controller (which is one of the worst controllers ever made) Nintendo consoles have had very solid controllers.



kyuubikid213 said:

I'm going to join the massive crowd and say that I love the GameCube controller. It's my all time favorite of the Nintendo Controllers. Out of console controllers in general, I have to toss in the 360's controller.

However, I've heard many claims that the Wii U Pro Controller trumps it even if it lacks analog triggers.



hYdeks said:

@Infiltrator87Q they didn't make this video, Destructoid did, hence why they probably have the doom-n-gloom The End on the Wii U controller. It's crap, the day Nintendo dies is the day video games die. NintendoLife should definitely do a video on consoles though, agreed They would do a much better job and tribute to Nintendo



RantingThespian said:

The N64 is still my favorite controller. The only negative thing about it is that the Joystick would wear out. If they used a more conventional one, that thing would be the greatest controller ever.



Marioman64 said:

I love the N64 controller, used it two of the three ways (I don't think I ever found a game that used left hand to d-pad, right hand on control stick), and goldeneye's method of faking dual analogue by make players hold two controllers per player was genius and funny
only thing I didn't like about it, was that the control stick's plastic would wear down and become herp derpy after a while. I want to replace my N64 control sticks with the ones in the psuedo N64 controllers they have in hotels



Chunky_Droid said:

Strange? The N64's is the best one I've ever used (save for the crunchiness of the stick), would be even better if it had a second analogue stick where the C buttons were



Trikeboy said:

BTW, The Gamecube controller was the best controller Nintendo made. The first time I held it, it felt like it was sculpted especially for my hands, it was that comfortable to hold.



Yoshis_VGM said:

I really, really like the GamePad. It fits into my hands perfectly, it's so easy to hold, it's light, it's just all around perfect. But I do like the GameCube controller a lot too.



StarDust4Ever said:

LOL, The N64 controller is pretty nice, but looks like it was made for a one-handed alien. Awesome whimsical vid!



timp29 said:

It's great work and all. A simple concept done really well, but this belongs on the forums more than on the front page of this site. Just my opinion, I'm sure others feel differently.



WaxxyOne said:

I think you made a typo in your tagline. When you said "N64's is still the strangest" I think you meant "N64's is still THE MOST AWESOME".

Just kidding. But seriously I know the controller's analog stick was teh suck and by today's standards, no dual analog = no fun, but I thought the form factor on it was great. I loved being able to comfortably adjust your grip to play games that utilize the different input methods, I loved the actual trigger buttons, and come on I mean SIX face buttons! Where are the controllers today with six face buttons?! I'm tired of playing N64 games and having to use the second analog as a poor man's substitute for the C-buttons.



Moviefan2k4 said:

Nice animation; I still think the best controller designs so far are the SNES and Gamecube.



Gregor said:

@RevolverLink yeah I never understood it. Apparently your supposed to hold it like a trigger. Which explains the abundant use of the Z button, the neglection of the L button, and why Z = L in VC terms.

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