Best & Worst Controllers

The most important piece of hardware for any gaming system has to be the controller. Here, lists the good, the bad and the downright ugly controllers of all time…

The Good

Gamecube controller

GameCube controller

Released in 2002, Nintendo unleashed their chirpy colourful console and looked set to have learnt their mistakes from the disastrous N64 controller.

The design of the GameCube controller does look a little odd it appeared brightly coloured, plastic looking and with a confusing layout of buttons. Though, you should never judge a book by its cover, as the controller is surprisingly comfortable to hold, feeling sturdy and buttons are easy to reach with thumbs.

It almost feels as though the controller has been shaped around a human hand and it’s not just comfort the GameCube controller is good at, precision is easily done with thanks to the 8 point C control stick. Shoulder buttons are easily pushed thanks to the strong spring inside, making a quick tap of each trigger nicely executed.

The only fail here is the Z button – located near the left trigger, sometimes I forgot it was even there, so when prompted in games to use it, had no clue what they meant!

SNES controller

SNES controller

The console sequel to the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Super NES was released in 1992. They were regional area variations for the American, European and Japanese consoles.

While the controller for the SNES isn’t the best, at the time it massively improved on the clunky NES rectangle shaped controller by smoothing the edges, with the addition of 2 new buttons (X & Y)

The controller (and console for that matter) wasn’t the prettiest of colours (whoever thought grey would look good was completely wrong) still, it’s made its way onto our list as the NES controller was so uncomfortable to hold.

DualShock 2 controller

PS2 controller

The DualShock 2 controller isn’t massively different from the original PlayStation’s DualShock. It’s made its way onto our list as it is such a good controller to hold, fitting comfortably in most different sized hands. The buttons are all smooth and rounded off so can pick up the gentlest touch. The analogue controllers are very responsive, giving the players the ability to control over how much pressure is applied before snapping back to the central position.

Over the years Sony has kept the same design – right up to the present day with the PS4 controller but being slightly different (with the obvious addition of a touchpad) and more robust.

The Bad

N64 contoller

N64 controller

Oh Nintendo! What were you thinking? The three pronged controller was virtually impossible to hold properly, buttons were very far apart and it looked terrible.

It made me think the N64 controller looked like it had eaten the other NES and SNES controllers, both fighting to get out of its body. It looks awful in terms of colour, shape and overall design.

Thankfully they saw the light with the GameCube controller!

Wii remote controller

Wii Remote

Now it’s no secret I love Nintendo (I have a Mario tattoo sleeve if you didn’t know) that’s why it pains me to list so many of Nintendo’s controllers within this list! I will be honest in saying I hated the Wii remote controller. It took away everything I believed in as a gamer and was obviously aimed at mass market appeal when released in 2006.

The design was aimed to mirror a TV remote so anyone could use it. The remote is able to pick up movements through infrared and accelerometers when pointed towards the sensor bar.

Games were designed with the waving / moving functionality in mind, so a wave of party games aimed at a mass market appeal (AKA crap) instead of decent solo player experiences.

I do not want to be pointing a controller and waving around whilst playing games, thank you very much Ninty!

Sega Dreamcast controller

Dreamcast controller

Sega’s Dreamcast had a lot  of problems at launch (bit of an understatement) with lack of titles available in Japan, unable to fulfil pre-orders initially and a market in the US that was more focused on Sony’s next console along with financial problems its surprising that the Dreamcast was available at all.

Nevertheless, it launched in 1999 to moderate success in Europe but very swiftly declined. The controller for the Dreamcast wasn’t a factor for the lack of sales, surprisingly, but it should have been!

A clunky grey beast of a controller, it was difficult to hold and execute the buttons to any game. The strangest part? The VMU (or Visual Memory Unit) was a memory card with a screen that was removable in the controller itself. Sega was expected to bring out several uses for the VMU (such as tremor pack etc) but in the end, it was just another bad feature of a very bad controller.

And the ugly…

Sega Saturn 3D controller

Sega Saturn 3D controller

There are no words to describe how ugly this controller, so we shall let the image speak for itself.

Don’t agree with our list? Leave us your best and worst controllers in the comments…

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