It's amazing what random nuggets of trivia fly around the Nintendo Life office on a daily basis. Take yesterday, for example – having hooked up his swanky HDMI-ready N64 console to capture some footage of Super Mario 64 for our Super Mario 3D All-Stars comparison video, Nintendo Life MD Ant Dickens found time for a quick game of GoldenEye – who can blame him? – and a discussion soon erupted over the game's unique control system, which utilised the analogue 'wand' for movement and turning while mapping strafing commands to the left and right C-buttons – a setup which arguably foretold the rise of twin-stick controls in FPS games.
"Aha!" exclaimed Nintendo Life's editorial director (me, basically). "Did you know you can play it with two controllers?" Despite the fact that, at home, I'm incapable of remembering what my wife asked me to fetch from upstairs by the time I've reached the top step, this tiny, almost inconsequential nugget of information had been lodged in my brain for decades waiting for the perfect moment to present itself – and here it was.
Needless to say, my esteemed colleague was dubious initially, and as we scrambled to find a second N64 pad, even I thought my memory might be playing a cruel trick on me; could this be something I'd misremembered in the years that have passed since I used to play GoldenEye on a daily basis? But no! Upon tinkering with the options menu, the two-controller configuration was discovered and much hilarity took place. Guffaw!
What was really amazing about all of this is the replies to my tweet, which suggested that Ant was not alone in having never heard of this particular trick – a trick which, when you think about it, makes GoldenEye the first twin-stick FPS title in gaming history (kinda). It's worth noting that Star Wars: Episode I Racer also had a twin-controller option.
Here's David Doak – who worked on the game – explaining why they did it:
Now, to the main intention of this post – did you know about this control setup? Be honest and cast your vote below, and, if you did used to rock two controllers back in the day, let us know your memories by posting them in a comment.