Nintendo's story could be seen as the story of the games industry as a whole, certainly from an interface perspective. The company's NES console introduced domestic players to the D-Pad (first used on the 1982 Game & Watch Donkey Kong) and more than one action button, while the SNES added shoulder bumpers to the mix, plus a whopping four face buttons. Nintendo's next console, the N64, would popularise analogue control and introduce the idea of plugging additional components into the pad, like rumble paks and memory cards.
Externally these controllers tell a story, but once opened up, the evolution of the humble pad is even more evident. The folks over at Fictiv have done just that, carefully deconstructing the NES, SNES and N64 controllers to see what makes them tick.
The NES pad is a masterpiece of simplicity, with neat touches such as an internal cable arrangement which reduces the potential for damage when yanking the lead. The SNES boasts an even more robust casing and clever button design on the shoulder inputs, while the N64 is light years ahead of both its forerunners, offering a complex joystick mechanism and an expansion port on the underside.
Fictiv will be taking part other Nintendo pads in the future, so be sure to keep your eye on the site.